The Jewish Tribune

18-(b)

The Jewish Tribune

Significance of Young People’s Production Lies in Its Moral Value
Atara Beck

TORONTO – The most significant aspect of A Year with Frog and Toad at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People (LKTYP) lies in its moral value, according to choreographer and associate director Jen Shuber.

“What resonates most to me in the show is what true friendship is, the ups and downs,” Shuber told the Jewish Tribune. “A true friend is there for you through thick and thin. It’s an important message… something both kids and parents could relate to.”

Shuber has choreographed and directed theatrical productions across Canada, mainly in Ontario, for the past 15 years. Her most recent credits include Zay Shtil for Harold Green Jewish Theatre at the Al Green Theat re and The Last Five Years for Angelwalk at the Toronto Centre for the Ar ts, which she directed, and she was choreographer for Soulpepper’s production of Doc at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

One of the challenges specific to A Year with Frog and Toad was “striking a balance” between animal and human characteristics, Shuber explained. For example, the frog and the toad portray amphibian traits, but the actors perform on their feet. Also, some actors play more than one character and it has to be clear to the children which character is being represented.

The performers are all adults and professionals, Shuber added, giving special mention to award winning singer and actress Louise Pitre, one of the leads, who is “just phenomenal.”

Shuber grew up in downtown Toronto and this is her first time working at LKTYP. During childhood, her parents would often take her there to see various productions, and the one that stands out most vividly in her memory is The Diary of Anne Frank. “It resonated with my Jewish roots,” she said. “I never forgot it. So I’m thrilled to be working here. Lorraine Kimsa [Theatre] does a lot of houghtprovoking productions for kids. This place had an impact on me.”

Although A Year with Frog and Toad was produced for 3-8 year olds, “it has a terrific score and a terrific script. Families would enjoy it,” Shuber commented.

Hit musical A Year with Frog and Toad, starring Canadian and Broadway stage icon Louise Pitre and Denis Simpson, adored host of the long-running (1971- 1993) children’s show Polka Dot Door, plays from Nov. 15 to Dec. 30. For more information on scheduling and tickets, visit lktyp.ca or call the box office at (416) 862-2222.

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