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"A Year With Frog and Toad" to be staged at OC

Thursday, October 1, 2009   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katy Roybal
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Children and adults alike are invited to experience “A Year With Frog and Toad” at Oklahoma Christian University this weekend. The musical version of Arnold Lobel's classic story follows one year in the life of two friends.

“This musical really touches on some basic human themes of friendship that are relevant today,” said Phil Reagan, professor and chair of the theater department at OC. “So many people forgo face to face interaction with friends for Facebook and e-mail. Sometimes a lot is lost there. In this story, it takes the entire play for one letter to be delivered. That anticipation can actually strengthen a relationship.”

The story centers on the friendship of the two main characters. As they awake from hibernation in spring, the happy Frog and the grumpy Toad experience life in nature through the four seasons. The story celebrates the joy of friendship and beauty of being unique.

The musical does not stray far from the book, which Lobel wrote for his daughter when she was young. Years later, she commissioned the musical and it was adapted to the stage by Robert and Willie Reale. In 2003 the musical received three Tony Award nominations including Best Musical.

“This production demands having good actors who can sing,” Reagan said. “It's not always easy to find performers that can do both. We're pretty lucky with this cast. They were truly the most talented students who auditioned.”
The show features a small cast of six, which made producing it a little easier since the cast had only three weeks to prepare.

“Our first fall show is always a challenge since auditions are so close to opening night,” said Callie Settles, a junior who plays Frog. “However, I think we have a very intimate show that kids will love. This is a really good story for children just learning to read.”

According to Reagan, “A Year With Frog And Toad” is not meant only for children.

“This musical appeals to adults because so many remember the book from their childhood,” he said. “Plus, this is a very fun show with a great jazz score. Our musical accompanist, Eric Gregg, improvises on the spot. His performance alone is impressive.”

Other members of the cast include Rebecca Montgomery, a senior who plays Toad, senior Melissa Eastman, freshman Amanda Adams and freshman Josh McCoy, who each play a variety of characters, and Curt Rose, a sophomore who is the voice of Large and Terrible Frog.

“A Year With Frog And Toad” will be staged Oct. 1-3 at 7 p.m. in Judd Theatre on the OC campus. Tickets are $7 for senior citizens and $8 for all others. Tickets can be reserved by calling 425-5540. It is suitable for ages 3 and up.

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