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Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater

A Year with Frog and Toad Just a few adjectives to describe Main Street Youth Theater's production of Robert and Willie Reale's Tony Award-nominated musical: bright, snappy, breezy, adorable, clever, tuneful, heartfelt, childlike, witty. It's no surprise that, after a word-of-mouth blitzkrieg, the New York premiere show was sold out -- or that the majority of audiences were not children but young adults. This innocent show about the joys of friendship is the perfect way to show your date what a sensitive soul you are, that you still possess a child's wonder. Freely adapted from the beloved children's series by Arnold Lobel, the simple musical has no great character conflict, no driving sturm und drang to its dramaturgy, no world-shaking moral core. This is about two amphibians, don't forget, not Hamlet. But what this uncomplicated show has is heart -- heart for days, with a lilting, sunny personality that any Muppet would be proud to have. Eternal friends Frog and Toad (Ilich Guardiola and Kregg Alan Dailey, who are so perfect it's scary) spend a year with each other baking cookies, waiting for mail, swimming at the swamp, tobogganing in the winter before hibernation, or just hanging out drinking tea. They're joined now and then by squirrels in berets who speak French, a snail mailman with a backpack that doubles as his shell, a 1940s radio trio of harmonizing birds, and glasses-wearing moles (Kyle Greer, Katherine Randolph, Laura Kaldis). Nothing much happens as little life lessons about sharing, commitment and responsibility flit into view and waft away on the lightest of breezes. And that's just how you'll feel after you see this -- buoyed and contented. Why let kids have all the fun? Through December 16. 4617 Montrose, 713-524-6706.

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