The Arkansas Arts Center

Children’s Theatre

November 24- December 17, 2006

Performance times: Fridays 7:00 pm; Saturdays 3:00 pm; Sundays 2:00 pm

Winner of the 2003 Tony® Award for Best Regional Theatre

Based on the Newbery and Caldecott Honor children’s books by Arnold Lobel

Directed by Scott Ferguson,

Music by Robert Reale

Lyrics by Willie Reale

Illustration by David Hohn

A Year With Frog And Toad

The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre

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Frog and Toad show works on many levels

Entertaining 5-member cast amuses children, leaves adults pondering plot


    How can a mere five-member cast produce so much entertainment?

    It helps that two of the stars in the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre production of A Year with Frog and Toad are stellar song-and-dance talents Mark Hansen and Dennis Glasscock.

    But the reason this celebration of friendship is such a joyful noise is that it’s more than a collection of clever lyrics and soft-shoe shuffles. At its core is a funny, absurd, solid story originating in the whimsical children’s books by Arnold Lobel.

    The musical, which opened Friday at the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre, is breezily directed by Sherwood native Scott Ferguson, creator of the Broadway show Schoolhouse Rock Live!

    Told mostly through composer Robert Reale’s jazzy, hookfilled 1940s-style music, the spirited production concerns dignified, self-assured Frog (Hansen) and timid, clownish Toad (Glasscock), opposites who are the best of friends (and maybe more, but never mind). The story starts as they wake from hibernation and embark on four seasons of adventures — swimming, kite flying, cookie baking, sled riding — until winter comes around again.

    Contributing mightily to the goofy charm of Frog and Toad are Kristy Barrington, Amy Tallmadge and Philip Gordon, who play an assortment of wacky animal sidekicks (among them Gordon’s hilarious Snail with the Mail). The show — staged on a deceptively simple-looking set that’s smartly capable of conveying a variety of moods — works on several levels, the most relevant being its ability to amuse young audiences while leaving their adult companions wondering if what appears to be a Jeff and Akbar relationship between Frog and Toad is really what’s going on.

    A Year With Frog and Toad continues at the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre through Dec. 17.

Frog and Toad couldn’t be more different, but that doesn’t matter because they are the best of friends. The story follows the adventures of Frog and Toad as they wake from a long winter hibernation and spring upon a fun-filled year of singing, dancing, and adventure. Frog and Toad, along with their forest friends, bring life into this tale of friendship with hilarious and heart-warming songs using jazzy 40’s style music. Then, when the cold rolls round once again, they celebrate a peaceful Christmas Eve by the fire and settle in for another long winter’s nap filled with dreams of cookies and kites and, of course, best friends.