A Year With

        (Seattle, WA)- Seattle Children's Theatre (SCT) and Childsplay - Arizona's premier children's theatre-will co-produce the Tony-nominated Broadway hit A Year With Frog and Toad March 18 through June 5 at SCT.  This acclaimed musical, based on the beloved, award-winning children's books by Arnold Lobel, is the story of two best friends - a frog and a toad - who spend four fun-filled seasons having one adventure after another. 
        A Year With Frog and Toad premiered in 2002 at The Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis and went on to a successful run on Broadway, where it earned three Tony Award nominations for Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical in 2003.  The play features a comedic score by Robert Reale and book and lyrics by Willie Reale.
        Public performances of A Year With Frog and Toad run Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 and 5:30 p.m. in SCT's Charlotte Martin Theatre, located at 201 Thomas Street at Seattle Center.  Tickets range in price from $14 to $28 and may be purchased by calling the SCT Ticket Office at (206) 441-3322 or by visiting the website at  A Year With Frog and Toad is recommended for ages four and older.  
        An ode to friendship, A Year With Frog and Toad chronicles the escapades of two amphibian friends with distinctly different personalities - Frog is grounded and Toad is a worrywart.  Together they experience some of life's joys: planting a garden in the spring, making cookies and swimming in the summer, flying kites in the fall and sledding in the winter. 
        "This story is ultimately a celebration of friendship and those 'little things' friends share that add up to so very much more," said David Saar, artistic director of Childsplay and director of the co-production.  The play had a four-week run in Phoenix and a one-week run in Tucson prior to coming to SCT.    
        In the Broadway review from The New York Times, critic Ben Brantley claims there is much to extol in Frog and Toad:  "Robert Reale's score, which goes from jazz-age jauntiness to step-along cowboy tunes, is eminently hummable.  The book and lyrics by Willie Reale, which concern themselves with things like eating cookies and making reluctant kites fly, are witty without talking down to younger audience members or winking at older ones." 
        Arnold Lobel had been writing and illustrating books for children since 1962, but in 1970, the editors at Harper Row convinced him to try an early reader, and Frog and Toad Are Friends was born.  This was just the beginning of a long list of early readers written and illustrated by Lobel.  His endearing Frog and Toad books received many awards, including Newbery and Caldecott Honors.  Lobel died in 1987.     
        The Reale brothers have collaborated on many projects.  Robert Reale, an award-winning composer, writes music for television (20/20, Inside Edition), plays and film and is also a record producer.  Willie Reale founded the 52nd Street Project in New York City, a theatre program for inner-city children, and served as its artistic director for 18 years.  He produced many plays with the Project and has written scripts for regional theatres and television.    
        Spring has finally sprung and with it Frog and Toad wake from their winter-long hibernation.  Once out in the world again Toad decides to plant a garden, despite the hard work it entails.  Even with the happiness he gets from his flowers, Toad is very sad because he never receives any mail.  Hearing his friend's tale of woe, Frog secretly writes Toad a letter.  Waiting in the hot summer sun for the mail to come is no fun, so they decide to go for a swim.
        As summer wanes, Frog, filled with contentment, goes to an island to be alone and think about his happy life and wonderful friend.  But Toad is insecure and follows Frog to make sure that their friendship is still intact.  Reassured that all is well, Toad bakes some delicious cookies.  In fact, they are so delicious that neither Frog nor Toad can stop eating them!  They try to devise a stop-eating-cookies plan-but who can resist cookies?
    With fall upon them, the pair spends some time flying kites; with Frog's help, Toad finally gets his kite in the air.  When winter arrives, before they head back to hibernating, the pair has another adventure-fun for Frog and terrifying for Toad-sledding!  Once Toad is safely off the sled, he is so angry with Frog he says he'll never speak to him again.  Then, a snail arrives with Frog's letter, melting Toad's anger.  On Christmas Eve Toad is very worried when Frog is late, but it turns out Frog was delayed by wrapping Toad's present.  It's been another wonderful and eventful year for these best friends, but it is back to hibernating until spring and another year of adventure.

        The cast for A Year With Frog and Toad includes Childsplay company members D. Scott Withers as Frog, Jon Gentry as Toad and Katie McFadzen as Bird; and Seattle actors Auston James as Bird/Snail and Leslie Law as Bird.  Michael A. Harding and Alyssa Keene are the understudies.  
        The production features choreography by Michael Barnard, music direction by Alan Ruch, scenic design by Edie Whitsett, costume design by Karen A. Ledger, lighting design by Rick Paulsen, projection design by Jeffrey T. Miller and Michael K. Hase, and sound design by Chris Walker

        A limited amount of $10 rush tickets will be available Friday nights at the ticket office, located at 201 Thomas Street in Seattle. There will be an American Sign Language interpreted performance of A Year With Frog and Toad for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons on Saturday, April 30, at 2 p.m.  For more information, call (206) 441-3322, voice, or (206) 443-6938, TTY. 
        A Year With Frog and Toad is presented by special arrangement with Adrianne Lobel and Bob Boyett.  Seattle Children's Theatre would like to thank season sponsor Microsoft, season education sponsor Washington Mutual, and show sponsors HomeStreet Bank, Wizards of the Coast, Davis Wright Tremaine, and show education sponsor Bureau of Education & Research. 
        Now celebrating its 30th Anniversary Season, Seattle Children's Theatre performs September through June in the Charlotte Martin and Eve Alvord Theatres at Seattle Center.  The second largest children's theatre in the nation, SCT is a leading producer of theatre, education programs and new scripts for young people.  Since its inception, Seattle Children's Theatre has presented 167 plays, 83 of which have been world premieres, and entertained over 4 million children.


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