multi-talented cast of Chicago actor-musicians - led by Andy Nagraj as Toad and Matthew C. Yee as Frog - play a variety of musical instruments on every song in "A Year with Frog and Toad", directed by Stuart Carden with music directed by Andra Velis Simon. Together, this team creates a highly entertaining, all-new production of the Tony-nominated musical based on Arnold Lobel’s beloved Frog and Toad book series.
Join two best friends – cheerful Frog and grumpy Toad – on a trip through spring, winter, summer and fall filled with adventure, for a joyful, all-ages musical about a friendship that endures all seasons, despite their differences. Running September 19 - October 29, 2017. Presented by Chicago Children's Theatre, get your tickets here.
What's your personal story?
I grew up in the Chicago suburbs. I've been playing music since I was 12. I had originally planned on being an industrial designer out of high school but soon changed my path to acting after a year at the Art Institute of Chicago. I went on to receive my BFA in theatre at Northern Illinois University. I also studied for a semester at the Moscow Art Theatre in Moscow, Russia. Since graduating I have worked at theaters like Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, and the Goodman, as well as roles on some of the Chicago TV shows, like Empire, Chicago Fire, and Chicago Justice. I also love making things. I spend my free time making things out of leather and woodworking.
What's your character's story in "Frog & Toad”?
Frog is best friends with Toad. At the top of our story both he and Toad have just woken up from a long winter hibernation. Frog is very excited to start the year with his friend and, being the very outgoing and endlessly positive creature that he is, is doing his best to show Toad, who can be a bit neurotic and anxious at times, how to have fun.
What challenges does your character face telling this story?
Frog's main challenges come out of his relationship with Toad. Frog is always making an effort to get Toad to leave his comfort zone and have more exciting experiences, while still acknowledging his limitations.
How does the character overcome those challenges?
Frog comes to understand that Toad is a very different personality from himself and while it's important to push Toad to try new things on occasion, it is equally important to allow Toad to be himself and experience life in his own way.