Greta Oglesby Takes on the Witch in Into the Woods

Greta Oglesby.

Greta Oglesby.

Greta Oglesby is thrilled to be playing the Witch in Stephen Sondheim's beloved Into the Woods -- even if it means stepping into some big shoes.

"I've seen it several times and I've seen the movie with Meryl Streep. The role is way harder than I ever thought," she says.

See also: Oliver!: The Clanking Heart of Darkness


The veteran singer and performer has discovered how tricky even the most innocent-sounding Sondheim can be. "When I got to our music rehearsals, I found out how intricate the music is. It's not as easy or simple as I thought," Oglesby says. "I think I'm over the fear now and I'm starting to enjoy it."

Into the Woods takes several familiar fairy tales, weaves them together, and then asks what happens after "happily ever after." The play's fantasy setting, intriguing characters, and terrific music have made it a longtime favorite.

"Who doesn't know these fables and fairy tales? It is a show that resonates with so many people, from children to adults," she says. "Happy ever after is not happy ever after."

A lot of the appeal comes down to the Witch.

"She's pretty simple. She wants to be loved. She had a complicated relationship with her own mother. She wants to be loved and to feel beautiful again," Oglesby says. "She thinks her daughter will love her more if she is beautiful again. She wants what everybody wants: to be loved and adored."

Oglesby hasn't been afraid to look at the performances of others in the role.

"Meryl Streep can do absolutely no wrong. I was just waiting with bated breath for Christmas Day so I could see [the film]. I've been looking at different versions of it on YouTube to see different things from different actors. I have just been a sponge and soaking up different performances," she says.

This is Oglesby's first time with Theatre Latte Da and her second with director Peter Rothstein. They first worked together for Ten Thousand Things. "It was just one of the best shows I have ever been a part of. I am such a big fan of Peter Rothstein. I have to work with him again. I was so elated when he reached out to me," she says.

The show comes during a busy winter for Oglesby. While rehearsing Into the Woods, she was finishing up By the Way, Meet Vera Stark at Penumbra. Next, she'll be in Joe Dowling's swan song at the Guthrie, The Crucible.

"When you are doing what you love, it never really feels like work. If I had to go seven days straight without a day off it might be worse. God took that seventh day to rest, and thank God I get that seventh day off. Most days it does not feel like work. I love it, love it, love it," she says.


Into the Woods Wednesday through March 29 The Ritz Theater 345 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis $31-$45 For tickets and more information, call 612-339-3003 or visit online.