Michael Matus & George Rae to star in Stephen Sondheim’s THE FROGS at Jermyn Street Theatre. They will play Dionysos and Xanthias in the UK premiere of the latest Broadway version of the rarely performed musical, an hilarious send up of Greek comedy and satire, with a book revised and expanded by Nathan Lane.
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.
Michael Matus has just played Mrs Bumbrake in the UK premiere of Peter and the Starcatcher. He has featured in seven shows for the Royal Shakespeare Company. His many West End and major roles include Monsieur Firmin in The Phantom of the Opera, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Lend Me a Tenor, Yes Prime Minister, Imagine This, Martin Guerre and The Sound of Music at Regent’s Park.
George Rae was nominated for three Best Actor awards as Otto Kringelei in Grand Hotel at Southwark Theatre (Best Male Performance in the Off West End Theatre Awards, Best Featured Actor in a New Production of a Musical, Broadway World UK West End Awards and Best Actor in The West End Wilma Awards). Last month, he was named by Mark Shenton as one of The Best Leading Men in UK Musical Theatre in The Stage. His other roles include Patsy in Spamalot (Frankfurt), Benjamin in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Schlomo in Fame, Rick in A Slice of Saturday Night, Mr Two in Adding Machine, Timon in The Lion King and TJ in Sister Act.
The rest of the cast are: Bernadette Bangura (Ragtime, Charing Cross Theatre), Martin Dickinson (Promises Promises, Southwark Playhouse), Chris McGuigan (Through the Mill, London Theatre Workshop), Li-Tong Hsu (Here Lies Love, National Theatre), Nigel Pilkington (The Showstoppers), Emma Ralston (Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods), Jonathan Wadey (previously at Jermyn Street Theatre in House on the Hill’s UK premiere of Natural Affection).
The Frogs was originally performed in 1974 in Yale University’s gymnasium’s swimming pool, featuring members of the Yale swimming team. Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver were among its ensemble.This latest version, which opened on Broadway in 2004, includes seven additional Stephen Sondheim songs.
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.”
THE FROGS plays at Jermyn Street Theatre 14 March – 8 April 2017