Eugene Weekly : Bravo : 9.22.11


Fall Bravo! 2011
Eugene weekly’s guide to the performing arts

Incendiaries and Artistry
Latin-jazz fusion meets Eugene dance styles 

Reality Theater
Trial by Fire Theatreworks gets new digs in the Whit

Hop, Skip and Jump
A Year with Frog and Toad
coming to Cottage Theatre

Bravo! Calendar Listings


Hop, Skip and Jump
A Year with Frog and Toad coming to Cottage Theatre
By Brit McGinnis

In the age of iPhones, it’s easy to forget the joy that a stamped letter can bring. When water parks are readily available, swimming in a local lake fades away into memory. With air conditioning, the changing seasons grow less significant in a cultural sense.

A Year with Frog and Toad, the Tony-nominated musical to be put on this winter at Cottage Theatre, celebrates the common joys of life. Folks are proud of accomplishments like getting a kite up in the air. In this world, not much is actually needed to be happy. And that’s just fine.

The Frog and Toad cast is tiny, five people total. The title critters will be played by Tony Rust and Keith Kessler (Frog and Toad, respectively). Rust was last seen playing Che Guevara in the Cottage Theatre production of Evita. His many directing credits include A Midpuppet Night’s Dream, where Kessler made an onstage appearance as the voice and puppeteer for the fairy king Oberon.

But the linchpin holding together the animal-filled play might just be the multitaskers — the younger actors filling five roles apiece. The list includes Samantha White (last seen in Very Little Theatre’s Follies) and Melissa Miller, best known for playing the title role in Cottage Theatre’s Evita. Cody Mendonca, aka Lysander from A Midpuppet Night’s Dream, rounds out the cast. The three will play birds, squirrels and many other members of the swamp community.

The spritely show is directed by Janet Rust, and it features twenty short, delightful songs (one notable lyric: “This is a marvelous cookie!”). The score is jazzy and light, with pleasant melodies in the tradition of Singin’ In the Rain.

Although the musical is written for children, the characters face problems that adults can appreciate. Doesn’t everyone wonder if a friend is okay when she says she just wants some alone time? No doubt about it, this play should be entertaining for the kids both learning to read stories and their adult chaperones.

A Year With Frog And Toad runs Dec. 2-Dec. 18 at Cottage Theatre; $16-$21.