By Cari Lynn Pace
Laughter and ragtime music open this colorful production in the small Monroe Stage at 6th Street Playhouse. Oversize storybooks line the stage with flowerpots and garlands brightening the aisles. Small children sit or bounce in their chairs – many with dress-up skirts or cowboy boots. This is one performance where watching the audience is as much fun as watching the actors’ antics onstage.
Three members of the cast (Katie Foster, Molly Larsen-Shine, and Emma LeFever) variously play feathered birds and other small critters. Kudos to Donnie Frank who designed the costumes of these woodland creatures. The gals sing a sweet harmony, dance the Charleston, and tap to keep the attention of squirming little ones – not an easy task.
Frog (Jonathen Blue) and Toad (Ted Smith) pop up to build their friendship as the seasons change. These two are delightful with their dancing moves and duets. The simple story line underscores taking care of each other, and the kids seem to get it.
It’s a short show, just about one hour, and the songs flow quickly throughout the plot. The one exception is the snail, whose slow-motion entrances and exits are met with constant giggles.
During intermission, kids were welcome to work off their pent-up energy by dancing and twirling on the colorful painted floor. “Look at me, Daddy!” was the joyful cry heard over the music.
“…a great way to introduce youngsters to live theatre.”
A Year with Frog and Toad is a great way to introduce youngsters to live theatre. It’s interactive, with a pre-show art project hosted by the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County. Creating wands and pictures adds to the overall excitement of being at a show, particularly when some of the pictures are tacked up to the stage props and recognized by the little artists.
The popularity of this musical based on the stories of Arnold Lobel has sold out many shows, leading 6th Street to extend the run to January 29th. Ticket prices are $15-$25 with children under 2 free.
ASR Writer & Editor Cari Lynn Pace is a voting member of SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle and writes theatre and lifestyle reviews for the Marinscope Community Newspapers throughout Marin County. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Production||A Year with Frog and Toad|
|Book and Lyrics by||Willie Reale|
|Directed by||Anne Warren Clark|
|Producing Company||6th Street Playhouse|
|Production Dates||Weekends at 10 AM, 1 PM, and 4 PM through January 29th|
|Production Address||6th Street Playhouse
52 W. 6th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
|Tickets||$15 to $25|
|Reviewer Score||Max in each category is 5/5|
|Aisle Seat Review PICK?||YES!|