Meet the Artist  


Image of the ArtistMeet Deborah Henson-Conant,
creator of "The Frog Princess"

Deborah Henson-Conant is the woman behind “The Frog Princess.” Here's what she has to say about this original project:

"I've 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.

"The 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:

“Once upon a time there was a princess who thought she was a frog. She didn’t look like a frog. She was just convinced that, deep down inside, she really was one.”

Those 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.

By 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.

A 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 songs.

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 to reorchestrate it for Chamber ensemble to perform with the wonderful chamber group "Fulcrum Point Ensemble."

"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, learning courage and finding true love. Sometimes I think it's my own autobiography. I'm still learning to embrace my inner frog.

Visit Deborah Henson-Conant's Website