The Frogs, Nathan Lane’s adaptation of Burt Shevelove’s take on Aristophanes’ ancient political comedy (with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim), will soon face formidable competition across Lincoln Center’s plaza, where Mark Morris’s production of Rameau’s Platée, performed by the New York City Opera, opens September 28 at the New York State Theater. Both shows have watery environs and fantastical costumes: William Ivey Long dressed the eponymous amphibians—too little seen, in my view—in Lane’s show, and Isaac Mizrahi designed extraordinary slimy suits for the inhabitants of the swamp in Morris’s. A wonderful silliness is endemic to both pieces.
Susan Stroman, who directed and choreographed this version of The Frogs, has created a pastiche of ballet, jazz, modern dance, and pageant for her chorus (a member of which is Francesca Harper, daughter of Ailey School director Denise Jefferson) and it does her proud, switching vocabularies at the drop of a toga. In the Rameau, though, Mark Morris has a surer hand on the tiller.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 7, 2004