Nathan Lane, whose 2004 Broadway version of Stephen Sondheim’s The Frogs has its UK premiere tonight (Thursday 16 March), attended the show last night at Jermyn Street Theatre in London’’s West End.
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.
Lane 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.
The Frogs has proved to be one of the fastest-selling tickets in London and the entire run has sold out before press night. Presented by House on the Hill Productions, the show features Lane’s libretto based on Sondheim and Burt Shevelove’s original 1974 work.
The cast also includes Bernadette Bangura, Martin Dickinson, Chris McGuigan, Li-Tong Hsu, Nigel Pilkington, Emma Ralston and Jonathan Wadey.
Director Wessels heads a creative team that includes musical director Tim Sutton, designer Gregor Donnelly and lighting designer Tim Mascall, with movement by Tim McArthur.
Very loosely based on an Ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes, Sondheim and Shevelove’s The Frogs was originally performed in Yale University’s gymnasium’s swimming pool in 1974 by an ensemble that included Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep.
Lane revealed he decided to expand the piece after 9/11. He said: “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.”
Lane’s version moved the show away from the initial ensemble format and included seven new songs written by Sondheim.