As is its custom, the PS Classics label made the CD available early to its online customers beginning Jan. 7 at www.psclassics.com, so some show fans have already been feasting on the half-dozen new songs by Sondheim.
It was revealed in recent days that the show is eligible for nomination as a new musical in the 2004-05 Tony Awards. The show has been substantially rewritten since its 1974 debut at Yale.
The CD features 19 tracks, including six new Sondheim songs. The 48-page full-color booklet includes essays by playwright Wendy Wasserstein (who was attending Yale University when the original one-act version of the show was launched there in 1974) and Frogs librettist Nathan Lane, along with a synopsis, full lyrics, and nearly two dozen production photos.
Tony Award-winning actor Lane (The Producers) reimagined the original libretto by Burt Shevelove, which was itself inspired by the ancient comedy by Aristophanes. PS Classics co-founder Tommy Krasker, who produced this recording (as well the earlier recording of the one-act version for Nonesuch Records), told Playbill On-Line: "I was thrilled that we had the opportunity to record The Frogs, especially after just finishing up Assassins [recently nominated for a Grammy Award]. For me, it was a special thrill, because I knew the old songs well, but there was a host of new material to learn and absorb. And even the songs that remained from the earlier version had been so cleverly revised and rethought by Steve and Nathan and Susan [Stroman] that it was like recording a new show. I'll also say that the feel of the recording is very much its own; some of the best times I've ever had in the recording studio were when a big Broadway company was there live with the orchestra, giving that combination of energy and intensity and precision that kind of defines Broadway cast albums. It was 10 in the morning when we did the very first take of the title track, that big eight-minute number with five-part harmony and eight-part fugues and three dance breaks, but the energy was electrifying."
The track listing is as follows:
1. "Opening Fanfare" (Orchestra)
2. "Invocation and Instructions to the Audience" (Nathan Lane, Roger Bart & Chorus)
3. "We are off on a great mission." (Nathan Lane, Roger Bart)
4. "I Love to Travel" (Nathan Lane, Roger Bart & Chorus)
5. "Dress Big" (Burke Moses, Nathan Lane & Roger Bart)
6. "I Love to Travel" (reprise) (Nathan Lane, Roger Bart)
7. "All Aboard" (John Byner)
8. "On the River Styx" (Nathan Lane, Roger Bart)
9. "Ariadne" (Nathan Lane, Roger Bart)
10. "The Frogs" (Nathan Lane, Roger Bart & Chorus)
11. "Hymn to Dionysos" (Nathan Lane, Roger Bart & Chorus)
12. "Hades" (Peter Bartlett & Chorus)
13. "It's Only a Play" (Nathan Lane, Peter Bartlett & Chorus)
14. "Shaw" (Nathan Lane, Daniel Davis & Chorus)
15. "The Contest" (Nathan Lane, Daniel Davis, Michael Siberry)
16. "Fear No More" (Michael Siberry)
17. "All Aboard" (reprise) (John Byner)
18. "Hymn to Dionysos" (reprise) (Chorus)
19. "Final Instructions to the Audience" (Nathan Lane and Company)