Meet the Cast of NextStop Theatre Company’s ‘Into the Woods’: Part 7: Danny Tippett and Scott Gaines

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These guys got lost in the woods and some witch told us where we could find them-so in between battling witches, wolves, and giants and before they packed up their magic beans and white cows, these two lost souls finally shared their journey of preparing for their roles in this popular Stephen Sondheim musical.

Joel: Why did you want to be part of this production of Into the Woods? What did you sing at your audition?

Danny Tippet.
Danny Tippet.

Danny: It’s always exciting to work with a new company! This is NextStops inaugural season so I was excited to be a part of that.

Scott: The show is one of my favorites, and I had heard really good things about the artistic team involved. I chose to sing “I’ve Never Been in Love Before” from Guys and Dolls for the initial audition.

Who do you play in the show and why did you want to play this character?

Danny: I play the Steward. He has some pretty funny one liners, and I get to kill someone in Act II which is always a good time.

Scott: I play Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf, who has been on my list to play for a while. This is the first chance I’ve had to play this type of character so it was going to be a new/exciting experience for me. I think there are a lot more layers to the Prince than one sees initially, and I was excited to explore them all through the process.

 How do you relate to your character?

Danny: The Steward is very sassy, which I am as well. He’s the Prince’s right hand man, I am an Executive Assistant for the CEO of a company which is basically the same thing right?

Scott: It’s been really eye-opening to explore the similarities between the Prince and I in the sense of what facades or masks he uses. Being an introvert/recovering shy-person by nature, I’ve had to sometimes hide behind the proverbial mask to learn to function in certain ways, and applying that type of mentality to the Prince has given me an interesting connection.<

Have you appeared in any other productions of Into the Woods and who have you played?  If you have played your character before how is this performance similar or different?

Danny: This is my third production of Into the Woods. I played Jack in college, and Cinderella’s Prince/The Wolf a few years ago. This is actually the third time Priscilla and I have done the show together

Scott: I played the Baker in a production this past September at the Annapolis Summer Garden Theater. It’s been a great experience getting to prepare two different roles in the same show with that short of a time span in between the two productions.<

Have you worked with any of your castmates before?

Danny: Priscilla Cuellar and I have worked together many times, and John Loughney and I did a production of The Rocky Horror show a couple years back.

Scott: Sean McComas and I did a staged reading of the play 8 two years ago with the Bay Theater Company where we played twins. I was excited to see we were working together again.

Which character in the show is most like you and the least like you and why?

Danny: I guess The Steward is probably the most like myself. And the Witch is probably the least like me, she’s on a mission to get what she wants and doesn’t really care who she hurts in the process.

Scott: In all honesty, I’m a lot like Jack in more ways than I’d probably like to admit.

Tell me about the solos/duets you sing and what we learn about your characters when you sing the song? I don’t sing any solos or duets in the show.

Scott: My main duets in the show, “Agony,” are sung by both Princes. You get a pretty solid idea of their relationship through the song and its reprise. My other two songs, “Hello Little Girl” and “Any Moment” are actually very similar musically and in what they reveal character-wise.

What do you admire most about your castmates performances?

Danny: Everyone is great in the show and super invested in creating this world of Fairy Tale people in as honest and realist way as possible. And I always love hearing Priscilla sing the songs in this show. She brings such a richness to the character with her acing and vocal abilities.

Scott: There is so much talent in this group, and everyone so far has been very willing to experiment with it. Evan has given us a lot of directions in rehearsal that cause us to explore and experiment, and I’ve been really impressed with how everyone has been able to both work with the direction and then glean some great insights from it.

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?

Danny: I get to sing “The Closer to the family the closer to the wine!” which is so true for many of us! We all sing this line in Ever After and I think its a great motto for life “Don’t be careful, don’t be clever. When you see your wish, pursue.”

Scott: It’s a dangerous endeavor, But the only thing to do-” I think its important to go after what you want!”

What is your favorite song that you don’t sing in the show and why?

Danny: I really like “On the Steps of the Palace,” because I think its such an amazing song lyrically and musically. It’s always been my favorite that or “Moments in the Woods.”

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Scott: I honestly can’t pick a favorite line of mine, the lyrics in this show are just that clever and witty. I do find the line “Stay with me, the world is dark and wild” stuck in my head a lot though, I think it’s really simple but poetic, and the melody stings in the right way.

How can audiences in 2014 relate to Into the Woods now?

Danny: I think the show resonates with people because we all have struggles, we all are on a journey to get something or be something etc. We have all in our lives at one point or another had to make choices that have affected the rest of the journey just as the characters in the show have.

Scott: There are so many things the audience can draw from in this show, which is why it’s one of my favorites. The core messages surrounding relationships are something that I think are timeless, but especially relevant in an age when the “non-traditional” family structure is (finally, and thank God) becoming more and more prominent and accepted. The concept of what loving, selfless relationships really look like (and vice versa) and what effect they can have is a really beautiful theme to me.

Why do you think Into the Woods is still so popular today?

Danny: I think Sondheim and Lapine have written a show that is so accessible to people with the stories they chose to tell,the songs and words they have used to tell it with and who doesn’t love Fairy Tales?

Scott: These characters and themes are all so timeless, and when you put this kind of twist on them, they can effectively speak to disparate generations at the same time.

What is the best advice Director Evan Hoffmann and/or Musical Director Elisa Rosman gave you in preparing for your performances?

Danny: Evan reminds us to play the honestly of the situations we’re all in throughout the show, yes there are lots of fantastical magic outrageous moments but they all come from real situations so we’re focusing on playing that. Elisa has been great at working on our enunciation because the words are soo important in this show.

Scott: I’ve mentioned how Evan will give us direction intended to help us explore; there was a blocking rehearsal for “Agony” where Scott Harrison (playing Rapunzel’s Prince) and I were told to “not deign to look at each other.” So many discoveries were made.

Cast of 'Into the Woods.' Photo by Traci J Brooks Studios.
Cast of ‘Into the Woods.’ Photo by Traci J Brooks Studios.

Why is this production so special?

Danny: I think it’s special because of the concept the designers have come up with. I don’t want to give anything away. But I think its going to be pretty cool!

Scott: This cast is finding wonderful, unique takes on their characters, and the entire concept is something I don’t think this area has seen with this production.

What do you want audiences to take with them after seeing Into the Woods?

Danny: “If life were only moments, even now and then a bad one, but if life were only moments then you’d never know you had one” Enjoy all the moments in your life, not just the really great ones or the really crap ones. Enjoy all the moments in the middle that make life so wonderful.

Scott: “Witches can be right, and Giants can be good.”

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Into the Woods ended its critically acclaimed run on June 1, 2014 at NextStop Theatre Company at the Industrial Strength Theatre -269 Sunset Park Drive, in Herndon, VA.

LINKS
Meet the Cast of NextStop Theatre Company’s ‘Into the Woods’ Part 1: Brittany Martz.

Meet the Cast of NextStop Theatre Company’s ‘Into the Woods’ Part 2: John Loughney.

Meet the Cast of NextStop Theatre Company’s ‘Into the Woods’Part 3: Alizon Reggioli.

Meet the Cast of NextStop Theatre Company’s ‘Into the Woods’Part 4: Katie McManus.

Meet the Cast of NextStop Theatre Company’s ‘Into the Woods’Part 5: Priscilla Cuellar.

Meet the Cast of NextStop Theatre Company’s ‘Into the Woods’ Part 6: Suzanne Stanley and Ryan Manning

Diane Jackson Schnoor’s review of Into the Woods on DCMetroTheaterArts.

Kathy Lee Gifford joins NextStop Theatre Company’s ‘Into the Woods.’

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.