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.)