A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD - Press Release

14 November 2014

PRESS CONTACT: CYNTHIA FLEMING | 801.363.7522 |

November 12, 2014
For Immediate Release

Salt Lake Acting Company Celebrates the Holiday Season With Its 6th Annual Children's Musical:
A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD
Book and Lyrics by Willie Reale
Music by Robert Reale
Based on the Books by Arnold Lobel

Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC) is gearing up for the most wonderful time of the year. From December 5 through December 27, 2014, the SLAC lobby will be decked with artwork from the students of Washington Elementary and filled with the pitter-patter of little feet shuffling to their seats for the magical musical, A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD. This marks SLAC's sixth year producing professional plays for children (of all ages), and of partnering with local schools and organizations that serve the needs of children in our community.

Based on the celebrated books by Arnold Lobel, the musical version of A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD is written by brothers Willie Reale (book and lyrics) and Robert Reale (music). The musical follows the woodland adventures of two amphibious friends – a worrywart toad and a perky frog – with their assorted colorful hopping, crawling and flying companions over the course of a year.

Director Penelope Caywood is a children's theatre aficionado having worked as Artistic Director for Youth Theatre at the U for the past eight years as well as directing five of SLAC's six children's plays. With so much experience under her belt, it's really saying something that A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD is one of her very favorite children's shows.

"If you like musical theatre, then this is the show to bring a child to," Caywood says. "The story is gentle and modest but the music is lively and sophisticated and definitely parent-proof. Being a parent, I think that the most successful children's entertainment is also enjoyed by adults. This is truly one of my favorite shows of all-time. My daughter and I have listened and sung along with the Broadway recording in the car since she was two and it hasn't lost its luster. It's a lovely story about two good friends wrapped in a great score."

One of the most rewarding aspects of producing children's theatre for Salt Lake Acting Company is its Title 1 Matinee program, which allows over 1,400 underprivileged schoolchildren to experience the magic of live theatre at no cost to them or their schools. With arts education receiving less and less attention and funding, this program plays a vital role in providing a more well-rounded education to Utah students. Every children's play that SLAC produces is based on a literary work. SLAC creates a study guide to accompany each play and distributes it to every class that attends the Title 1 Matinee program. The guide includes learning activities to be completed before and after the children see the play, reinforcing the connection between literacy and the arts. Kristin Berez, a kindergarten teacher at Riley Elementary (a Title 1 school) said of SLAC's Title 1 Matinee program, "With budget cutbacks in schools, the arts program is limited, especially for Kindergarten. This exposure activates their right brains to restore balance to their education."

SLAC's 2014 Title 1 Matinee program will serve the following Utah Title 1 schools:

Bennion Elementary
Franklin Elementary
James E. Moss Elementary
Lincoln Elementary
Newman Elementary
North Star Elementary
Parkview Elementary
Pioneer Elementary
South Kearns Elementary
Washington Elementary
Whittier Elementary
Woodrow Wilson Elementary

Also during this time of year, SLAC bolsters its commitment to enrich and engage community by partnering with several local organizations. SLAC has developed a special relationship with Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA), a non-profit organization that brings animal resources to human needs in the areas of physical, occupational, speech, and psychotherapies, as well as special education. ITA launched its R.E.A.D. program in 1999 – the first comprehensive literacy program built around the appealing idea of reading to dogs. During the run of A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD, SLAC will host volunteers from ITA along with their furry friends in the lobby to raise awareness and money for the organization.

SLAC will be collecting donations for neighboring school Washington Elementary. With the students' specific needs in mind, SLAC asks that audience members who would like to make a donation bring chapstick, small bottles of lotion, band-aids, belts, shoe laces, and sweatpants for students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

SLAC is also partnering with Voices for Utah Children, a multi-issue child advocacy organization that works to make Utah a place where all children thrive. They will be joining SLAC for a special performance of A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD.

In addition to regular performances at Salt Lake Acting Company, the cast will make special appearances at local schools, bookstores, and libraries throughout November and December. [See schedule below.]

Saturday, November 29 at 11:00 am – The King's English Bookshop | 1511 S. 1500 E, SLC
Tuesday, December 2 at 5:00 pm – Sprague Library | 2131 Highland Drive, SLC
Tuesday, December 9 at 12:00 pm – South Jordan Library | 10673 S. Redwood Rd, South Jordan
Wednesday, December 10 at 4:00 pm – Sandy Library | 10100 Petunia Way, Sandy

SLAC is thrilled to welcome the holiday season and with it, the magic of children's theatre. A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD is sure to delight audiences of all ages.

WHO'S WHO

WRITERS


Willie Reale (Book and Lyrics) With his composer/brother, Robert Reale: A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD, Childrens' Theater Company in Minneapolis, New Victory Theatre, and Cort Theater on Broadway (two Tony nominations for book and lyrics); ONCE AROUND THE CITY, New York Stage and Film and Second Stage Theatre in New York; Quark Victory, Williamstown Theatre Festival; and THE DINOSAUR MUSICAL, The Arden in Philadelphia. Founder and Artistic Director for 18 years of The 52nd Street Project, an organization that brings inner-city children together with professional theater artists to create theater. For the Project, he has written dozens of plays, the lyrics to hundreds of songs and "52 Pick Up," the Project's how-to manual. The programs of The 52nd Street Project are currently being replicated at many sites across the country and Europe. In 1994, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of his ingenuity in creating theater and theater education programs for young people. Television credits: "Damages," "Homicide: Life on the Streets," "Deadline," "Mr. Sterling," "Keen Eddie," "The Jury," and "Tilt." He created a series called "Out There" for Sesame Workshop and the BBC shot in Australia (Australian Film Institute Award, Prix Jeunesse, and Writers' Guild of America nominations). He served as head writer and Co-Executive Producer on the team that reinvented "The Electric Company," now airing on PBS. Film work: Dreamgirls (lyrics to the song "Patience," Oscar nomination).

Robert Reale (Music) Shortly after graduating music school and several years touring in jazz and rock bands, Rob moved to New York in the mid-80's where he responded to a demand for authentic, hi-end music for film and television and founded the production music library, 8118 Music. He gigged in clubs and pits off-Broadway and also began collaborating with his brother Willie creating musical theater. They are a winning combination: Rob provides the music, Willie, the words. They had several Off-Broadway successes before their production, A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD brought them to Broadway and garnered Rob a Tony nomination for Best Original Score Music.

DIRECTOR


Penny Caywood returns to direct her fifth children's production at SLAC. Penny started acting at the age of five. Her first role was the Shy Princess in THE KING AND I, she still has the costume to prove it. Her career started early, but her talents were not limited to the stage. She traveled across the country with a youth singing group—The LaMarca American Variety Singers. She sang on children's records, attended math school in Japan, took jazz and tap, played the flute and participated in speech contests. When she was 19, Penny was involved in the creation of a youth theatre company in Palos Verdes, CA called Curtains Up! Locally Penny is best known for her work with the University of Utah's Youth Theatre where she has been the director for the past seven years. She has directed every U Youth Theatre production and is responsible for educational and outreach programming too. Penny has directed at Rogers Memorial Theatre and SLAC.

MUSIC DIRECTOR


Darrin Doman is Double D-lighted to be returning to SLAC to work on A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD. Darrin served as Musical Director for SLAC's productions of CLICK CLACK MOO: COWS THAT TYPE and HOW I BECAME A PIRATE. Darrin made his Salt Lake Acting Company debut as Ben in SATURDAY'S VOYEUR 2005. Other SLAC stage credits include Dick Fig in THE EXIT INTERVIEW, Alan Raleigh in GOD OF CARNAGE and Charlotte von Mahlsdorf (understudy) in I AM MY OWN WIFE as well as appearances in SLAC's New Play Sounding Series—Reader, (a man enters); Dad, TRENCH COAT IN COMMON; Bart, THE THUGS; Mike, 14 and Reader, MAMMOTH. Additionally, he has particularly fond memories of playing Cosme McMoon in SOUVENIR for Utah Contemporary Theatre where he had the chance to act, sing and play the piano all in the same production. He works full-time at the University of Utah Hospital and recently completed a quest to see the 7 New Wonders of the World. Darrin is currently open to suggestions for future travel plans. Many thanks to the production staff, crew and cast for their hard work.

CAST


Jenessa Bowen (Mouse) is back for her fourth production at SLAC! She was last seen as Gayle God-zicka & Dead Docent in SATURDAYS VOYEUR 2014, "Thing 2" in THE CAT IN THE HAT last December, and Sister Docent in SATURDAYS VOYEUR 2013. More past credits include; Ruby in SHELTER (Off-Broadway debut), Little Red in INTO THE WOODS (Centerpoint Legacy), Natalie in NEXT TO NORMAL (Ziegfeld Theatre), Adelaide in GUYS AND DOLLS (Ziegfeld), Annabel Glick in LUCKY STIFF (WSU, Irene Ryan nominee & semi-finalist for Irene Ryan competition in LA), Sara in PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (WSU, Irene Ryan nominee) Jolene in DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (Ziegfeld), Peggy Swift in FATHER OF THE BRIDE (Hale Centre Theatre), Erin in RING OF FIRE (Dark Horse Theatre Co.), Nehebka in AIDA (Rodgers Memorial), Mary Lennox in THE SECRET GARDEN (Rodgers), Anybodys in WEST SIDE STORY (Rodgers), Adele in JANE EYRE (HCT), Lulu in NUPTIALS (HCT), and you may also recognize Jenessa from the KSL "Hi Monday" commercial. Jenessa has earned her Bachelors of Science in Musical Theatre from Weber State University.

Amelia Rose Moore (Turtle) is excited to be in her first show at SLAC! Amelia is a senior studying Musical Theatre at Weber State University under Jim Christian. Amelia was most recently seen in Mary Poppins at Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley, and as a performer in Simple Joys at Lagoon. Some of her favorite roles include Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, Christabelle in The Plain Princess (world premiere), and Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun. Amelia is excited to share the stage with such talented people, and to work with Penny again.

Terry Lee McGriff (Lizard) is elated to be making his Salt Lake Acting Company debut! Previous credits include Harpo in THE COLOR PURPLE (Wasatch Theatre Company), Hanschen in SPRING AWAKENING (Midvale Main Street Theatre), Rod in AVENUE Q (Babcock Theatre) and Jonas Fogg/Ensemble in SWEENEY TODD (Studio 115). Thanks to Penny, Cynthia, and Keven for this wonderful opportunity and to Jaten for your constant love and support!

Logan Tarantino (Frog) is ecstatic to make his Salt Lake Acting Company debut! Logan is a graduate from the Actor Training Program at the University of Utah. Recent roles include Lysander in Salt Lake Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Jean-Michel in The Grand Theatre's La Cage Aux Folles and Steve in Plan-B Theatre Company's Adam and Steve and the Empty Sea. He would like to thank his family, friends, professors, and SLAC!

Nathan Waite (Toad) is thrilled to be a part of his first production at SLAC especially with such an amazing cast and crew! Nate has most recently been seen in the role of Cain in Children of Eden, other memorable roles include Huck Finn in Big River, Javert in Les Miserable, and Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls.

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WHO:
Salt Lake Acting Company

WHAT:
A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD
By Willie Reale and Robert Reale
Based on the books by Arnold Lobel

WHEN:
December 5 – 27, 2014

Performance Dates/Times
December 5 – 7PM
December 6 – 12PM, 3PM
December 7 – 12PM, 3PM
December 12 – 7PM
December 13 – 12PM, 3PM
December 14 – 12PM, 3PM
December 19 – 7PM
December 20 – 10AM, 12PM, 3PM
December 21 – 10AM, 12PM, 3PM
December 22 – 10AM, 12PM, 3PM
December 26 – 12PM, 3PM, 7PM
December 27 – 10AM, 12PM, 3PM

WHERE:
Salt Lake Acting Company
168 West 500 North, Salt Lake City

PRICE:
Children $15, Adults $25
Discounts are available for groups of ten or more.
Subscribers always pay the lowest price.

MORE INFORMATION:
Box Office: 801-363-7522
Open 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Mon – Fri
www.saltlakeactingcompany.org

CAST:
Jenessa Bowen, Amelia Rose Moore, Terry Lee McGriff, Logan Tarantino, Nathan Waite

ARTISTIC TEAM:
Director: Penny Caywood
Music Director: Darrin Doman
Set Design: Keven Myhre
Sound Design: Shea Madson
Costume Design: KL Alberts
Light Design: Jesse Portillo
Assistant Stage Manager: Annie Brantley

Salt Lake Acting Company (SLAC) is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 professional theatre founded in 1970 whose mission is to enrich and engage community through brave contemporary theatre. SLAC is dedicated to producing, commissioning and developing new works and to supporting a community of professional artists. SLAC has been nationally recognized by the Shubert Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Edgerton Foundation, among others. SLAC operates under a STP Actors Equity Association contract. SLAC is a Constituent Member of Theatre Communications Group, a national organization for non-profit professional regional theatres, and the National New Play Network.