Monday, 29 November 2010

Toad Looks Funny in a Bathing Suit!

It's been a couple of weeks since I saw A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD, and I am still singing the darn, catchy tunes! Unlike annoying pop songs that infiltrate my head, I am quite happy to be singing lines like "toad looks funny in a bathing suit"! This adorable Broadway play has made its way to Toronto via the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. The musical stars Allen MacInnes, the Artistic Director of LKTYP, as "Frog" and Louise Pitre as "Toad". That's right, Louise Pitre, the Tony-nominated, Dora-winning actress from such plays as Mama Mia, Toxic Avenger the Musical, Annie Get Your Gun, and most recently Love, Loss and What I Wore.

The play explores the role of friendship in a simple, meaningful manner. We follow Frog and Toad for a year, beginning with their awakening from hibernation. We also meet their pals Turtle, Mole, and Snail. The appeal of this children's musical is that it will delight both children and adults. The playful antics of the characters, the sharing between Frog and Toad, and the theme of friendship are showcased by the wonderful music and lyrics of Robert and Willie Reale. I dare you to go see this play and not be singing "the snail with the mail". I triple dog dare you!

On a sad note, but in keeping with the play's theme of friendship, Allen MacInnes stepped into the role of "Frog" when his good friend Denis Simpson died suddenly during rehearsals. While it must be difficult for the cast to do the show without Denis, I am sure that they must be comforted by the fact that they are doing something in the name of friendship.

I am so grateful that there is a venue in this city for family plays and musicals. How lucky are we, that our city has an actual building devoted to children (and youth)! So often family theatre is presented in rental spaces (which I'm not knocking, by the way) but the fact that LKTYP exists, gives family theatre an importance and relevance that is vital to introducing young people to theatre, and in nurturing (as well as sustaining) a theatrical culture in Toronto.

Who was your best-est friend ever when you were a little kid? Go see A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD and remember the pleasant memories.

There is a Pay-What-You-Can performance on December 18th at 2:00pm. For all details about tickets and performance dates, please contact the Box Office at 416-862-2222 or on line at The play runs until Dec. 30th.

Photo (top): L-R: Cara Hunter, Louise Pitre, Kevin Dennis, Allen MacInnis, Jennifer Villaverde. Photo Credit: Daniel Alexander

Photo (middle): L-R: Allen MacInnis, Louise Pitre. Photo Credit: Daniel Alexander

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