McPherson College Theatre Hosts ‘Frog and Toad’ for Elementary Schools

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By Jewel Marie

The theatre department continued a tradition that has been honored for the last 30 years. 

Every two years, children from elementary schools across the McPherson and Moundridge school districts visit the campus to watch a live play, have fun and ask questions of the actors afterwards. 

Eight student actors have practiced the next play for the 2023-2024 season, titled ‘A Year with Frog and Toad.’ This play stood out because it’s based on a beloved children’s book series from the 1970s by Arnold Lobel and teaches kids that they can make friends despite having differences. 

Dr. Andrew Voth was the show’s musical director, while seniors Addison Haiden and Ellery McMurry served as sound designer and technical director, respectively. Senior S. Asher was the cast’s stage manager. 

“(The play) was originally written for Broadway with only five actors, but we expanded it to eight actors just to have more people join in on the fun,” said JD Bowman, head of the theatre department. 

Each book of Frog & Toad contains roughly three to four short stories that each consist of three to four pages, with four books in total. 

This story about two best friends and life lessons was adapted for the stage and the department’s annual musical. 

The last time elementary schools were invited to watch a play was two years ago with “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” Two years before that was “Creepy Carrots.” 

“Frog is kind of the antithesis to who I am as a person, and it was kind of fun to discover the fact that Toad is more pessimistic and down-turned in terms of mood,” said sophomore Nathan Cartmell. 

Cartmell is one of the two lead actors alongside junior Toby Leffew. Cartmell continued, “(Toby and I) basically have used each other’s natural mood to kind of change. Because I’m more pessimistic, she was able to use that to channel Toad. And I was able to use her natural optimistic cheerful demeanor to channel Frog.” 

The department also teamed up with Twice Told Tales down on main street to give away books to kids at every show. Random seats were selected at every performance and the kids in those seats won their very own Frog and Toad book.  

The elementary schools went to watch the play during the week of Feb. 26, where a different elementary school visited the college each day. A standard performance of the show was open to the public the night of March 2.

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