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The Frogs

16th Century, Inc. and Evening Star productions will collaborate to present two FREE concert performances of Stephen Sondheim’s The Frogs on Thursday, November 19th (a preview performance) and Friday, November 20th at Studio One in Ft. Lauderdale.  

Freely adapted from Aristophanes’ Greek comedy by Sondheim’s frequent collaborator Burt Shevlove, The Frogs was first presented as part of the Yale Repertory Theatre’s 1974 season in the university’s gymnasium’s swimming pool.  In Aristophanes’ version, the play is largely a debate between Aeschylus and Euripides, to determine who is the greater artist – with the winner of the contest to return to Earth to save civilization. In Shevelove’s version, the plot remains much the same, but the contest is updated to be a debate between William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw.  

The purpose of this collaboration, explains the production’s director, Rosalie Grant, “Is to increase awareness of, and appreciation for historically themed productions, and to create theatre with really cool people!” 16th Century is a not-for-profit organization that specializes in Historical Interpretation and Historical Entertainment.  From whimsical and engaging characters  representing exaggerations of medieval professions to specific representations of historical figures from the Renaissance, Enlightenment and Victorian eras, 16th century strives to offer history as an “experience” in a thoughtful, fun and engaging way.  

“The decision to do The Frogs as part of our Shakespeare Collaborative was a funny one,” says 16th Century’s Chris Schultz. “The Shakespeare Collaborative is a play reading series where we offer staged readings of some of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays.  Last season we did staged readings of Shakespeare’s plays and had a Marlowe Takeover night, where we read one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, Christopher Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus.  This season we are reading Shakespeare’s plays set in Greece and some in Rome, so we refer to these as his “Greek(ish)” plays.  Since Shakespeare himself adapted and contemporized several ancient Greek stories and ideas, what better way to have another Takeover than to offer up an obscure, little known Greek play by Aristophanes that had been updated and given a contemporary spin by Stephen Sondheim and Burt Shevelove, itself a dated piece of 1960’s musical theatre?

“The decision to approach Rosalie Grant and (musical director) Rebeca Diaz for this project was a no brainer,” he continues. “Both are familiar with our mission and have worked with us in various capacities in the past, although this is the first time we have ever been able to actively engage in a true collaborative effort, and I am very excited for such extraordinary talent to share their skills with us.”   

Cast members for the production include Geoffrey Short as Dionysos, Aaron Berman as Xanthias, John Robert Franklin as William Shakespeare, and Skye Whitcombe as George Bernard Shaw. The Frogs cast of 15 will be accompanied by the Bobby Rodriguez Orchestra 

The Frogs will appear November 19th (preview performance) & 20th at Studio One located at 800 NW 57th Place in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Admission is FREE (Very limited seating).  Performance time is 7 pm.  For information call 561-447-8829 or go to