In the mid ‘90s Deborah took an intensive storytelling workshop. In the midst of the workshop, three lines came to her: “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.”

From that point on, the story of Amphibia, the frog princess, continued to spin in Deborah’s head for nearly ten years. Completed in 2000 and premiered with the Buffalo Philharmonic, “The Frog Princess” is now a standard part of Deborah’s family shows, and was featured at 2002’s Chicago Humanities Children’s Festival.

So what should you expect at a "Frog Princess" performance? Think “Fractured Fairy Tales” meets “Peter and the Wolf” - but with a lot of frogs. In this sequel to the famous “Frog Prince” fairytale, a young girl dreams of being King, just like her father. But she’s afraid that "just like her father" she’ll turn into a frog someday!

Amphibia is heir to the throne of Lilypadia - daughter of the former Frog Prince. Raised by her father, she’s taught that there’s no shame in being a frog, but she can't shake the nagging feeling that there's something not quite right about her. As her coronation day approaches, her froggish phobia looms large - what if she turns into a frog in front of the whole - (gulp) - kingdom?

“Let me get this straight,” says the cockney-voiced Fool, “you’re afraid there’s an ancient curse in your family, handed down from generation to generation and suddenly one day you’re going to find yourself completely humiliated in front of the whole world? But … I mean…EVERYBODY’S afraid of that.”

Despite the Fool’s conviction that he can concoct a “Curse Reverser,” and despite a romantic encounter in the old tower with a kindly, mysterious stranger, Amphibia realizes she must overcome the ancient curse herself. . . even if it means learning to embrace her inner frog.

“In the olden days,” Deborah begins, “long before there were movies or films, the ancient “bards” or “troubadours” would travel from town to town with their harps slung over their backs.

“The movie screens of those times were the people’s imaginations, and on those magic screens, scenes of wonder appeared that even Steven Spielberg couldn't’t create. It is the harper’s tradition to spin such tales, beginning with the magic words: ‘Once upon a time…”

“The Frog Princess” is a lushly orchestrated one-woman show, with Deborah playing a cast of characters, from the gruff, bumbling King to the wisecracking fool, the evil governess, the handsome captain of the guards, the romantic Josquin and Amphibia herself. The supporting cast (thousands of frogs) is performed by the audience.

Right now, most of the family programs Deborah performs include "The Frog Princess," but non-amphibious programs are also available including orchestral blues, sing-a-longs, clap-a-longs (in one piece - Califypso - the audience gets a percussion solo) and jazzed up versions of family favorites like "Ickytickytambo" and "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star."

Another Family Program currently in the works is titled "Mother Goose Swings" and features updated versions of nursery classics. Look for it in shows to come!