LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — A beloved classic of children’s literature has come to life at Riverwalk Theatre in Lansing.
“Frog and Toad,” a series of four books written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel, tells the story of two best frog friends that go on adventures in a wooded marsh populated by other talking animals.
The endearing books have been favored by many parents since 1970 thanks to their ability to impart the value of friendship to children through Lobel’s simple writing and charming artwork.
Now, kids and parents can enjoy the “Frog and Toad” stories as they come to life on the stage at Riverwalk Theatre.
“A Year with Frog and Toad” is a whimsical musical that covers the antics of the cheery Frog and curmudgeonly Toad, played by brother actors Connor and Quinn Kelly, over the course of four seasons after they awake from hibernation.
It debuted on Dec. 8 and has additional showtimes this week on Dec. 15-18.
A special performance to support the Reading is Fundamental group, which includes an opportunity for children to meet a South American red-footed tortoise from Preuss Pets, is being held at Riverwalk Theatre on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m. The kids in attendance will also receive a free book.
You can buy tickets and see the full schedule of showtimes for “A Year with Frog and Toad” by visiting riverwalktheatre.com.
Director Tom Ferris is a stalwart of Riverwalk, volunteering with the community theater organization since it was founded in 1989. He taught high school theater and language arts classes in the Lansing School District for 17 years.
Ferris submitted the proposal for “A Year with Frog and Toad” in 2021 after spending several years kicking the idea around. His wife insisted the production was perfect for him and Ferris found the script to be “delightful.”
“Having been a teacher, I like to work with young people. I also like to produce plays for young people. The books are so wonderful, so many adults have grown up reading them and now read them to their children and grandchildren,” Ferris said.
Though “Frog and Toad” is obviously a children’s book, this production can be enjoyed by all age groups.
“There are different levels of understanding in this show. Some of it’s going to be understood more by the parents than the kids, and some of it’s going to be enjoyed more by the kids. It’s a family show,” Ferris said.
If you’ve never seen a live theater event, Ferris urges you to give it a try.
He said he fell in love with theater from a young age, thanks to the unique, powerful energy of attending a live performance that cannot be replicated by just watching a movie.
“TV and movies have a certain element to them. But they’re what Marshall McLuhan called a ‘cold medium.’ Here, they’re actually real and right there in front of you. Especially in our space, which is so close to the stage,” Ferris said. “There’s nothing like coming to a life performance and seeing a play. You’ll have a lot of fun.”