‘A Year with Frog and Toad’ kicks off new kids’ series at 6th Street Playhouse

6th Street Playhouse partners with Children’s Museum of Sonoma County for children’s programs.|

If You Go

What: “A Year with Frog and Toad”

When: 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Jan. 7-22. Runs 55 minutes, with a 10-minute intermission.

Where: Monroe Stage, 6th Street Playhouse, 52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa

Admission: $25 for adults, $15 for ages 2-18; 2 and younger free

Information: 6thstreetplayhouse.com; 707-523-4185

If theaters want audiences in the future, it makes sense to start connecting with them when they’re young. Children’s theater can recruit tomorrow’s fans.

With that in mind, Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse will present live weekend matinee performances of “A Year with Frog and Toad” all month, starting Saturday.

A cast of five will perform a condensed, 55-minute version of the Tony-nominated 2002 Broadway musical based on Arnold Lobel’s popular children’s stories about two devoted friends.

The 6th Street Playhouse presented its own production of the Broadway version of the show in 2005. This newer, pared-down Theatre for Young Audiences edition is specifically aimed at viewers from age 3 to 10.

“Kids get to experience theater for the first time. Introducing young children to live theater improves literacy, creates empathy and improves their school test scores,” said Anne Clark, managing director for 6th Street Playhouse.

“Exposing kids to live theater makes it eight times more likely they’ll become theatergoers as adults,” said Clark, who is directing and choreographing the theater’s production of “Frog and Toad.”

The Playhouse production stars Jonathan Blue as Frog and Ted Smith as Toad, with Katie Foster, Molly Larsen-Shine and Emma LeFever as various other animals. LeFever also doubles as a snail mail carrier.

“She’s so funny,” Clark said of LeFever. “In her mind, she’s moving fast, but her body isn’t.”

This show is the first in a planned series of live plays for young audiences, presented by the playhouse in collaboration with the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County.

“We decided to start our partnership with ‘Frog and Toad,’ which is really a children’s classic,” Clark said.

The show will be presented in the playhouse’s 99-seat Monroe Stage studio theater, supplemented at the museum by story-time readings of the “Frog and Toad” books, which started last week.

For information on the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County events, visit cmosc.org or call 707-546-4069.

Parents are encouraged to bring children to the playhouse performances 30 minutes early so they can participate in art projects related to the show.

“This is a really fun foray into what we hope will be a long partnership,” Clark said. “We’ll do this again in the fall with a different play. In the future, we’d also love to have our actors perform at the museum.”

You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5243. On Twitter @danarts.

Dan Taylor

Arts & Entertainment, The Press Democrat

Do you take fun seriously? I know I do. Tell me what you want to know about arts and entertainment in the North Bay to make the best use of your leisure time and money. As a longtime local arts journalist, I have learned where to look and who to ask.

If You Go

What: “A Year with Frog and Toad”

When: 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Jan. 7-22. Runs 55 minutes, with a 10-minute intermission.

Where: Monroe Stage, 6th Street Playhouse, 52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa

Admission: $25 for adults, $15 for ages 2-18; 2 and younger free

Information: 6thstreetplayhouse.com; 707-523-4185

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