creator of "The Frog Princess"
Henson-Conant is the woman behind “The
Frog Princess.” Here's what she has
to say about this original project:
always loved to hear one person tell a story, embodying
each character -- and I've always loved writing and
performing musicals, so I created "The Frog Princess"
as a one-person musical, so I could tell the story
on stage, be all the characters and sing all the songs.
It's like I get to be a whole story, myself.
Frog Princess" first came to life in the mid-90's
when I took an intensive storytelling workshop from
mime-actor Tony Montanaro. As we began to develop our
stories, three lines popped into my head:
lines felt emotional and personal to me. I
knew how that girl felt, and
I wanted to know her story. One of the ways I understand things
in life is to create stories about them -- to discover
the meaning through the story I create.
the end of that workshop, I performed a completed
version of the story, but like many stories I write,
the emotional sense comes first and it takes awhile
for the plot to gel. So I put the story into a drawer.
But the first three lines continued to haunt me. I
knew this was a story I needed to tell --
I just didn't know how I'd do it yet.
few years after that I started working as a soloist
with orchestras, and composing the music I
played with them. When
the Buffalo Philharmonic invited
me to perform a Family Show, I knew it had to be "The
Frog Princess." I
finished the story and composed a version for symphony
orchestra, kind of like "Peter
and the Wolf" meets "Fractured Fairy Tales." Then
I asked ask artist David Omar White to make a series
of drawings to go with the story, and I recorded
a CD, performing all the characters and singing the
next year, the Kennedy Center invited
me to perform it as part of their "Imagination
Celebration" in a small theater, using an audio
playback instead of live musicians -- and
in 2002 the Chicago Humanities Festival invited
me to perform it on their Children's Festival and
it for Chamber ensemble to perform with
the wonderful chamber group "Fulcrum
"The Frog Princess" is the story of a young girl's
coming-of-age, her love for her father and her
story of overcoming her fears, finding her own power,
and finding true love. Sometimes I think
it's my own autobiography. I'm still learning to
embrace my inner frog.
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