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

In between battling witches, wolves, and giants the cast of NextStop Theatre Company’s Into the Woods shared with us their journey of preparing for their roles in this popular Stephen Sondheim musical. In Part 4: Meet Katie McManus.

Katie McManus.
Katie McManus.

Joel: Why did you want to be part of this production of Into the Woods?

Katie: I’ve worked with Evan before (Great American Trailer Park), so I was hoping I could snag a part in Into the Woods. I knew he’d put his own spin on the production.

What did you sing at your audition?

I sang “Days of Plenty” from Little Women.

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

I play the Baker’s Wife. I like her wit, perseverance, and vulnerability.

How do you relate to your character?

She doesn’t wait for others to do what needs to get done; she does it herself. I think she’s always trying to do the right thing; to be helpful, to be fair, to be nurturing.

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?

I played the Baker’s Wife in Little Theatre of Alexandria’s production back in 2006 (with my now-Baker, John Loughney). I have 8 years more wisdom and life experience for this Baker’s Wife.

John Loughney (The Baker), Katie McManus (The Baker’s WIfe), and Priscilla Cuellar (The Witch). Photo by Traci J Brooks Studios.
John Loughney (The Baker), Katie McManus (The Baker’s WIfe), and Priscilla Cuellar (The Witch). Photo by Traci J Brooks Studios.

Have you worked with any of your castmates before?

In addition to John Loughney, I’ve worked with Jennifer Lambert, Ryan Manning, Jacki Young, Blakeman Brophy, and Laura Fontaine. (And I’ve worked with Evan, Elisa, and Joan before, too.)

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

Most: Probably the Baker’s Wife. Least: The Princes?

Tell me about the solos/duets you sing and what we learn about your characters when you sing the song (s).

The Baker’s Wife “main” solo, “Moments in the Woods,” follows her questionable encounter with Cinderella’s Prince. Through this solo/soliloquy, my hope is to show the audience that she does, in fact, realize she has done something wrong; but that she was “caught up in the moment” and made a poor choice. “It Takes Two,” a duet with her husband, shows that this couple truly loves and deeply cares for each other, despite their (somewhat constant) bickering and arguing.

What do you admire most about your castmates performances?

Everyone is there because he/she loves the show and the story that’s being told. It’s 100% evident..

Katie McManus (The Baker's Wife) and John Loughney (The Baker). Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.
Katie McManus (The Baker’s Wife) and John Loughney (The Baker). Photo by Traci J. Brooks Studios.

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?

Favorite lyrics of my own character: “If life were only moments, then you’d never know you had one.” My favorite lyrics of someone else are “someone is on your side.”4

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

“Steps of the Palace.” Well, and No One is Alone. Toss up. I love “Steps of the Palace” for its ingenious lyrics and storytelling. I love “No One is Alone” because of its beautiful melody and message.

How can audiences in 2014 relate to Into the Woods?

With so much on TV and in movie theaters now (Grimm, Once Upon a Time, the upcoming film version of Into the Woods, any Disney movie, then and now), it’s inevitable most of your audience will relate.

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

I think (I hope) we’ve all grown up with fairy tale stories, whether it’s those of Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson or Disney. I think ALL of these characters and stories are familiar to everyone.

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

To be curious about the character; to have fun, play around. That’s always what you want to hear as an actor.

Why is this production so special?

Being with the right cast and the right team at the perfect time.

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

I want the audience to empathize with every single character in the show. There are always perceptions of who’s bad and who’s good, but there is good in all of them.

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Into the Woods plays through 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 (866) 811-4111, or purchase them online.

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.

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.


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