by Michael Meigs
I got up and cheered for the curtain call of A Year with Frog and Toad, and I happily accepted the invitation from director Michael McKelvey for audience members to mingle with the cast onstage afterwards. This musical was so appealing and well executed that it lured me out of the comfortable semi-anonymity of the audience to let these performers know how much I appreciated them. And, incidentally, to inquire whether we would be seeing them on Austin stages anytime soon.
Michael McKelvey might well have stood up and cheered at audition time for this show, when he saw the two principals Zach Dailey and Ryan Borses do their stuff for the first time. Not only could they sing, dance and dialogue with the best of them, but they were the perfect somatypes for the two amphibian friends who since the 1970's have been entertaining us and luring youngsters into the adventure of reading. Zach as Frog is a broad-shouldered, rounded and thoughtful endomorph, and Ryan as Toad is the slim and energetic ectomorph, as lively as an animated Etch-A-Sketch character. It's a classic comic contrast. It works as well in Lobel's books and in this singing, dancing charmer as it did with Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello.