NextStop Theatre Company opens its production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods next weekend and in between battling witches, wolves, and giants the cast shared with us their journey of preparing for their roles in this popular Stephen Sondheim musical. In Part 2: Today meet John Loughney.
Joel: Why did you want to be part of this production of Into the Woods? What did you sing at your audition?
John: Well, for MANY reason. I love this show and I jumped at the chance to work at NextStop. Having performed in a few shows at Elden Street Players, I really came to love the space. Also, I know Evan always puts his heart and soul into his work, so, it made it very easy to say “Yes!”. I sang “Being Alive” for my audition.
Who do you play in the show and why did you want to play this character?
I play the Baker. The Baker has always just been a character that I’ve related to since I first heard the cast album in the 90s. His storyline is heartbreaking and inspiring. I have a soft spot for him.
How do you relate to him?
I see a lot of my dad in the Baker. A lot. I’ll leave it at that.
Have you appeared in any other productions of Into the Woods and who have you played? How is this performance similar or different?
I have. 8 years ago at LTA I played the Baker. It’s funny, my Baker then and now are very different people. I’ve obviously grown up a lot in 8 years. I can’t say I actually experienced the loss the Baker experiences the last time I played the role, but I have since. It makes act 2 much more real and emotional. Loss has changed me in many ways and it’s changed my perspective a lot when it comes to acting.
Have you worked with any of your castmates before?
I have. A few of them. It’s always nice to work with friends and see them grow as performers. I’m also very excited to work with a new crop of actors.
Which character in the show is most like you and the least like you?
Hmmm. I see myself in many of the characters honestly. I think that’s why fairy tales are still somewhat relatable in modern times.
Tell me about the solos/duets you sing and what we learn about your characters when you sing the song?
“It Takes Two” is a big turning point for the Baker and his wife. This is where their relationship is rekindled and recharged. My other songs are “No More” and “No One is Alone” which come in the aftermath of the story and where the Baker must face his own struggles head on.
What do you admire most about your castmates’ performances?
I always appreciate an actor who just goes for it. Sometimes I get too into my head and I’m too calculated in the early rehearsal process. I think we have a lot of people in this cast who just go for it and that pushes me as an actor.
Sondheim’s lyrics are brilliant in Into the Woods. What are your favorite lyrics that you sing and your favorite lyrics that someone else sings?
I think all my favorite lyrics are sung by the Baker’s Wife. “Moments In the Woods” and “Maybe They’re Magic” are two of my favorites. I love the Baker’s Wife realization at the end of her song: ” “Let the moment go, don’t forget it for a moment though, just remembering you’ve had an “and” when your back to “or,” makes the “or” mean more than it did before–now I understand”. And “Maybe They’re Magic” is just pure lyric brilliance throughout.
What is your favorite song that you don’t sing in the show and why?
“Last Midnight”. It’s just a badass song. Sorry I said “badass.”
How can audiences in 2014 relate to Into the Woods now?
I think anyone who has had a “wish” can relate. People will go to any length to get what they wish. The struggles of the Baker and his wife to have a child are a very relatable story (whether you want children or not), everyone has gone to certain lengths to get something they wish for/ want.
Why do you think Into the Woods is still so popular today?
Fairy tales are as popular as ever and have been for centuries. These stories, though seemingly far-fetched in some cases, are still relatable.
What is the best advice Director Evan Hoffmann and/or Musical Director Elisa Rosman has given you in preparing for your performance?
Why is this production so special?
Evan is taking a risk and putting a new take on a modern classic. I think it will pay-off in the end.
What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing Into the Woods?
Be careful what you wish for. Simple as that.
Into the Woods plays from May 1-June 1, 2014 at NextStop Theatre Company at the Industrial Strength Theatre -269 Sunset Park Drive, in Herndon, VA. For tickets, call the box office at (703) or purchase them online.
Meet the Cast of NextStop Theatre Company’s ‘Into the Woods’ Part 1: Brittany Martz.