Acclaimed composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim surprised the cast and crew of a small Off-Broadway production of Into The Woods recently by stopping by to share some tips before opening night.

The new version of the musical, which was turned into a Hollywood movie last year (14), is being staged at the Laura Pels Theatre with just 10 actors and a piano, and Sondheim decided to pay a visit to the group to give them some helpful pointers.

A source tells the New York Post, "Stephen did a musical brush-up with the cast.

"The cast was sitting in a circle and sang. He gave them notes, tips on 'tempo and cadence' and on parts of the score. It was so great that they got to sing for him."

The low-cost Roundabout Theatre Company production launches on Thursday (22Jan15).

Sondheim's Into The Woods play debuted on Broadway in 1987.

The movie adaptation of the show opened in theatres last month (Dec14) and has since landed three Oscar nominations, including one for Best Supporting Actress for Meryl Streep as the Witch.