(Cincinnati, OH) The ribbit-ing return of Ensemble Theatre’s first commissioned family-friendly musical, The Frog Princess, leaps to the stage December 4, 2019-January 4, 2020. This musical spin on the beloved classic Russian fairy tale celebrates the beauty within each of us and receives a contemporary twist by local creative team Joseph McDonough (playwright) and David Kisor (composer and lyricist). This year’s production is the first time it will have appeared on the ETC stage in twelve years. With an revitalized script, intricate costumes, and a lavish set, The Frog Princess is holiday fun for the entire family! Directed by D. Lynn Meyers.
It is time for Prince Ivan to marry, but when he discovers his bride-to-be is actually a frog, he is toad-ally disappointed. Vasilisa is more than your typical hoppy-go-lucky frog, though…she’s a kindhearted princess under a curse! When the villainous Old Bones takes Vasilisa to a far-away land, Ivan sets out to find her, discovering along his journey that love sees beyond outside appearances.
“The driving theme of this show is kindness–it’s about non-judgment, not leaping (if you mind the pun) to conclusions, and being kind to one another,” says Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers. “We can all agree that kindness is something we need more of in the world we live in, and I think that this story reaches deeply into the idea of loving, caring, and accepting one another. I am so excited to be bringing The Frog Princess back to the stage, and to bring kindness and joy to audiences this holiday season.”
About the Cast
Brooke Steele (Vasilisa) has appeared numerous times at Ensemble Theatre, most recently as the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. Some of her favorite ETC credits include Fly by Night, Violet, Cinderella, and The Marvelous Wonderettes. When not performing, she teaches with Community Arts Initiatives.
Patrick Earl Phillips (Ivan) received his BA in Theatre from Xavier University and was an Acting Intern at ETC during the 2014-2015 Season. He was last seen at ETC in Fly by Night, as well as This Random World, Bloomsday, Cinderella: After Ever After, Violet, Luna Gale, and Love and Information. His other regional theatre credits include The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre; Henry VI, Part I, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company; and Saint Joan and Relatively Speaking, Diogenes Theatre Company.
Michael G. Bath (Bori /Baba Yaga) returns for his 23rd consecutive holiday show with Ensemble Theatre, where he has also appeared in Fly By Night, The Dancing Princesses, Cinderella: After Ever After, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Hands on a Hardbody, among others. Other regional credits include Superior Donuts with Clifton Players and Angels in America at Know Theatre. Mr. Bath has also performed with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, the Performance Gallery, Showboat Majestic, and Stage First Cincinnati.
Darnell Pierre Benjamin (Nicholai/Wise Man) has been seen at Ensemble Theatre in Alice in Wonderland,
The Dancing Princesses, Cinderella: After Ever After, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Cinderella, and Detroit ’67. His recent regional credits include Titus Andronicus and Miss Holmes with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and
The Absentee with Know Theatre of Cincinnati. Darnell is a dancer, a teacher at CCM, and a board member with the local dance group Pones.
Burgess Byrd (Tsar/Bear) returns to Ensemble Theatre for her first holiday production since Around the World in 80 Days in the 1999-2000 Season, during which time she was an Acting Intern. Additional ETC credits include Skeleton Crew, Red Velvet, This Random World, and Detroit ‘67. Recently, she was a guest artist at the University of Texas at Austin in The Merchant of Venice.
Lisa DeRoberts (Svetlana/Falcon) ) was last seen at Ensemble Theatre in Ripcord, Snow White, and Cinderella (2010). Some of her other local credits include Susan Swayne and the Bewildered Bride, The Darkest Night at the Gnarly Stump, and Hearts Like Fists, Know Theatre of Cincinnati; and Vibrata in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. She appears in the feature films The Old Man and the Gun and My Days of Mercy.
Deb G. Girdler (Old Bones) has appeared numerous times on Ensemble Theatre’s stage, often as the villain in the holiday shows. Some of her ETC credits include The Dancing Princesses, Cinderella, Hands on a Hardbody, Around the World in 80 Days, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland (2012 & 2018), The Great American Trailer Park Musical, and The Frog Princess (2007). Deb has appeared at the Olney Theatre as the Fairy Godmother in the now-official version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella as well as in La Cage Aux Folles at the Gateway Playhouse in New Jersey. She can be seen in the feature films Carol and First Kill. A CCM graduate, she began her career on the Showboat Majestic and has worked off-Broadway, in regional theatre, and in summer stock for over thirty years.
Sara Mackie (Natasha/Pike) is an alumna of the Wright State Acting BFA Program. She has performed with Ensemble Theatre most recently in Fun Home and many other productions since 1999 including Hands on a Hardbody, all three Wonderette iterations, Rabbit Hole, and Mauritius, among others. Some of her favorite credits include An Act of God, Twelfth Night, and Family Ties, Human Race Theatre; Pump Boys and Dinettes, The Carnegie; and Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, Falcon Theatre. Sara appears briefly in the feature films The Public and Dark Waters.
Rounding out the ensemble cast is last season’s Acting Apprentice Kayla Marie Klammer (Night Maiden), as well as this season’s this season’s Acting Apprentices Joshua Brian Beasely (ERG), Rachael M. Petranek (Night Maiden), Alexia Vlahos (Night Maiden), and Nora Weisz (ERL).
Production team: Brian c. Mehring (Resident Scenic and Lighting Designer), Mary Murphy (Costume Designer), Matt Callahan (Sound Designer), Kelly Yurko (Wig & Makeup Designer), Dee Anne Bryll (Choreographer), Steve Goers (Musical Director), Shannon Rae Lutz (Properties Master & Design Assistant), Matthew Hollstegge (Production Manager), and Jack Murphy (Technical Director). Production Stage Manager is Brandon T. Holmes. Assistant Stage Manager is Lexi Muller.
Select performances Tuesday-Saturday at 7:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm; and Sunday at 6:00 pm. Performances vary. A complete calendar of performances is available online at www.ensemblecincinnati.org.
Tickets start at $40 for adults; student tickets are $28; and children are $24. Half-Price Rush Tickets: All remaining tickets for the current day’s performance(s) are available two hours prior to each show time for half-price (discount only applies to adult tickets) when purchasing by phone or in person. $15 Student Rush Tickets: Students may purchase up to two $15 student rush tickets two hours prior to show time with valid student I.D. Available in person only.
2019-2020 Season Presenting Sponsor is the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation. Additional support provided PNC.
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is supported, in part, by the generosity of community contributions to the ArtsWave Campaign.
The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is a professional theatre dedicated to producing world and regional premieres of works that often explore compelling social issues. We fulfill our mission through our stage productions and educational outreach programs that enlighten, enliven, enrich and inspire our audiences.