Sondheim told The New York Times that he has added several new songs to the score, and Burt Shevelove's original book has been updated by Tony Award winner Nathan Lane, who will star in the production as Dionysos. The Times also reports that Chris Kattan — of "Saturday Night Live" fame — will co-star as Lane's cynical slave.
The Frogs, piloted by director-choreographer Susan Stroman, will have its first preview June 17, 2004, open July 15 and run until Oct. 3. About the production composer Sondheim told the Times, "It's not a revival. The old one was only about 40 minutes long. Nathan has really expanded it, and four-fifths is his now."
Composer-lyricist Sondheim and librettist Shevelove wrote the show for a production staged in the Yale swimming pool in 1974. That cast included newcomers Christopher Durang, Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver, among others. The ancient play focuses on a debate between Aeschylus and Euripides, to determine who is the greater artist. The winner of the contest returned to Earth with Dionysus to save civilization.
In Sondheim and Shevelove's version, the story is updated with a debate between William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw and has traditionally required elaborate special effects, a large cast of actors skilled in both acting and swimming and an exhibition pool in which they perform.
The Lincoln Center Staging will give composer Stephen Sondheim three Broadway productions during 2004—all at nonprofits. The other two, Assassins and Pacific Overtures, will be produced at the Roundabout Theatre Company.