Cardinal Stage will present “A Year with Frog and Toad” from Dec. 21 to Jan. 2 as their annual Family Holiday Musical.
After last year’s virtual “Home for the Holidays” cabaret, Cardinal returns to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater for this year’s holiday musical. The show will last about 90 minutes with a 15-minute intermission. Cardinal Artistic Director Kate Galvin directs the show.
Based on Arnold Lobel’s book franchise, “A Year with Frog and Toad” is a family holiday musical. The story takes the audience through the four seasons as Frog and Toad go on adventures together as best friends.
The role of Frog is played by Stephan Wilson and Toad is played by Connor Starks. Starks described Toad to be more anxious and hesitant while Frog is more carefree.
“It's so funny, heartwarming and a really good holiday show,” Wilson said. “These characters and their friendship are more than just friends. They are like family and everybody in the cast becomes that too.”
All patrons 12 years old or older must provide proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test. Seating in the theater will be socially distanced and masks will be required.
The cast rehearses six days a week with Mondays normally being their days off, Wilson said. They rehearse for about four hours on weekdays, eight hours on Saturdays and six hours on Sundays, Starks said.
“I always love the rehearsal process because you get to explore so much with the different characters and try things, then the director will give you their input, and then you try it again,” Wilson said. ‘Eventually you settle on something that's going to be best for the audience.”
With returning to live theater, Starks said his brain and body forgot how exhausting rehearsing and acting can be. He said while he is having a lot of fun, it can be physically and emotionally draining running around the stage and playing a role.
Starks said the best way to keep himself from burning out is to sleep, eat and give himself breaks when he needs it.
“For me, when I'm working, I'm working and when I'm not, I'm not,” Starks said. “I need to make sure that I give myself the space to just rest, recoup and re-energize.”
“A Year with Frog and Toad” is an important musical for Starks and Wilson. Starks said he was a huge fan of the books since his parents would read them to him growing up.
Wilson said he first saw this musical in high school in 2012 and has wanted to perform in it ever since. When he saw the casting call for Cardinal’s “A Year with Frog and Toad,” he auditioned and got the role.
Even though this show is branded as a kids musical, Starks said people of all ages will enjoy it. Starks said the stories have such creativity and sophistication that kids will love it, but adults will also find it charming.
“I'm very confident that we can give folks something that they haven't had in years,” Starks said. “Which is a fun night out for the whole family to see some singing and dancing and just have a good time.”
Tickets and showtimes are available on Cardinal Stage’s website. This season, Cardinal is offering tickets at a Pay What You Will rate so audiences can choose their own ticket prices.