Last night, we went to see a local high school presentation of "A Year with Frog and Toad."
This was inspired by our recent community theatre exposure.
It's odd to sit in an auditorium filled with people who are there primarily because they know someone in the show or are otherwise affiliated with the school and not be part of that circle. But it was also nice to not be distracted with having to be friendly or outgoing amongst a group of peers. I could completely focus on Teagan and the show.
Nice sized auditorium, nice sized stage. Not huge, not tiny. I'm used to tiny in community theatre. It's easy to forget that high schools usually have budgets and technology that the rest of us don't have. So consider this my endorsement for supporting your local high school's performing arts. While it may be a disaster... if there is a good program, there is almost always great talent and passion. So it's an economical way to see a show. And appreciate your tax dollars at work!
We had one person sitting in front of us, no one next to us, and were seated on an aisle. We did have 3 teen girls sit behind us who were mildly annoying with their ongoing commentary about the kids on stage and how great they are, how nice they are, how sweet they are. Better than if they'd been snickering and being cruel, though!
The show opens and she's hooked from the moment the lights come up. There are birds on stage. The girls are in color coded outfits- boas and tights and fluttery things. The boys are "Thunderbirds" (like from Grease). They sing about it being the end of winter and about Frog and Toad being friends and neighbors and about to wake up for spring. Frog sings about his dreams, Toad about his. And then we start into various scenes that are very familiar to anyone who has read the books.
Fantastic casting. Frog had mannerisms indicating his gangly limbs and no-nonsense ways. Toad was more laid back and quick to act on impulse. Both young men had fantastic voices that really lent to the characters. The show, like the books, is sweet and simple and very real to the ways of young children. This production held on to that innocence and to the focus on friendship nicely.
One of our favorite characters was Snail. Frog is very sad that Toad is sad because he never gets any mail. So Frog write Toad a letter and asks Snail to deliver it. We then have brief visits from Snail throughout the show as she works, at her speedy snail pace, to deliver the letter. This young woman had this character down pat and really brought her to life with a lot of humor. Plus her voice was spectacular!!
We enjoyed every aspect of the show- it was a very large cast and everyone seemed to really enjoy what they were doing. From the buzzing bees in their black and gold flapper dresses to the elegant flowers in the green evening gowns and flower brimmed hats to the red clad piles of leaves that dances about to the really cool underwater ballet done with neon fish and jellyfish and octopus in black light... it was all fun and colorful and truly magical.
And that's what matters. The magic. I wished I could have gone backstage before the show to speak to the cast. To tell them that my baby girl is out there watching and that this is the show that may well stick in her memory as The One that got her started in theatre. That they will be creating this fantastical imagined place that will be very real to her.
But I didn't need to say any of that. Because it happened. These kids are dedicated to this craft and their passion came through in shining colors and costumes and dancing and songs. As an actor, a director, an audience member... I couldn't have crafted a better show to really introduce my daughter to all that theatre can be. As Teagan put it...
Me: "What was your favorite part?"
"Who was your favorite character?"
"All of them!!"
"What was your favorite song?"
"All of them, too!"
Many thanks to the students of Cathedral High School. While this may have just been a spring production for you... it was the start of something big for a little blond girl in row P, seat 10.