Theater Close-Up: The Woodsman

August 30, 2016


Theater Close-UpThe Woodsman premieres Friday, September 2 at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN, with an encore presentation on Sunday, September 4 at 1 a.m. The play will also air Sunday, September 4 at 10 p.m. on WLIW21. The unique collaboration between THIRTEEN and the large community of New York City area Off-Broadway theaters is captured live on-stage in partnership with streaming service BroadwayHD, in THIRTEENs trademark up-close” style.

Based on the beloved writings of L. Frank Baum, The Woodsman, an imaginative retelling of the origins of Oz’s Tin Woodsman, is the story of the Tin Man, the woman he loved, and the witch that would stop at nothing to keep them apart. Through spectacular life-size puppetry and original music, the ensemble of Strangemen & Co. presents an inventive take on one of America’s original fairy tales.

Directed on stage by James Ortiz and Claire Karpen and written by James Ortiz with music composed by Edward W. Hardy and lyrics by Jen Loring, The Woodsman creative team also includes James Ortiz (set and puppet design; recipient of the 2016 Obie for puppet design), Molly Seidel (costume design), Carol Uraneck (original costume design), Catherine Clark and Jamie Roderick (lighting design), Devin Dunne Cannon (associate director), Will Gallacher (movement coordinator), Aaron McDaniel (fight director) and Naomi Florin (music director & violinist).

The Woodsman concluded its critically-lauded Off-Broadway run in May at New World Stages. Time Out New York described it as evocative and hauntingnaming it a Critics Pick; NBC New York called The Woodsman an “achingly beautiful play,” and The New York Times declared The Woodsman “breathtaking,” “abundantly beautifuland a spectacle infused with breath and light.” New York Magazine exclaimed, Marvelous! Overflows with vivid imagery and emotion” and Rosie O’Donnell heralded the production on Twitter as “beautiful, stunning, haunting.

The Woodsman ensemble features Benjamin Bass (Kalidah/Munchkin), Devin Dunne Cannon (understudy), Will Gallacher (Pa/Tinker), Alex J. Gould (Tinker/Munchkin), Amanda A. Lederer (The Witch/Tinker), Aaron McDaniel (understudy), Lauren Nordvig (Ma/Kalidah), James Oritz (Nick Chopper), Eliza Martin Simpson (Nimmee), Meghan St. Thomas (Munchkin) and Sophia Zukoski (The Witch/Munchkin).

The Woodsman is produced by Robb Nanus, Rachel Sussman, Ryan Bogner and Adam Silberman and was originally produced and developed by Strangemen & Co. A recipient of the 2014 Jim Henson Foundation Grant, The Woodsman premiered at Brooklyns Standard ToyKraft in 2012 and was followed by a production at the Ars Nova ANT Fest in 2013 before transferring to 59E59 Theaters in January 2014 for a strictly limited three-week, sold-out run.  The Woodsman returned by popular demand for a critically-acclaimed limited engagement at 59E59 Theaters in January 2015, making it one of the only shows in the theaters history to ever make a return engagement.

Theater Close-Ups second season will continue with Buried Child and Old Hats at dates to be announced.

The second season of Theater Close-Up on THIRTEEN has thus far featured Rasheeda Speaking from The New Group, Fashions for Men from Mint Theater, Wiesenthal filmed at theAcorn Theatre at Theatre Row, Repairing a Nation from Crossroads Theatre Company in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Incident at Vichy from Signature Theatre Company.        

Directed for television by David Horn, The Woodsman was originally produced and developed by Strangemen & Co.  The production was presented and recorded at New World Stages in association with BroadwayHD, the online streaming service with a mission to promote and preserve live theater, extending the reach of Broadway and Broadway caliber shows. The Woodsman is one of the latest additions to BroadwayHD’s on-demand library of over 150 theater productions.     

Mitch Owgang is producer; Bill O’Donnell is series producer; and David Horn is executive producer. Stewart F. Lane and Bonnie Comley are executive producers for BroadwayHD.  Executive-in-charge for WNET is Neal Shapiro.

Major support for Theater Close-Up, Season Two is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, the Presidents Innovation Fund and Leo Shull and Family. 

 The Woodsman premieres Friday, September 2 at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN, with an encore presentation on Sunday, September 4 at 1 a.m. See more full episodes and previews from Theater Close-Up.