A Year With Frog and Toad Begins Bway Performances April 2; Opens April 13

News   A Year With Frog and Toad Begins Bway Performances April 2; Opens April 13 The family-friendly musical, A Year With Frog and Toad, will make the leap to Broadway's Cort Theater April 2, in an unusual eight-show week in which three days are dark and Saturdays offer three performances.
Mark Linn-Baker, Jay Goede
Mark Linn-Baker, Jay Goede

The musical based on characters created by the late children's author-illustrator, Arnold Lobel, first appeared in August 2002 at The Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis and played a three-week, sold-out run at 42nd Street's New Victory Theatre in fall 2002. Reviews in the Midwest and Manhattan embraced the 90-minute, five-actor show, which featured Mark Linn-Baker as Toad and Jay Goede as Frog (they'll repeat their amphibious duties at the Cort, opening April 13).

Bob Boyett and Lobel's daughter, Adrianne Lobel, produce the show, which has a top price of $90.

David Petrarca directs and Daniel Pelzig choreographs the show, conceived by Adrianne Lobel with music by Robert Reale and book and lyrics by Willie Reale (the brothers are known for their Off-Broadway musical, Once Around the City).

The show is billed this way: "Tried and true friends Frog and Toad navigate through an adventure-filled year, joined by some colorful companions along the way. Set to a jazzy score, this charming musical lovingly captures the spirit of Lobel's whimsical stories as this unlikely friendship blossoms and grows."

The cast includes Danielle Ferland (Little Red of the original Into the Woods) and Frank Vlastnik Sweet Smell of Success), in multiple roles. A fifth actor has yet to be named. Designers are Adrianne Lobel (set), Martin Pakledinaz (costumes), James F. Ingalls (lighting), Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (sound). Orchestrations are by Irwin Fisch.

The producers were able to arrange an unusual playing schedule for the 90-minute show, which is expected to attract family audiences: Mondays, Tuesday and Thursdays are dark, and performances play 2 PM and 7 PM Wednesday; 7 PM Friday; noon, 3:30 PM and 7 PM Saturday; 1 PM and 5 PM Sunday.

The Cort is at 138 W. 48th Street. Tickets range $25-$90 and can be purchased by phone at (212) 239-6200, or in person at the Cort Theater box office, beginning March 17.

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Director Petrarca has been resident director at The Goodman Theatre Company since 1988, where his credits include dozens of productions and recently, the musical The House of Martin Guerre. He helmed Marvin's Room, which ran Off-Broadway (Outer Critics Circle nomination), at Hampstead Theatre (London Fringe Award nomination) and in London's West End. Additional directing credits are the Off-Broadway musical Dinah Was and the world premiere of Fuddy Meers at Manhattan Theatre Club. He will direct a future musical version of Tales of the City.

Producer-set designer Adrianne Lobel has designed the sets for Broadway's Passion, The Diary of Anne Frank, On The Town and My One and Only.

Producer Bob Boyett's Broadway credits include Dance of the Vampires, Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (Tony Award for Best Play), Suzan Lori Parks' Topdog/Underdog (Pulitzer Prize winner), Hedda Gabler with Kate Burton, Sweet Smell of Success, The Crucible with Liam Neeson, The Elephant Man with Billy Crudup, One Mo' Time and Fortune's Fool. Boyett was represented in London by the David Mamet play, Boston Marriage and Kenneth Lonergan's Lobby Hero.

Mark Linn-Baker (Toad) is a producing director of New York Stage and Film. His Broadway credits include A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Face Value and Doonesbury. For many, he is best known as Larry Appleton of TV's "Perfect Strangers."

Jay Goede (Frog) has appeared on Broadway in Sex and Longing, Angels in America and The Play's the Thing. His Off-Broadway credits include A Letter from Ethel Kennedy, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told and Gross Indecency. Other theatre credits include the national tour of Cabaret and the New York Shakespeare Festival.

Danielle Ferland (Bird/Mother Frog/Turtle/Squirrel/Mole) was seen on Broadway in Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, A Little Hotel on the Side and The Crucible.

Frank Vlastnik (Bird/Father Frog/Snail/Lizard/Mole) has Broadway credits that include Sweet Smell of Success and Big. He has appeared in several Off-Broadway productions including Stephen Sondheim's Saturday Night.