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Stephen Sondheim's THE FROGS is Hopping into the West End!

The latest Broadway version of the rarely performed Stephen Sondheim musical The Frogs, an hilarious send up of Greek comedy and satire, with a book revised and expanded by Nathan Lane, is to get its UK premiere in 2017 at Jermyn Street Theatre.

The Frogs, loosely based on a comedy written in 405 BC by Aristophanes, freely adapted for today by Burt Shevelove, and even more freely adapted by Nathan Lane, with Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, produced by House on the Hill Productions in association with Jermyn Street Theatre and directed by Grace Wessels, will premiere at Jermyn Street Theatre from Tuesday 14 March - Saturday 8 April.

The Frogs was originally performed in Yale University's gymnasium's swimming pool in 1974, featuring members of the Yale swimming team, and Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver in its ensemble.This latest version, that opened on Broadway in 2004, includes seven new Sondheim songs.

From the same writers behind A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, The Frogs, playfully explores the great challenges of human existence: confronting our fears, understanding life and death, and challenging the distractions that 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, Dionysos and Xanthias meet Herakles, Charon, Pluto, and of course, the chorus of frogs. Then, Shakespeare shows up and starts declaiming his greatest hits; and 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.

Broadway star Nathan Lane decided to expand The Frogs in 2001. "After September 11 ... I started to think, There's something in this piece right now. ... There's something idealistic about the notion of someone believing that the arts can make a difference ... I found it moving, in light of what is going on in the world."

Casting to be announced.

Burt Shevelove

Burt Shevelove was born in Newark, New Jersey, graduated from Brown University and received a Master's degree in theatre from Yale. While at Yale, he wrote lyrics for a musical version of Plautus's Mostellaria and later became the resident director for the Yale Dramatic Association. After serving as an ambulance driver in World War II, he began a career as a writer, director and producer for radio and television, working with such stars as Judy Garland, Red Buttons, Jack Paar, Cyril Richard, Nancy Walker and Victor Borge; his work won him Emmy and Peabody Awards. His Broadway career began in 1948 with Small Wonder, a revue for which he wrote material, co-produced and directed. He also directed a revival of Kiss Me Kate (1956), Hallelujah Baby! (1968), No, No, Nanette (1971; he also wrote the book), The Frogs (1974; written with Stephen Sondheim and performed in and around the Yale University pool) and Happy New Year (1980; he also wrote the book). He co-wrote the film, The Wrong Box, with Larry Gelbart. Burt Shevelove died in 1982.

Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Saturday Night (1954), A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to The Forum (1962), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), The Frogs (1974), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park With George (1984), Into The Woods (1987), Assassins (1991), Passion (1994) and Road Show (2008) as well as lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959) and Do I Hear a Waltz? (1965) and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Anthologies of his work include Side By Side By Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You're Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), Putting It Together (1993/99) and Sondheim on Sondheim (2010). He composed the scores of the films Stavisky (1974) and Reds (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy (1990) and the TV
production Evening Primrose (1966). His collected lyrics with attendant essays have been published in two volumes: Finishing the Hat (2010) and Look, I Made A Hat (2011). In 2010 the Broadway theatre formerly known as Henry Miller's Theatre was renamed in his honour.

HOUSE ON THE HILL PRODUCTIONS

House on the Hill Productions also produced the UK premiere of William Inge's Natural Affection starring Lysette Anthony at Jermyn Street Theatre.

For more information visit www.jermynstreettheatre.co.uk.



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