Stephen Sondheim, Burt Shevelove, and Nathan Lane's The Frogs makes a NYC return via MasterVoices, which is presenting a concert production of the seldom-produced musical at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater November 3 and 4.
Lane, who penned the revised book from Shevelove's original, is hosting, with Douglas Sills as Dionysos, Kevin Chamberlin as Xanthias, Peter Bartlett as Pluto (reprising his performance from the musical's 2004 Broadway production), Dylan Baker as George Bernard Shaw, Chuck Cooper as Charon, Marc Kudisch as Herakles, Jordan Donica as William Shakespeare, and Candice Corbin as Ariadne. Also featured is the 130-member MasterVoices Chorus.
The dance ensemble includes Rei Akazawa-Smith, Lexis Danca, Maurice Dawkins, Maya Halpern-Thomas, Beatrice Howell, Ali Montez, Christopher Page-Sanders, Isabela C. Sanchez, Tommy Scrivens, Claire Waxman, Ruby Waxman, and Andrew Wilson. Singing in the chamber chorus are Molly Balk, Jonathan Bass, Joe Becherer, Jan Constantine, Candice Corbin, Maya Ganesen, Michael Hasty, Robert James, Nicole Eve Goldstein, Maria Lane, Kaitlyn LeBaron, Megan Lione, Luisa Lyons, Mark Metzger, Ken Moore, Kristal Pacific, Deb Poppel, Renata Proa, Jim Roumeles, John Sabatos, Mark Sullivan, Lauren Tucker, Ronny Viggiani, Zach Wang, Stephen Weber, and Jill Melanie Wirth.
Loosely based on the ancient Aristophanes play, The Frogs features the most complex choral writing of any of Sondheim's scores, following Dionysos and his servant Xanthias as they travel to Hades and back to rescue one of the great artists to save mankind. The musical was famously written to be performed in a Yale swimming pool, with an original cast that boasted such future stars (then Yale Drama students) as Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver, and Christopher Durang. MasterVoices is presenting the work in its revised iteration written for a 2004 Broadway debut via Lincoln Center Theater.
MasterVoices' concert is directed and conducted by Artistic Director Ted Sperling, with choreography by Lainie Sakakura, sound design by Scott Lehrer, costume design by Tracy Christensen, and lighting design by Shelby Loera. Ira Mont is production stage manager, and Jennifer Rogers is stage manager. Hair and makeup design are by J. Jared Janas and Cassie Williams.
The Frogs serves as the kick off to MasterVoices' 2023-2024 season, which will also include a new dance piece created in collaboration with choreographer Doug Varone, To My Arms / Restore, performing at NYU Skirball Center March 22-23, 2024; and Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie's opera The Grapes of Wrath, performing April 17 at Carnegie Hall.
This production of The Frogs is licensed by Music Theatre International.