The ClayNation woke up on Monday to a great blog by Clay Aiken. I wonder if Clay has any idea how great we all feel when we hear from him. A blog like the Monday blog is worth so much. We can only hope for more.
Have you voted for Hannah yet? I bet she received hundreds of votes today. Clays mention of Hannah made me want to know more about Into The Woods and some of the other projects that involve Hannah.
It makes perfect sense that Hannah Waddingham would be a stage performer. Her mother was an opera singer and a principal at Covent Garden before Hannah was born. When Hannah turned eight, her mother went back to work for the English National Opera. In an interview with the press in London, Hannah said:
I grew up seeing her in operas like Aida, Madame Butterfly and Carmen. I’d sit in the Coliseum stalls, all wide-eyed, watching rehearsals and absorbing it all. I just thought, what else would I do? I never questioned going into show business for a second.
Hannah’s mother recently stepped down from the daily performances on the opera stage. Hannah said:
“I saw her very last performance in The Pearl Fishers at the Coliseum the other day. She is 67 and it was her very last show and she was still giving it full welly, 100%, totally focused, totally in the moment and that’s the benchmark for me.”
Waddingham has been nominated for the Audience Award for her recent roll as the witch in Stephen Sondheims’s musical, Into The Woods. Hannah was cast in the demanding role of the witch. The production is magical.
Into the Woods brings together some of the most well known Brothers Grimm fairy tale characters to help us find out what happens after “happily ever after.” While the characters are familiar, their stories intersect through unexpected plot twists.
When a Baker and his Wife learn they’ve been cursed with childlessness by the Witch next door, they embark on a quest for the special objects required to break the spell, swindling, lying to and stealing from Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Jack (the one who climbed the bean stalk). Everyone’s wish is granted at the end of Act One.
The second act shows the consequences of their actions that return to haunt them later, with disastrous results. What begins a lively irreverent fantasy becomes a moving lesson about community responsibility and the stories we tell our children. Ultimately, the characters end their journey aware of the moral consequences of their actions; each having learned valuable lessons about power, tolerance, personal sacrifice and the strength of shared community.
Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine worked together to create a score that weaves a magical score. The recipient of the 1987 Tony for the Best Score, the music is at its best with three songs: No More, No One Else Is Alone, and Children Will Listen. (Be sure and listen to the words of this one. It is a remarkable song).
Into The Woods is the winner of 3 Tony Awards, 4 Drama Desk Awards and a Grammy.
Hannah’s next project is amazing. Hannah was chosen by Andrew Lloyd Webber to be one of the stars in his new production of The Wizard of Oz. Cast as the Wicked Witch of the West, Hannah will share the stage with Michael Crawford who will be playing the part of the Wizard.
Hannah Waddingham is no stranger to the West End stage, having been the Lady of the Lake in the original London cast of Spamalot (for which she received an Olivier Award nomination) and having recently performed as Desirée Armfeldt in A Little Night Music (another nomination). It is interesting that Hannah will be playing another witch after her role in Into the Woods.
I will always think fondly of Hannah. I was lucky enough to see her on stage in Spamalot and she was spectacular. It is wonderful to know that the very talented Ms. Waddingham and Clay Aiken are still good friends. I hope they have the opportunity to work together again soon.