Frog and Toad take the stage!

December 4, 2013

frog_and_toad_lakeshore_civic_playersStarts this weekend at arts center

By Carrie Klemm, MCP Correspondent

LUDINGTON – Parents, get your kids ready for the show! Lakeside Civic Players is presenting “A Year with Frog and Toad” at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts, performances start this weekend.

Based on the fictional characters of Arnold Lobel, this musical adaptation was written by Robert Reale and Willie Reale. The show follows the whimsical adventures of two best friends, Frog and Toad, as they make their way through all four seasons.

In the Lakeside Civic Players’ rendition, Frog will be played by Chip Bowden and Toad by Cody Hodges.

“You really couldn’t put on a production like this without amazing directors as well as a perfectly chosen cast and crew,” said Bowden.

Both Bowden and Hodges have been in numerous productions in years past. When asked what would be the best way to contact each of them, “smoke signals,” they responded in unison, further solidifying that they are good friends, both on and off stage.

First-time directors Heather Venzke Tykoski and Carrie Kosla have been working together to bring the play into fruition since before auditions in October.

“We have both worked in the other areas of stage productions, performing, advertising, publicity, et cetera, but neither of us have taken a seat in the director’s chair before this show,” Tykoski admitted. “It has worked out well. Carrie heads up the musical direction and I focus on the stage and publicity. We wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without tricks of the trade from Marty Cupp.”

Based on a drawing of the set by Heather Catron, backstage aficionado, Cupp worked with local artist and creative mind, Erica Karmeisool to bring the stage to life. Since 1997, Cupp has worked on sets at West Shore Community College, The Ramsdell Theatre in Manistee, Ludington High School and Manistee High School as well as the center for the arts. In doing so, she learned a few secrets to a successful stage presentation.

“For me, it has always been free therapy,” Cupp said. “I get to relax and paint.”

Also a part of the show is the Lakeshore Youth Chorus under the direction of Paula Jury Jarvis.  The group is composed of children, second grade and up, who represent both fish and squirrels throughout the production.

“My favorite part is when we get to sit on the lily pad and sing,” said Amelia VanWyck, 10. VanWyck and her sister, Eva, 12, are both part of the youth chorus and both very excited to be in the play.

Though Thanksgiving week affected rehearsal time and Tykoski said there were few other bumps in the road, she is very pleased with how the show has come together.

“Thanks to a great crew and several outside helping hands, we have made a lot happen in six weeks,” Tykoski stated.

With such an energetic and fun loving cast, “A Year With Frog and Toad” is sure to be enjoyed by the whole family.

Performances will be held Friday and Saturday evenings, Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees on Dec. 8 and 15 at 2 p.m.

Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under and can be purchased by calling LACA at 231-845-2787. Tickets purchased at the door will be $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.

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