Monday, November 21, 2011


Let the Revels begin with delightful new SSC holiday production

You don't have know the "Frog and Toad" series of children's books by Arnold Lobel to fall in love with A Year With Frog and Toad, the new holiday production from Shakespeare Santa Cruz. In a fleet, satisfying (and very child-friendly) 70 minutes—sans intermission—this lively production keeps kids and adults rapt with jazzy songs, inventive design, good humor, and heart. They might as well tie a giant red ribbon around the UCSC Mainstage Theater, this production is such a big, happy holiday gift to the community.

Adapted from Lobel's books by brothers Robert Reale (music) and Willie Reale (book and lyrics), A Year With Frog and Toad received three Tony nominations on Broadway in 2003. Staging the SSC show is Art Manke, who directed last summer's rip-roaring Three Musketeers in the Festival Glen. Manke tailors the play to the intimacy of the Mainstage, and keeps the action moving briskly, abetted by a hard-working, nine-person acting company who will steal your heart.

But the show belongs to its stars. As Frog, Nick Gabriel has a lovely singing voice and a warm-hearted sense of fun, maintaining a perfectly froggy stance and gestures in every scene. As Toad, Mike Ryan delivers yet another endearing, uproarious comic performance that can make you weep on a dime. They are enormous fun to watch; round up a couple of kids and get your tickets right now. Why are you still sitting there? (Read more.)

(The SSC production, A Year With Frog and Toad plays through December 11 at the Mainstage Theater, UCSC. Click here for ticket info.)

(Above: Mike Ryan and Nick Gabriel. Photo by rr jones.)

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