Tempe's Childsplay opens its 2010-11 season this Saturday, September 18 with A Year With Frog and Toad by brothers Robert (music) and Willie Reale (book and lyrics), based on the Frog and Toad children's stories written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel.
A Year With Frog and Toad follows the woodland adventures of two great amphibious friends, a worrisome fussbudget toad and a buoyantly cheerful frog and their assorted colorful hopping, crawling and flying companions, over the course of a year. The family friendly musical, fun for all ages, runs through October 16 at the Tempe Center for the Arts.
A Year With Frog and Toad opened in New York City Off-Broadway at the New Victory Theater in November 2002. The show received nearly unanimous critical praise, playing to wildly appreciative sold-out houses. Broadway beckoned!
The Reale Brothers' musical transferred to Broadway opening at the Cort Theatre on April 13, 2003. Unfortunately, the jump from its more attractive, and family friendly, Off-Broadway ticket prices to the more substantial ticket prices required of a Broadway show proved to be its downfall. A Year With Frog and Toad closed prematurely on June 15, 2003 after 73 performances, unable to recreate its former momentum. The musical was nominated for three 2003 Tony Awards including Best Musical.
The musical's original Broadway cast recording is available on P.S. Classics.
A Year With Frog and Toad played a well-received return engagement at the Children's Theatre Company from November 16 to December 31, 2004.
Directed by Childsplay founder and Artistic Director, David Saar, A Year With Frog and Toad features some of the ensemble’s best loved actors, reprising their favorite roles. Saar was personally honored this year, receiving the 2010 Medallion Award from the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America. The award was given to honor Childsplay’s continuous artistic excellence and national influence during its thirty-three year history. The theater company was also chosen by azcentral.com as one of its 2010 Critic' Picks - Kids & Family: Best Introduction to Theater.
A Year With Frog and Toad will have musical direction by Alan Ruch, choreography by Michael Barnard, scenic design by Edie Whitsett and costume design by Karen Ledger. The cast includes many Valley favorites: D. Scott Withers as Frog, Dwayne Hartford as Toad, Yolanda London as Bird 1/Turtle (September 12 – October 9), Molly Lajoie as Bird 1 (October 12 – October 16), Katie McFadzen as Bird 2/Mouse and Tony Castellanos as Bird 3/Snail.
First presented in 2004 and, as a result of popular demand, Childsplay is bringing back its fabulous production of A Year With Frog and Toad to open its 2101-11 season to, once again, delight Valley audiences. Kyle Lawson of The Arizona Republic called the 2004 Childsplay production "…tuneful, funny and the sort of thing that makes both kids and adults say afterward, 'Gosh, that was wonderful.'" Chris Page of the East Valley Tribune said it was "…a triumph, a joy to watch."
Please note: A Year With Frog and Toad is recommended for ages four and older. Also, there will be an ASL interpreted performance on Sunday, September 26 at 1 PM.
Graphic artwork and production photos by Heather Hill, courtesy of Childsplay.
Here is a complete listing of the 2010-11 Season at Childsplay:
A Year With Frog and Toad: September 12 to October 16, 2010
Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!: November 14 to December 24, 2010
Go, Dog. Go!: January 23 to March 6, 2011
The Imaginators: April 9 to 17, 2011
The Borrowers: April 30 to May 22, 2011
For more detailed information about all of the shows in the 2010-11 season at Childsplay, performance dates and schedules as well as full season subscriptions, individual ticket availability and prices, please contact Childsplay by phone at (480) 350 2822 , in person at the Box Office or ONLINE.
Childsplay at the Tempe Center for the Arts 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway Tempe 85281