A Year with Frog and Toad
Arnold Lobel's treasured characters hop from page to stage in a story of friendship and adventure.
Show Essentials
5
Roles
G
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

The Birds have come back at the end of winter and are anxiously ready for spring. They look in on Frog and Toad, still in hibernation in their respective beds in their cozy home. In sleep, Frog and Toad dream about their friendship and all that they will do in the brand new year ("A Year with Frog and Toad").

Frog finally wakes to realize that it is spring and, therefore, time to wake up his friend, Toad. Toad is hesitant and, after breaking his alarm clock in anger, tells Frog to wake him up in another month. Frog rips the month off of his calendar and tells Toad that the time has passed ("It's Spring"). Toad finally gets out of bed and decides that, this year, he wants to plant a garden; Frog gives him seeds and some advice to help them grow. Toad finishes his planting but quickly becomes impatient when they don't immediately grow. Toad tries yelling at the seeds, but Frog tells him that they will now be afraid to grow. Toad feels bad, so he stays up all night, trying other methods to convince the seeds to grow ("Seeds").

Toad falls asleep in front of the garden and, when Frog comes to wake him up in the morning, they see that the seeds have grown a little. Toad is happy for a moment, but instantly becomes sad when he realizes that it is ten o'clock. He explains to Frog that ten o'clock is when the mail comes but he never gets any mail! Hearing this, Frog excuses himself and goes to write a letter for Toad. He gives it to Snail to mail it for him, and Snail sets off on his mission ("The Letter #1").

Eventually, Frog and Toad go to the pond for a swim, but, when it comes time to swim, Toad asks Frog to turn away while he gets into the water. Frog inquires, and Toad explains that he looks funny in a bathing suit. Frog promises not to look until Toad is in the water. When it's time to get out, Turtle comes by and Toad tells Frog to ask her to go away. Frog asks her, but she finds this amusing instead and calls over Lizard and Mouse to see Toad in his bathing suit. After getting cold, Toad decides to get out of the water as the onlookers laugh about him and his suit ("Getta Loada Toad").

The next day, Toad goes to Frog's house to surprise him with lunch but finds that Frog isn't home. There is a note on the door that says he went to the island and wishes to be left alone. Toad worries and goes to the island in search of Frog. On the trek, Toad falls in the water and ruins lunch, but Frog doesn't mind. Frog explains that he isn't sad; he's happy. He just wanted alone time to reflect on how happy it makes him to be a frog on such a beautiful day ("Alone"). Meanwhile, Snail is still on his way to deliver Frog's letter to Toad and is very happy to be doing the job ("The Letter #2").

Frog and Toad are now at Toad's house, preparing dinner. They make cookies for dessert. When they go to try them, however, they can't stop eating them because they are so good! In hopes of stopping, the two tie up the cookies in a box... but to no avail. They end up giving the rest of the cookies to the birds so that they won't eat all of them by themselves ("Cookies").

Act Two

Frog and Toad are trying to fly a kite, but they can't get it to stay in the air. The birds watch from nearby and laugh at their attempts. Toad wants to give up, but Frog continues to encourage him, and they finally get the kite to fly ("The Kite").

It's now the end of the summer and, as autumn comes, leaves begin to cover the ground ("Leaves: A Year with Frog and Toad"). Frog and Toad decide secretly to rake each other's yard as a favor. They find that it's hard work ("He'll Never Know"). When they are going back home after finishing, squirrels come and mess up the piles of leaves, ruining all of the work that they've done. They both get home and decide to rake their own yard later, never knowing the good deed that each has done for the other ("He'll Never Know – Reprise").

Later, on a dark and stormy night, Toad heads over to Frog's house; Frog thinks that it's a good night to tell a scary story. Toad is already nervous from the weather, but Frog proceeds to tell him the story of a young frog who gets separated from his parents and then escapes the clutches of the Large Terrible Frog before it eats him ("Shivers"). Meanwhile, Snail is still making his way to Toad's to deliver Frog's letter ("The Letter #3").

It is now winter, and Frog and Toad are getting ready to sled down a hill, even though Toad is scared; Frog continues to assure him that it will be okay. Partway down the hill, Frog is thrown from the sled, leaving Toad all alone. Toad doesn't know what to do and accidentally takes the dangerous and bumpy path ("Down the Hill"). Toad eventually makes it to the bottom but is angry at Frog for making him go sledding. He swears that he will never talk to Frog again. Just as Toad is about to leave, Snail appears with his letter from Frog. Toad reads the letter, wherein Frog talks about their good friendship and that he cannot be happy unless Toad is happy. Toad decides to talk to Frog again and invites him home for soup.

Snail, having delivered his first letter, feels as though he has finally done something of which to be proud ("I'm Coming out of My Shell").

It's now Christmas Eve, and Toad is in his kitchen, waiting for Frog. He begins to get worried because Frog is late and starts to think that something terrible has happened to him. He goes out in search of Frog ("Toad to the Rescue"). Frog arrives just as Toad is leaving and apologizes for being late, explaining that he was wrapping Toad's present. Toad opens the gift, which seems to be a new clock. Toad tells Frog that Snail is delivering his present and that it should be there soon; the two reflect on what a lovely Christmas Eve it is and how glad they are to be together ("Merry Almost Christmas").

It is now almost spring again. Frog and Toad are in hibernation. The birds return and look in on Frog and Toad dreaming. In their dreams, the two talk about what lovely things they have been thinking about and how excited they are for another new year together ("Finale: A Year with Frog and Toad").

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Small 10
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Frog
Caring and loyal. Always looking out for his friends. The calmer, more zen of both he and Toad. Simultaneously adventurous and assured.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 50
Vocal range top: A6
Vocal range bottom: A3
Toad
A hard worker, but impatient for results. Self-conscious. Stubborn. A good friend to Frog. Timid.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 50
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Man
Must possess the blind determination of a nerdy snail and the "cool kid" attitude of a slick lizard. Appears as MAN BIRD, SNAIL, LIZARD, FATHER FROG, and MOLE.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 60
Vocal range top: B5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Woman 1
Must possess the playful and quirky personality of a lady bird and strong frenetic energy of a squirrel. Appears as LADY BIRD 1, MOUSE, SQUIRREL, YOUNG FROG, and MOLE.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 50
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Woman 2
Must possess the playful and quirky personality of a lady bird and strong frenetic energy of a squirrel. Appears as LADY BIRD 2, TURTLE, SQUIRREL, MOTHER FROG, and MOLE.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 50
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Full Song List
Opening
A Year With Frog and Toad
It's Spring
Seeds
The Letter - #1
Getta Loada Toad
Underwater Ballet
Alone
The Letter- #2
Cookies
Entr'acte
The Kite
A Year With Frog and Toad- Reprise
He'll Never Know
Shivers
The Letter- #3
Down the Hill
I'm Coming Out of My Shell
Toad to the Rescue
Merry Almost Christmas

Show History

Inspiration

The story of A Year with Frog and Toad begins in 1970, when Arnold Lobel's classic book, Frog and Toad Are Friends, was first published. Lobel received a Caldecott Honor award and went on to publish three additional volumes of Frog and Toad adventures. In 1973, Frog and Toad Together was named a Newbery Honor book, making Lobel one of only a handful of authors to have received honor citations from both of children's literature's highest awards.

In 2002, Adrianne Lobel, the author's daughter and a successful designer and producer in her own right, commissioned a musical based on her father's most beloved characters.

Productions

A Year with Frog and Toad, based on all four books in Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad series, was first workshopped in 2000 at New York Stage and Film at Vassar College, with music by Robert Reale and book and lyrics by Willie Reale. Later, it premiered in full production on August 23, 2002, at the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis and ran through November 2, 2002.

The children's musical next moved Off-Broadway to the New Victory Theater, which specializes solely in family-oriented fare. After stellar reviews and a sold out run under the direction of David Petrarca with Daniel Pelzig's choreography, the show transferred to Broadway, where it opened at the Cort Theater on April 13, 2003, running for 73 performances and 15 previews before closing on June 15, 2003.

Following its New York success, A Year with Frog and Toad played a return engagement at the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis November 16, through December 31, 2004.

A Year with Frog and Toad has also had huge success regionally. With its appeal to a younger generation, it has enjoyed hit runs in Philadelphia, Austin, Portland and Chicago, just to name a few.

Cultural Influence

The original Broadway cast recording of A Year with Frog and Toad was released on April 6, 2004, by P.S. Classics.

Trivia

A Year with Frog and Toad was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score.

The show was groundbreaking in that it brought professional children's theatre to the Broadway arena, sparking the interest of the aged-three-to-ten set.

Actress, Kate Reinders, who performed as part of the show in Minneapolis, is featured on the cast album while, on Broadway, Jennifer Gambatese plays the role that Reinders originated.

Authors, Robert Reale and Willie Reale, are brothers.

Critical Reaction

"Anyone who cherishes musical theater and can beg or borrow a child from 4 up might be well advised to make a beeline for Times Square in search of tickets for A Year with Frog and Toad."
– New York Times

"Frog and Toad, a delight for young and old."
– Boston Globe

"Robert and Willie Reale solidly capture the essence and heart of Lobel's characters and stories. Robert Reale's music is infectious, colorful, and rich in melody and character whereas Willie Reale's lyrics are both witty and funny & provides plenty of fun and creativity for children and plenty of nostalgia and heart for the adults."
– Chicago Theatre Beat

"A fun evening, sure to entertain children and adults alike."
– TheatreMania

"Robert and Willie Reale's lively and appealingly old-fashioned musical numbers, which wouldn't sound out of place on a vaudeville stage or a 1940s radio show& therein lies their charm."
– Austin Chronicle

Tony® Award

2003 - Best Original Score, Nominee (Music by Robert Reale; Lyrics by Willie Reale)
2003 - Best Musical, Nominee (A Year With Frog and Toad)
2003 - Best Book Of A Musical, Nominee (Willie Reale)

Connect

*****Written permission is required to reprint or reproduce Arnold Lobel's artwork from Frog and Toad and other HarperCollins Publishers books.
If you wish to obtain permission, please fax or mail the following information to the Permissions Department at HarperCollins Publishers:

  • Photocopies of the art you would like to use
  • Performance dates
  • How/where the image will be used, including layouts
  • The number of programs, posters, postcards, etc. that will be printed and distributed
  • Your theatre's location and contact information, including fax, phone number, e-mail, and mailing address

PLEASE FAX INFORMATION TO: Permissions Department HarperCollins Children's Books 1350 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10019 Fax: (212) 261-6603

Billing

Based on the books by Arnold Lobel

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.

A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD 100%

Music by
ROBERT REALE 50%
Book and Lyrics by
WILLIE REALE 50%
Based on the books by
ARNOLD LOBEL 50%
 
Originally presented on Broadway by
Bob Boyett, Adrianne Lobel, Michael Gardner,
Lawrence Horowitz and Roy Furman 25%

 

World Premiere at The Children's Theatre Company
Minneapolis, Minnesota 15%
The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK15
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE2

Production Resources

Resource
LOGO PACK
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT SMALL
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT X-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT XX-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD SMALL
REFERENCE RECORDING
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASSBASS , TUBA
DRUMSBLOCKS , CONCERT SNARE , DRUM KIT , FINGER CYMBALS , GLOCKENSPIEL , GRAN CASSA , HIGH COWBELL , MARK TREE , MILITARY SNARE , ORCHESTRA BELLS , SIREN , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , TEMPLE BLOCKS , TIMPANI , TRIANGLE , VIBRAPHONE , WIND CHIMES , WOOD BLOCK
GUITAR
REED 1ALTO SAXOPHONE , CLARINET , FLUTE , PICCOLO
REED 2ALTO FLUTE , BASS CLARINET , CLARINET , FLUTE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
TROMBONE
TRUMPETPICCOLO TRUMPET , TRUMPET