Frog and Toad Are Friends

I’d like to sing a little ode
about my good friend Toad,
Toad with whom I frequently take tea.

He’s not so good at sports,
and of course he’s got those warts
but Toad has been a lovely friend to me.
We took the girls to “A Year with Frog and Toad” at the Atlantic on Saturday. It was so adorable—nearly as good as last year’s awesome “Really Rosie.” The Atlantic’s children’s theater is so great. First, it’s affordable ($50 for 4 tickets—that’s practically free in NYC terms). Then, the theater itself, an old brick church, is both grand and homey. It makes the matinee into an occasion. (Pics here.)

But the songs are so charming. The opening song of friendship is all charm: admitting that one’s friend has warts but “has been a lovely friend to me” captures many deep and important ideas about friendship all in one: flaws, “loveliness”—that gentle, important, grounding quality, and then “to me,” because friendship is ours and special: it doesn’t matter if you don’t get it, he’s been my friend.

My kindergartener was delighted that some of the episodes she knows from her I Can Read books were featured in the show.

And the song, later in the show, about the pleasure of eating cookies is totally exuberant and joyous: Like the happiest love song ever, but song to the pleasure of gorging on cookies!
Eating cookies
Eating cookies
We’re so happy eating cookies
Cookies cookies cookies we adore….
The children were rapt.

I was interested to see Mark Linn-Baker thanked in the program. I always loved that silly sitcom, “Perfect Strangers,” and I liked him in it. It made me happy to think of him as a working actor, supporting this little venture.

But this morning, downloading the soundtrack for the kids on iTunes, I see that he originated the role of Toad on Broadway (the baby’s hands-down favorite character; the big girl just loved it all). What’s more, his wife Adrianne is the daughter of Arnold Lobel, the author of the Frog and Toad books. So three cheers for Mark Linn-Baker! And three cheers for great children’s theater in Chelsea.

Their run was extended for 2 weeks: this coming weekend is the last: call quick to reserve your seat!

PHOTO: Ahron R. Foster from the Playbill site.