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January 17, 2006 > Last chance to see 'A Year With Frog and Toad'

Last chance to see 'A Year With Frog and Toad'

by Claire Mendonca

This weekend is your last chance to see Star Struck Musical Theatre's "A Year With Frog and Toad," a wonderful production based upon Arnold Lobel's Newbery and Caldecott Honor books. This musical is lovingly adapted with tuneful music by Robert Reale to a charming book and lyrics by his brother, Willie Reale creating a character-driven series of vignettes spanning four seasons with Frog and Toad.

Lori Stokes, Star Struck's director, used the beloved stories to create a magical world that entertains children and adult audiences. The musical weaves together many Frog and Toad stories such as Spring, The Garden, Cookies, A Swim and The Letter. Evan Boomer plays the gentle Frog and Jordan Aragon, fidgety Toad. Both are fine actors and singers with great rapport onstage.

A highlight is Boomer's beautiful rendition of a stirring ode to life and friendship called "Alone." Jordan's wonderful voice and dramatic dancing is spellbinding as Toad leaps and turns. Choreographed by the incomparable Jeanne Batacan-Harper, Toad enchanted the audience. James Jones' mirthful rendition of the Snail leaves the audience laughing as Frog tasks Snail with delivering a letter to Toad. Snail describes the speedy turnaround he will receive, yet in scene after scene, we await snail mail arrival at Toad's mailbox. The Birds, Juliane Godfrey, Hannah Young and Daniel Schonhaut are strong in their singing, dancing and character work. Stokes directs a strong ensemble production with her troupe of 40 performers, all under the age of 18.

The technical aspects of the show were topnotch. Costume designer, Marlene Borlaug, legendary for her clever designs and creative and colorful hand made costumes, really shows what she can do in this production. The hats and costumes of 1920s vaudevillian design, is reminiscent of Lobel's illustrations in his books. Renowned scenic design artist, Stephen C. Wathen, created lovely rustic backdrops for the show and is offset by the colorful lighting design of Christopher Booras. Nancy Godfrey heads up a bouncy seven-piece band playing the jazzy 1930s style music. A true heart-warmer; not to be missed!

A Year With Frog and Toad
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2:00 p.m. (Sign language interpreted)
Saturday, Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 22, 2:00 p.m.
Ohlone College Jackson Theatre
43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont
(510) 659-6031

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