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Since Andrew Lobel’s children’s book Frog and Toad are Friends was released in 1970, the tales of the two amphibian best friends have been shared and enjoyed by children and parents alike for generations.
More than 45 years later, joyful Frog and his grumpy friend Toad will be brought to life at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center for Cardinal Stage Company’s production of A Year with Frog and Toad, which runs from April 22 to May 13.
“I believe Frog and Toad resonates with young audiences because the journey of discovering the world around them is familiar and relevant to their current stage in life,” says A.D. Weaver, who will be performing as Toad.
The Chicago-based actor says Toad is the craziest, most eccentric character he has embodied.
“For this character to work onstage, I have to forget that I’m 23 years old with a good grasp on the concept of the world, and instead live in this place of genuine discovery and wonder — scene after scene, song after song, dance after dance,” Weaver says.
The family-friendly musical will finish off Cardinal Stage’s Cardinal for Kids season, which aims to encourage compassion and tolerance of different people and to transform young lives by introducing them to live theatre.
A Year with Frog and Toad fits perfectly as a Cardinal for Kids show because it’s fast paced, high energy, and features iconic characters that audiences can instantly relate to.
“For someone to capture the feel of the books is amazing,” says Cardinal legend Mike Price. “It’s a great classic. It has so much humor and heart and is cleverly put together.”
Price was a member of the Cardinal Stage team that produced the first run of A Year with Frog and Toad in the 2006-2007 season. Due to its overwhelmingly positive reception, the play resurfaced in the 2009-2010 season, and is now hitting the stage once again.
The staff’s attachment to this project is a major part of the magic that translates to stage.
Randy White, artistic director and founder of Cardinal Stage, and Mike Price, associate artistic director and frequent actor, are both closing out their final season with the company, and A Year with Frog and Toad serves as a great point of reflection and celebration.
“It’s a chance to appreciate the work of Randy at his best,” Price says, “and these shows are what he is best at.”
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