“I am happy. I am very happy. This morning when I woke up I felt good because the sun was shining. I felt good because I was a frog. And I felt good because I have you for a friend.”Frog – Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
Disclosure: Thank you to Bay Area Children Theatre for sponsoring this post! Read my full disclosure here.
Arnold Lobel’s beloved characters, Frog and Toad, are back on stage at Bay Area Children’s Theatre! Based on Lobel’s classic children’s books, A Year with Frog and Toad is a Tony Award winning musical that follows the two best friends through some of their most memorable and heartwarming stories. Written by Willie Reale with music by Robert Reale, the story takes place over a year; beginning in the spring season, then moving through summer, fall, and winter. It ends with a sweet Christmas-Eve scene where the two friends are cozy and happy.
The Berkeley Stage
Attending a show at Bay Area Children’s Theatre (BACT) never disappoints. Their performance space at the 2055 Center Street Theatre is magical and immersive, while remaining completely developmentally appropriate. Because the show is intended for young children, Court Watson, the scenic designer, successfully created a theatre space that was believable while also being approachable without feeling overwhelming, overstimulating, or too intense.
Kids can play and interact on stage, which is at floor level, if you get there early. Little ones will immediately become captivated by the show’s world. The set floor is painted to resemble a forest scene with a snowy river flowing through it. At the performance we saw, kids started pretending to ice skate on the river within minutes.
The creative team did a wonderful job of using props and set pieces thoughtfully. On stage, an oven with a light inside can be seen at one point, and on Christmas Eve, there is a glowing “fire” in the fireplace. During the Fall, leaves fall from the sky. On Christmas Eve, it actually snows!
The show focuses on a cheerful Frog and his best friend, a reserved but charming Toad. It starts in Spring, when the two friends come out of hibernation, and carries through to the following hibernation season of winter.
Directed by Anthony Jackson and starring Alexandra Rivers as Frog and Julien Gussman as Toad, the friends face such trials as Toad feeling embarrassed of how he looks in his bathing suit, Frog mailing Toad a letter via literal “snail-mail,” and Toad waiting and waiting for his seeds in his garden to grow!
Perhaps one of the most memorable numbers was a song called “Cookies,” where Frog and Toad have no will-power over eating a big batch of freshly baked cookies. It ends in a big musical number with their woodland animal friends. Immediately after the number, there is a 10 minute intermission where the audience can purchase cookies to enjoy in the lobby! (Note that cookies and concessions are only available at the Berkeley performances.)
What to Expect
Performance runs 65 minutes with an additional 10 minute intermission. For children who may need (or want) a little more information, BACT has provided a show story with details about what to expect.
When you arrive, BACT has specific COVID-19 safety measures in place. Masks are required as well as proof of vaccination or proof of recent negative test. Read the COVID check-in policy here.
The seating is Theatre-in-the-round on tiered benches. BACT provides seat cushions to those who need them. There are also special lily pads on the floor level around the stage for kids to sit on!
BACT has partnered with local ice cream sandwich parlor, It’s-It, to sell Chips-It ice cream sandwiches to those who pre-ordered them with their tickets for the Berkeley shows (not available at the San Francisco performances.) If you’ve preordered, you can pick up your ice cream sandwich at intermission.
About Bay Area Children’s Theatre
Bay Area Children’s Theatre is an inspiring non-profit organization. They do such a fabulous job of creating opportunities for kids to experience live theatre. BACT is thoughtful in everything they do, making the shows they produce age and developmentally appropriate.
In addition to their regular programs, BACT’s community outreach program supplies live theatre to schools and educators. BACT’s mission is to introduce children of all backgrounds to the adventure of theatre and to make sure that every child has access to arts education.
You can learn more and donate by visiting their website.
The tickets for the Berkeley shows are completely sold out, but tickets are still available for the San Francisco events! Buy Tickets by visiting https://bactheatre.org/tickets-events/frog-and-toad/.
- Now Playing: A Year With Frog and Toad at Bay Area Children’s Theatre
- Review: Patricia De Fonte’s Estate Planning Fundamentals for Parents Workshop
- September Events Calendar
- Unbeatable Stay in Fisherman’s Wharf: Kimpton Alton Review
- Review: Elephant And Piggie Are In A Play (And Your Kids Will Love It!)