When I learned that “The Frog Princess” was coming to Ensemble Theatre, I immediately called my 10-year-old cousin and said, “We are going!” As we walked in, she immediately started analyzing the set. It was three stone panels that resembled the inside of a castle and turned for different scenes.
The story begins with the Tsar wanting her three sons to find love. To do that, an arrow was shot, and whichever maiden caught it would marry without question. I wish is were that easy in real life! So, the arrows go out and Prince Ivan’s arrow lands in a frog’s mouth. Well, rules are rules, and he marries the talking frog.
Prince Ivan, nervous about being married
to a frog, receives nothing but jokes and ridicule from his brothers. After the
Tsar throws out a series of challenges for her sons and their new wives to
complete and please her, Prince Ivan is convinced they are going to lose every
one of them.
Well, the Frog Princess has a little magic on her own. Reciting a quick spell, she puts Prince Ivan to sleep to complete the challenges of knitting a robe and baking a cake. Two things a frog with no hands can do!
This is when I was mesmerized. The Frog Princess, played by Brooke Steele, has the most amazing voice I have ever heard. In the song “Wind Take My Wish,” her voice is so smooth and floats through the jazz melodies of the violins and piano. The stage lights dim to a soft blue, like a jazz club. By the second time she sang the song, I whispered to the woman next me, “I need the soundtrack to this musical!” Not to mention her, frog stance and hops are impeccable! I work out three to four times a week and I know for a fact my knees are not that reliable.
After winning the first two challenges,
Prince Iva appreciate his green princess. He thanks her for all her kind
efforts and gestures even though he doesn’t understand how she is pulling it
all off. After the third challenge is announced, he is sure that the lady will
not be able to complete it.
As she has done, the princess surprises the Prince by shedding her skin and showing her true beauty. Everyone is blown away by her, even the Tsar. But all of this comes at a cost. At the end of the night, the Frog Princess is kidnapped. Prince Ivan goes after her, searching for her years and years! The only way to find her and bring her home, is by showing kindness to complete strangers.
And this, my friends, is where we adults get a reminder about our actions toward other people. The story continues with simple acts of kindness that many of us can do, but just don’t take the time to complete. Think about sharing your food with a homeless man or woman who is hungry. Maybe you can help a hurt animal. Perhaps you can show kindness to those who don’t look like you. All are easy to do any time, any place.
I asked my younger cousin what acts of kindness has she done lately. She thought about it for a minute and said, “Well I shared my lunch with a friend who forgot hers. But it was lunchtime and we needed to eat.” This warmed my heart. To her, it wasn’t an act of kindness to share her lunch with her friend who forgot. It was logic. It was lunchtime and they needed to eat.
This comedic musical is one of my favorites. My cousin and I laughed until we almost croaked. It has a happy ending with a warm message to remind us all to be kind to those we meet. This is one you should definitely see to jumpstart the New Year. It will make you want to be a whole new person and feel like a kid again.
Marissa Staples is a Cincinnati published author and writer for The Voice of Black Cincinnati. She developed her love of arts from her mother, Kandi. Being a native of Cincinnati, she loves to travel. If she is not traveling, you can find her reading, writing, volunteering or drinking wine. Wine always brings smiles, friends and creative dialogue.