There’s a whole lot of hopping going on at Pumpkin Theatre this month. The Frog Prince is the penultimate show of Pumpkin Theatre’s 47th season. Written by Donald J. Leonard Jr. with music and lyrics by David Reiser and directed by Ryan Michael Hasse, The Frog Prince retells the familiar fairytale with the addition of a few new characters, an expanded plot, and some very cute songs.
The biggest change is that our frog prince, also known as Prince Eric, isn’t the only one in the kingdom under a spell. Princess Pandora, the only daughter of Elvis impersonator-extraordinaire King Glum, has also been cursed. But rather than becoming a frog princess, Pandora has been cursed with one doozy of a speech impediment, rendering her impossible to understand. This is causing the kingdom some trouble, as she’s due to become queen any day now. With the help of Prince Eric’s new froggy friends and a zany court jester, our protagonists face off against the witch, Aunt Drizelda; her snake, Snookums; and the obliviousness of King Glum to break their curses and get their Happily Ever After.
The cast is quirky and exuberant, never drooping even though they’d performed two shows and a gala the night before. Derek Cooper as the Frog Prince is nothing short of adorable, as are Sam Hayder and Rachel Reckling who play his frog friends, Cricket, Jumper, and Euripedes. Danielle Robinette is perfect as the punk princess whom no one understands, literally, and Elisa Dugan obviously studied and got high marks at the Bernadette Peters’ School for Theatrical Witchery. Thom Sinn was more the King of Rock than King Glum the Mediocre, but he was definitely funny. And Kelsey Painter was a perfect Jester.
The stage, designed by Heather Mork, is colorful and the music, overseen by Mandee Ferrier Roberts, is upbeat and catchy. Michael Paradiso designed some charming puppets, which the cast handled well. Kendra Svach Shapanus’ costumes were as bright as the stage and managed to be fanciful and over-the-top without veering into tacky. Children are guaranteed a front row seat, with small chairs and mats on the floor right up front. But even for adults, it’s a good idea to sit close to the stage if you want to see the action clearly. Or, you have the option to become a subscriber and get seats on the risers in back.
The Frog Prince is children’s theatre done well at every level. From the play itself to Pumpkin Theatre’s casting and crew, every aspect is aimed at entertaining kids and their parents and this wonderful production hits the mark.
Their final show of the season is Enchanted Sleeping Beauty, The Legend of Briar-Rose, which runs the first two weekends in May. After that, Pumpkin Theatre begins a series of summer camps for a wide range of age groups, for which they’re still accepting applications. For more information about these programs, visit The Pumpkin Theatre’s website.
Running Time: Approximately 1 hour, with no intermission.