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Kensington Arts Theatre 2nd Stage A Year with Frog and Toad

By • Sep 12th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
A Year with Frog and Toad
Kensington Arts Theatre 2nd Stage
Gaithersburg Arts Barn, Gaithersburg, MD
Through September 25th
75 minutes
$18/$16 City of Gaithersburg Residents/$9 Children
Reviewed September 10th, 2011

A Year with Frog and Toad (music by Robert Reale, book and lyrics by Willie Reale, based on the books by Arnold Lobel) follows the woodland adventures of two amphibious friends, a worrywart toad and a perky frog, with their assorted colorful hopping, crawling and flying companions, over the course of a year.

Kensington Arts Theatre 2nd Stage’s production of A Year with Frog and Toad was a lively show that children and parents will enjoy. With a running time of 75 minutes, it was long enough to hold the attention of the children in attendance, yet not long enough to let the kids get fidgety.

Best pals Frog (Ryan Burke) and Toad (Gabriel T. Potter) share their adventures with other critters in the forest, played capably by Jenny Abraham, Justine Lore, Carl Williams and David “DJ” Wojciehowski. Burke and Potter’s relationship reminded me of other famous friends, like the Skipper and Gilligan, or Abbott and Costello. They were very different “people” but they genuinely liked and supported each other. “Getta Load of Toad” showed this friendship with Frog desperately trying to help Toad out of an embarassing situation, while “He’ll Never Know” was a silly number with each doing a favor for the other.

Director Darnell Morris has created a colorful set of platforms (serving as beds, docks, and lily pads) combined with set pieces and props scaled to the appropriate size for a frog and toad (check out the detail of the bottle cap frying pan and the wrist watch wall clock). Eleanor Dicks’ costumes were simple and although a few weren’t quite obvious what animal they were presenting, most were charming, with Snail and Turtle especially nice. For several songs, the music was too loud, making it hard to hear all the singing of the critters. Gabriel T. Potter as Toad was especially hard to hear, while David Wojciehowski as the snail mailman stumbled through the beginning of his very quick-paced songs. Ben Levine’s lights worked well, but a few scenes occurred with obscured performers because the actors missed their marks and stood slightly outside the focus of the lights.

Whether your family is a fan of Arnold Lobel’s stories or not, Kensington Arts Theatre 2nd Stage’s production of A Year with Frog and Toad will be a treat.

Cast

  • Frog: Ryan Burke
  • Toad: Gabriel T. Potter
  • Ensemble (Bird, Mouse, Young Frog, Mole): Jenny Abraham
  • Ensemble (Bird, Turtle, Mother Frog, Mole): Justine Lore
  • Ensemble (Bird, Lizard, Father Frog, Mole): Carl Williams
  • Ensemble (Bird, Lizard, Snail, Large and Terrible Frog): David “DJ” Wojciehowski
  • Swing: Doe B. Kim

Crew

  • Director/Choreographer: Darnell Morris
  • Music Director: Mayumi Baker
  • Costume Design: Eleanor Dicks
  • Light Design: Ben Lvine
  • Set Design: Darnell Morris
  • Master Carpenter: Doe Kim

Disclaimer: Kensington Arts Theatre 2nd Stage provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has performed in local productions, but prefers to be behind the scenes. Mike earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the Online News Association.

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