Erica Durham is keeping busy on the national tour of Into The Woods. The Philadelphia resident is understudying five roles in the current production. Featuring the music of Stephen Sondheim, the show is playing exclusive engagements across the U.S. and will arrive in Philadelphia April 4, 2023.
Debra Danese: You are the understudy for five different characters! How do you learn and retain that many roles simultaneously?
Erica Durham: Understudying five characters can seem like a HUGE task, but luckily all of the characters in this show are so unique, specific, and different from each other. Once you realize that all five of these people want different things, it’s easy to keep their stories separate in your mind. But it is also a lot of rehearsal hours and drilling lines!
DD: Which is your favorite?
ED: It’s hard to pick just one because I see a little bit of myself in each of the roles I understudy…but I would have to say Little Red. She’s such a complex, funny, iconic character who has such an interesting character arc in the show.
DD: The plot intertwines several well-known fairy tales. How would you describe the show to someone not familiar with them?
ED: I would describe the show as a story that focuses on the humanity of these well-known characters. Into the Woods breaks down these stories and shows the common themes of life, love, and loss, which is something I think we can all relate to. Also, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine wrote an INCREDIBLE opening number that highlights each story involved in the show, so you will become familiar very quickly!
DD: What are your ties to Philly?
ED: I moved to Philadelphia in 2020 to be closer to my boyfriend, who is a Public Defender and a graduate of Drexel University. I can’t imagine living anywhere else now. I absolutely love this city!
DD: Who are you most looking forward to seeing you perform at the Miller Theatre?
ED: That person would have to be the man mentioned above, my boyfriend Kevin. He has always supported me and it will be great to play a venue so close to home.
[Miller Theatre on the Kimmel Cultural Campus, 250 S Broad St] April 4-9, 2023; kimmelculturalcampus.org