Nathan Lane, whose 2004 Broadway version of Stephen Sondheim’s “The Frogs” – an hilarious send up of Greek comedy and satire – has its UK premiere tonight (Thursday 16 March), attended the show last night at Jermyn Street Theatre in London’s West End.

NATHTAN LANE

Afterwards, he happily posed for photos with the creative team and cast, including Michael Matus, who plays his central role of Dionysos, and co-star George Rae (Xanthias) then joined them all for drinks after the show in the nearby Getti restaurant.

NATHAN LANE
Nathan is about to open as the McCarthyist lawyer Roy Cohn in the two-part “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes” at the National Theatre.

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“The Frogs” has proved to be one of the hottest, fastest-selling tickets in London, and the entire run has sold out before press night.
“The Frogs” is 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. It is produced by House on the Hill Productions in association with Jermyn Street Theatre and directed by Grace Wessels. It runs to Saturday 8 April.

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“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 includes seven additional Stephen 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.

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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.”