North Central College - Naperville, IL

"A Year With Frog and Toad" musical features community actors

Print Email Share

North Central College's Summer Music Theatre presents the family musical "A Year With Frog and Toad" July 16-25, featuring 110 actors from the community.

Nominated for three Tony Awards in 2003--for Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book of Musical--"A Year With Frog and Toad" is a whimsical story that follows an unlikely friendship between a cheerful and popular Frog and a rather grumpy Toad through four fun-filled seasons of one year. Waking from hibernation in the spring, they plant gardens, swim, rake leaves and go sledding. They also learn important life lessons along the way, including one about friendship and rejoicing in the qualities that make each of us different and special.

Six performances will be staged at 7:30 p.m. July 16, 17, 23 and 24 and at 2 p.m. July 18 and 25 in Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. Tickets are $15/adults and $10/students and senior citizens; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

Based on the "Frog and Toad" children's stories written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel, the play was conceived by Lobel's daughter, Adrianne Lobel and a veteran stage designer. The production's lyrics are by Willie Reale and music by Robert Reale.

Director Susan Craig-Olsen of Naperville says, "Although the production is very child friendly, the themes of friendship, conquering obstacles and breaking out of shells are mature enough to resonate for all ages. In fact, adults might laugh harder at the clever lyrics and be touched deeper by its poignancy."

About its many actors, Olsen says, "The play is usually performed by five adults playing all the different roles, but it was easy for us to use all our local talent for all the roles. Megan Melinkoff, age 8, plays Mouse. She is small, but has a voice to fill Pfeiffer Hall and more! Stuart Vance, a kindergarten teacher in Naperville, plays Frog and, well, there are many more to come see and hear."

Principal actors in "A Year With Frog and Toad" are:
Part: Actor, town
Frog: Stuart Vance of Naperville
Toad: Mike Mitchell of Aurora
Snail: Melanie Frewen, age 13, of Downers Grove
Turtle: Alex Oechsel, age 14, of Naperville
Narrator, Bird and Dancer: Brett Bush, age 17, of Clarendon Hills
Mouse: Megan Melinkoff, age 8, of Naperville
Lizard: Liam Byrnes, age 13, of Naperville
Father Frog: Andy Smelser, age 17, of Naperville
Mother Frog and Dancer: Claire Zajdel, age 17, of Naperville
Young Frog: Derek Rippe, age 12, of Naperville
Terrible Frog: Dennis Ortman, age 14, of Woodridge

Other actors include five Featured Birds, six Christmas Birds, six Moles, six Squirrels, 11 Dancers, four Cookie Birds, and many are double cast in the Bird Chorus.

The show is the first of three musicals this summer at North Central College. "H.M.S. Pinafore," directed by Matt Boresi, will be staged July 29-31 and Aug. 1; and "The Producers," directed by Brian Lynch, will run Aug. 6-8 and 13-15.

This summer production is one of many ongoing programs hosted at North Central College to enrich and broaden the academic and cultural outlook for the College and community. For a comprehensive schedule of North Central's new 2010-2011 fine and performing arts season, art exhibits, lectures and other musical and theatrical productions, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).