Big treat for Sondheim fans next year - even before Follies at the National. His rarely seen take on Aristophanes' THE FROGS gets an outing in March at Jermyn Street Theatre. This is the UK premiere of the post 9/11 version, with a revised and expanded book by Nathan Lane...
The latest Broadway version of the rarely performed Stephen Sondheim musical THE FROGS, an hilarious send-up of Greek comedy and satire, with a book revised and expanded by Nathan Lane, is to get its UK premiere in 2017 at London’s Jermyn Street Theatre.
THE FROGS, loosely based on a comedy written in 405 BC by Aristophanes, freely adapted for today by Burt Shevelove, and even more freely adapted by Nathan Lane, with Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, produced by House on the Hill Productions in association with Jermyn Street Theatre, will run at Jermyn Street Theatre from Tuesday 14 March to Saturday 8 April, with press nights on 16 and 17 March.
Grace Wessels directs. Casting is to be announced.
THE FROGS was originally performed in Yale University’s gymnasium’s swimming pool in 1974, featuring members of the Yale swimming team, and Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver in its ensemble. In the UK, it was seen at the National Theatre in 1996. This latest post 9/11 version, which includes seven new Sondheim songs, opened on Broadway in 2004.
From the same writers behind A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, THE FROGS playfully explores the great challenges of human existence: confronting our fears, understanding life and death, and challenging the distractions that can prevent us from achieving our goals.
This boisterously hilarious yet poignant musical follows Dionysos, Greek god of wine and drama, and his slave Xanthias on a journey to Hades to collect renowned critic and playwright George Bernard Shaw so that he may enlighten the easily misled and coerced masses of Earth. Along this journey, Dionysos and Xanthias meet Herakles, Charon, Pluto, and of course, the chorus of frogs. Then, Shakespeare shows up and starts declaiming his greatest hits; and before long he engages in a battle of words with Mr. Shaw. Who will win the honor of becoming reincarnated: The Bard or Bernard?
THE FROGS stays true to its heritage, mixing Aristophanic pratfall satire with a Sondheim score that swings from witty to pretty to rambunctious, but it also mirrors the Greek original for the serious issue of the role of the arts in a world beset by war and folly.
Broadway star Nathan Lane decided to expand THE FROGS in 2001. He said:
“After September 11 … I started to think, There’s something in this piece right now. … There’s something idealistic about the notion of someone believing that the arts can make a difference … I found it moving, in light of what is going on in the world."