The stage was lit up at the Scera and the scenery was staged for the musical A Year With Frog And Toad. On opening night, the seats were filled with moms, dads, grandparents and children, sponsored by the Head Start program of Provo Mountainland Preschool, excited to have a theatre experience with “The animals at the pond.”
Una Simental, the supervisor of the Provo Mountainland Preschool, was very pleased with the opportunity afforded to the program by SCERA to give a theatre experience to low income families at a decent price.
“I am very pleased with the night’s performance,” she said as she watched the announcement board for upcoming events.
However, the children’s reactions to the musical varied.
The audience followed the Frog and the Toad’s adventures from spring awakening to slumber again after Christmas. Friendship is a strong theme that runs through the show’s dialogue and songs.
The music was nothing like BARNEY or THE WIGGLES, perhaps a little too fast paced and leaning towards the ragtime of the 1930s and 1940s. The little children expressed more recognition and laughter during the dialogue. One of the favorite moments was probably when the “slo-mo” snail was entrusted to deliver a letter to Toad.
The snail’s animated movement was priceless. Children giggled and probably left the show with a stronger affinity for the little creature.
There were some language choices that definitely could be simplified. Instead of saying “This is most uncanny” and other older phrases, one could as easily have said this is very odd, mysterious strange or weird to bring the language to the level of the preschoolers.
There was a scene with lightening and thunder when Frog decides to tell his friend the Toad a scary story and the director’s choice to show a gigantic fearful frog was an odd choice for a children’s production. It made the smaller children hide their faces and the parents stroke their backs to reassure them.
The musical has its highs and lows, but the story of friendship and life around the pond was a gem. The scenery and the costumes were well manufactured and pleasing to the eye. The decorative houses, one of which was in a mushroom, was easily turned around on wheels for various scene changes inside and outside the animals homes. It always had smooth transitions and was void of any disturbances. The cast offered a well-rehearsed musical and was happy to greet the audience after the performance.
Scera Theatre Centre for the Arts in Orem
Feb 23- March 13
Monday and Friday nights only at 7:30-8:30 pm
Tickets: $6 for adults and $4 for children ages 3-11