By Sue Morgan
Spring has come early to Sonoma County as 6th Street Playhouse shines on theatre-goers young and old with a radiant production of A Year with Frog and Toad.
Luca Catanzaro’s beautifully spare setting has just the right amount of sumptuous color to enhance the vibrant performances of Frog (Jonathen Blue); Toad (Ted Smith); Bird, Turtle, Squirrel, Mole (Katie Foster); Bird, Mouse, Squirrel, Mole (Molly Larsen-Shine); and Bird, Snail, Lizard, Mole (Emma LeFever).
The vast majority of attendees could not stop smiling!
Donnie Frank’s costuming is also pitch perfect. Frog and Toad are dressed in keeping with their literary counterparts while the delightful birds sport multi-colored hair to match their plumage and billowy skirts; even without opening their mouths, their appearance alone incites glee!
Prior to the performance, young audience members were invited to color flowers and leaves provided at tables set up in the lobby. The children carried their art into the theatre and became part of the background as they waved their creations when characters sang.
As the story begins, three birds return north in spring after wintering in the South. Foster, Larsen-Shine and LeFever all give star performances as the birds that interact and harmonize beautifully with one another. Director Anne Warren Clark’s amusing and whimsical choreography perfectly expresses their joy as music director Daniel Savio’s upbeat ragtime ensures that not a toe remains untapped throughout their opening number. The vast majority of attendees could not stop smiling!
Jonathen Blue and Ted Smith are wholly believable as amphibian besties who organically teach lessons about kindness, loyalty and sharing, among other things, as they engage in activities in keeping with the seasons. Clark’s skillful direction empowered both performers to create characters that are charming, fun and fanciful – without devolving into childishness or slapstick.
Blue and Smith also have singing chops equal to their considerable facility for acting. The mail carrier snail – the living embodiment of “snail mail” – is flawlessly enacted by LeFever, whose artfully drawn-out journeys across the stage were an unexpected highlight among many in this abbreviated production (55 minutes with a 10-minute break).
Bring children, bring your friends, bring anyone who loves theatre and can use a bit of sunshine to see this heartwarming and exceptional presentation of A Year with Frog and Toad.
Contributing Writer Sue Morgan is a literature-and-theater enthusiast in Sonoma County’s Russian River region. Contact: email@example.com
|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!|