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Many thanks to my good friend Adam Crowe who stood in for me and has written this review for ASOTA. It’s so wonderful to have a knowledgeable member of the theatre community to count on when I cannot attend a show. Here is what Adam wrote:

More than any other time of year, December seems to be home to most of our favorite Traditions. For some of us, many of those favorite traditions take place on a Stage. And right at the top of my list of favorites is on display this month at Carmel’s Center For The Performing Arts’ Studio Theater, where the resident professional company – Actor’s Theater of Indiana (ATI) – reprises their annual production of A Year With Frog and Toad.

The show is an adaptation of a series of children’s books by Arnold Lobel about neighbors and friends Frog and Toad. As the title suggests, Lyricist Will Reale and Composer Robert Reale have arranged a series of the author’s stories, told over the span of a year’s time. Frog and Toad are best friends, and over the course of this “year”, we follow them through a series of adventures. Like all friendships, theirs is subject to highs and lows. But no matter the obstacle or misunderstanding, this is a friendship that will endure. Through simple storytelling, an ingenious set, and some beautiful melodies, A Year With Frog and Toad touches on themes of friendship, caring, trust and love – all especially resonant at this Season.

Bradley Reynolds is Toad and Don Farrell is Frog in ATI's "A Year With Frog and Toad"

Bradley Reynolds is Frog and Don Farrell is Toad in ATI’s “A Year With Frog and Toad”

Most of the story, not surprisingly, is told by Frog and Toad, and ATI pulls out their “A Team” to bring these two to life. New York City based (and Indianapolis raised) Bradley Reynolds is the droll Frog and ATI co-founder Don Farrell is a somewhat jumpy Toad. These two pros play these roles with perfect timing, humor and in beautiful voice. The actors bring the undeniable chemistry of their own friendship to their roles, and their amphibian friendship is hilarious and touching. Reynolds and Farrell are backed (as an assortment of woodland creatures ) by the superb trio of Kyra Kenyon, Tim Hunt and Shelby Putlack, who do quite a bit of storytelling themselves. Each one shines in multiple roles, with Hunt an audience favorite as a Snail who discovers his true calling in life! Led by Brent Marty, the live Orchestra is as lively and strong as the onstage cast, and Judy Fitzgerald’s direction and Cynthia Collins’ choreography are both pitch perfect.

(From left) Kyra Kenyon, Tim Hunt and Shelby Putlack provide multiple characters for ATI's "A Year With Frog and Toad"

(From left) Kyra Kenyon, Tim Hunt and Shelby Putlack provide multiple characters for ATI’s “A Year With Frog and Toad”

Full disclosure – I must mention the fact that I worked backstage with ATI on A Year With Frog and Toad in 2013. That was the year that Frog and Toad gained a spot on my Traditions List. Fortunately, this production needs no special “push” from me. It stands on its own (AGAIN) as a delightful show for kids AND adults. My friend Kathy had no idea about the show before attending Opening Night with me. I am happy to report that she proclaimed the show delightful – and it may even be a “new” tradition for her Holidays. I strongly suggest you grab some kids and/or grandkids and drop in to share the fun!!

A Year With Frog and Toad continues its run through December 27th . This is a short run, and I would urge you to get your tickets soon. You can find out more about the performance schedule and reserve tickets by calling the Box Office at (317) 843-3800, or by going to the website at http://www.atistage.org.

 

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