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The Frogs, piloted by director-choreographer Susan Stroman, will have its first preview June 22, open July 22 and run until Oct. 10.
Nathan Lane stars as Dionysus and penned a revised book for the show, based on the Aristophanes classic. About the production, composer-lyricist Sondheim told the New York 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."
Sondheim (Assassins) and librettist Burt 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. (No massive pool is being added into the Vivian Beaumont at Lincoln Center Theater.)
John Byner, Peter Bartlett, Daniel Davis, Burke Moses and Michael Siberry and Chris Kattan (as Lane's cynical slave) also star in the revised Frogs.
Davis, a veteran of San Francisco theatre, won a Tony nomination in 2000 for his turn as a foppish, but sincere theatre producer in Broadway's Wrong Mountain. Soon after, he played Oscar Wilde in Tom Stoppard's The Invention of Love, also a Lincoln Center production.
Bartlett is known as a dependably funny high camp presence in the plays of Paul Rudnick. He most recently ended a run in Broadway's short-lived Never Gonna Dance. Burke Moses created the role of Gaston in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Since then, the muscle-bound actor has gone on to replace Brian Stokes Mitchell in Kiss Me, Kate. Siberry's best know credit is Captain von Trapp in the 1998 Broadway revival of The Sound of Music.
A comedian as well as an actor, John Byner is a well known face from television and film. He got his start making appearances on the "Tonight" show in the early '60s and appeared on "The Garry Moore Show" and "The Steve Allen Comedy Hour." He had his own television show in 1972. He played Detective Donahue on "Soap." He was also the voice of the Aardvark in the cartoon series "The Ant and the Aardvark"—a voicing often mistakenly credited to Jackie Mason. He is renowned for his impressions, including various presidents and a dead on Ed Sullivan.
Kattan is a star of "Saturday Night Live."
Two of the more knowns songs to emerge from the show are "Fear No More," a setting of Shakespeare verse by Sondheim, and "Invocation to the Gods and Instructions to the Audience," which was heard in a revised form in the revue, Putting It Together.