Hi. My name is Andrew and I went to see “A Year With Frog And Toad” with my Momma and Grandma. I am writing to tell you about the play and all the things we liked about it. All three of us liked many things about the play and we are very different ages. My Momma liked the costumes and the music. My grandma liked the set and the cool effects they did. My favorite things about the play were that it was funny and it taught you about friendship. There is something in this play that everyone will like!
Our fun time started as soon as we got to the Tempe Center for the Arts. We got to do a coloring craft to help make a mural in the lobby. I love to do art! Then, the Christmas music started and we got to sing and dance with the people putting it on. It was really fun! I got to buy a cool Toad puppet before it started to remember my time at the play. Also, it helps Childsplay bring plays to kids in the community when you buy the things on their table out front.
When the play started, we got to meet Frog and Toad at their houses. They were just waking up from their winter hibernation. Frog got up right away but Toad did not want to wake up. It is a very funny scene with Frog waking up Toad! I laughed a lot and it was one of my favorite parts of the whole play!
We get to watch Frog and Toad go through the year doing lots of things together every day. They are very good friends to each other. The play teaches you many ways to be a good friend by watching how Frog and Toad treat each other. They are always thinking of ways to make each other happy.
The play is based on the Frog and Toad series of books written by Arnold Lobel. I love these stories. It was fun to see how the play showed parts of many of the stories in the series.
Writing a letter to each other is one way they talked about how to be a good friend. Toad said that he had never received a letter, so Frog wrote him a letter and gave it to the mailman, who is a snail! You get to see snail trying to get that letter to Toad in different scenes in the whole show. Snail’s songs are super funny and are another favorite part of the show for me. Snails are very slow and probably not the best choice for a mailman, but it sure was funny! Snail’s costume was also my favorite!
My other favorite scene was when they went sledding. Frog convinced Toad to go, but Toad was scared. Toad falls off and gets very mad at Frog for making him go. Then Frog makes him laugh and it is all better. It may not sound like it, but it is actually a very funny scene!
I got to go on and behind the stage after the show with the Stage Manager and her crew. It was so cool to see the set up close. I got to meet the people who make the things on the sets work and they showed me how they do everything. I really liked figuring out how Toad made his cookies so fast (Hint: He did not actually bake them) and how the sled moved all around with the actors who played Frog and Toad on it. I also got to see how they moved the leaves up and down on the trees and how they make it snow. SO COOL!
My very favorite part of the whole thing backstage was going in the green room to meet the actors and ask them questions to share with all of YOU! Here are my questions and some of their answers:
- When did you start acting? Most of them started in elementary school or junior high in some way, but got serious about it in high school.
- How long does it take you to learn your lines? They have 3 weeks of rehearsals from 10a to 5p and some of them learn their lines quicker than others.
- What is your favorite thing about this play? Their answers were that it is a “celebration of friendship”, teaches what a good friend is, costumes and music
- Who is your favorite character in Frog and Toad and Why? Most said the characters they are playing because they get to know them so well. Jon Gentry the actor who plays Toad, said that even if he was not Toad, Toad would still be his favorite because Toad is “Loyal, finicky, picky and not perfect”.
- What is your advice for kids who want to be in plays? Most said “Take classes!” and “Study!” and Christiann said “Pay attention to your school work because the best actors are smart actors!”
- How is the set built? It is designed by Jeff Thompson and built by John Emery. They said they have to draw pictures and use a lot of math and physics to figure out how to make it work. It looks like everybody who works on the play has to be smart and should take Christiann’s advice!
- Are there musicians back here playing music? It sounds like it. The music was done in a recording studio with musicians many years ago when they first put this play on and now they use a CD of that recording. Alan Ruch was the Music Director.
- Will you ever do a Pokemon play? I was told that if a good Pokemon play was written, it would be considered. I was told that I should write one! Now I can add “playwright” to the list of things I want to be when I grow up! I really would love to see a Pokemon play!
You should all come out and see this play! Kids, parents and grandparents will all love it!
Here is important information on the people who make this awesome show happen from Childsplay’s official press release:
A Year with Frog and Toad features an all-star cast of Valley favorites: Dwayne Hartford (Frog), Jon Gentry (Toad), David Jones (Snail/Bird/Lizard/Father Frog/Mole), Yolanda London (Bird/Turtle/Squirrel/Mother Frog/Mole), and Christiann Thijm (Bird/Mouse/Squirrel/Young Frog/Mole).
Musical Director: Alan Ruch
Choreographer: Molly Lajoie, Based on original choreography by Michael Barnard
Scenic Design: Jeff Thomson
Costume Design: Karen Ann Ledger
Hair & Makeup Design: D. Daniel Hollingshead
Lighting Design: Rick Paulsen
Sound Design: Christopher Neumeyer
Projection Design: Anthony Runfola
Stage Manager: Sarah G. Chanis