A Year with Frog and Toad: Joyful kids musical returns

JOHANNESBURG, NOVEMBER 2023A Year with Frog and Toad, an enchanting children’s musical romp, returns to National Children’s Theatre (NCT) this month, ready to entertain young audiences with its cheerful animal characters, fun storyline and positive message.

The play is based on the award-winning Broadway musical, and takes a happy, interactive journey through the seasons, with a cheerful group of animal characters. The show returns by popular demand, after its run was cut short two years ago.

The story and lyrics are written by Willie Reale, and the music by Robert Reale, based on books by popular American children’s author Arnold Lobel. The South African production is directed by Ivor Jones, and is a fun, song-and-dance show suitable for children aged three and up.

A Year with Frog and Toad centres on two best friends – the outgoing and optimistic Frog, and the timid and cautious Toad – who go on a series of adventures over the course of a year. The show also features a fun, African-summer Christmas theme, in keeping with the holiday season.

The story begins in spring time. Frog and Toad awake from their hibernation with plans to renew their friendship – starting with a swim. But Toad is anxious about being seen in a bathing suit. Will they manage to have as much fun as they used to?

“Parents can be guaranteed their kids will have a fun, interactive morning, while learning about the value of love and friendship,” says Jones. “The show is geared to keeping the children’s attention throughout. We’ve made it as visual as possible, with short snappy dialogue, lots of song-and-dance and constant interaction. We’ve done it before, and we know the kids just love it!”

The play stars Ntshikey Matoane as Toad, and Leboto Moshoeshoe as Frog, with Rebaone Molatlhegi, Grade Pardey and René Sethlako playing the other roles. Christin Ludwig is musical director; set and costume design are by Sarah Roberts; and Siphesihle Fakude is stage manager.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing back A Year with Frog and Toad,” says NCT CEO Tamara Guhrs. “NCT did it two years ago, and it was a huge success. Unfortunately, the run was cut short due to Covid-19. Now we’re back by popular demand!”

The show was originally presented on Broadway by Bob Boyett, Adrianne Lobel, Michael Gardner, Laurence Horowtiz and Roy Furman, with its world premiere at the Chidlren’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis Minnesota. NCT presents the show by arrangement with DALRO.

A Year with Frog and Toad runs from 18 November 22 December, at the NCT Imagination Theatre at 3 Junction Avenue, Parktown. Cost is R130 per person, and school block bookings are welcome. Shows are at 10am and 2pm for the public, and at 9am and 11am for schools.