Williams wooed to ‘Woods’

Thesp to star in Sondheim, Lapine revival

NEW YORK — Vanessa Williams doesn’t look like a witch. Then again, neither did Bernadette Peters, who originated the centerpiece role in “Into the Woods.”

Williams will star in a Broadway-bound revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s 1987 musical about the travails of various fairy tale bigshots, according to sources close to the production.

The Lapine-directed show will open at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles Feb. 10 before a spring bow in Gotham. The Dodgers and others are producing in New York.

Williams last appeared on Broadway in “Kiss of the Spider Woman” when she replaced Chita Rivera seven years ago. Williams had been attached to star in the spring revival of “No Strings” at City Center’s Encores! Artistic director Jack Viertel said the concert series would decide in a week to 10 days if the Richard Rodgers musical would go on as planned with another actress or if Encores! would postpone the production a year and headline Williams in the show next season.

In the 1962 Rodgers musical, a black fashion model plays out a liberated “no strings” love affair with a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Viertel credited the actress’s manager, Emily Gerson Saines, with having first suggested “No Strings” as a showcase for Williams.

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