The Frog Bride opened Friday at the Children’s Theatre Company. This storytelling hour riffing on a classic fairy tale makes an excellent afternoon interval or pre-bedtime story. It includes more than a few touches for the parents, a very memorable delivery, and a lot of musical pizzaz.
The Frog Bride is not your average bedtime storytelling delivery. It combines elements of spoken word performance with vividly narrated storytelling; a strong score; tight, live music cues; a bit of classical music; and a bit of shadow play. As the narrator/storyteller, David Gonzalez is engrossing, holding small children’s attention from each moment he and his shadow take the stage to the end. The music, provided by violinist Elise Parker and pianist/music director Gregory Theisen, is an engaging and vivid component in its own right. For children below the age of 6, the hour duration is perfect.
Special mention for the production design goes to the use of 20th-century art music (Prokofiev’s Five Melodies for Violin and Piano) and abstract art (paintings by Kadinsky). Daniel Kelly’s original scoring combines with Prokofiev’s music and the storytelling to deliberate varied and elaborate atmosphere that remains perfectly accessible to the small children in the audience. The projections by Matyas Keleman use Kandinsky’s art as a central and unifying element – and a thought-provoking one for a following visit to the museum. (MIA has several Kandinsky paintings in its collection.)
The Frog Bride plays at the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis through February 28.
Basil was named one of Musical America's 30 Professionals of the Year in 2017. He was previously the Regional Governor for the National Opera Association's North Central Region.
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