2 Acts, Book Musical, Rated PG
Original Broadway Version (2004) / Lincoln Center Theater/di
Dionysus, George Bernard Shaw and Shakespeare collide in Sondheim's satirical tribute to Greek comedies.
From the writers behind A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum comes the hilarious send up of Greek comedy and satire, The Frogs. The Frogs, loosely based on a comedy written in 405 B.C. by Aristophanes, playfully explores the great challenges of human existence: confronting our fears, understanding life and death, and challenging the distractions 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, Dionysus and Xanthias meet Chekhov, Congreve, Ibsen, Brecht, and of course, the chorus of frogs. Then, Shakespeare shows up and starts declaiming his greatest hits; 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. This musical is ideal for a regional theatre looking to inject a bit of Greek satire into their season.
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Broadway musicals come from “operetta,” which were introduced to New York in the early twentieth century by European composers.