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The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Jay Goede reprises his role in “A Year With Frog and Toad” at CTC

Reed Sigmund as Toad, left and Jay Goede as Frog, right in rehearsal. Photo by Kaitlin Randolph.

 Over 20 years ago, Jay Goede landed the role of Frog in the world premiere of the musical “A Year With Frog and Toad’’ at the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minneapolis. The musical, along with Goede, then moved to the New Victory Theater in New York before landing at the Cort Theatre on Broadway (now the James Earl Jones Theatre). Now, Goede reprises his role in the three-time Tony Award-nominated musical at CTC, running from April 23 to June 16, 2024 on the United Health Group Stage. 

“To visit [a show] again is something that doesn’t happen that often, and to visit a show that I didn’t expect to get originally was just one surprising delight after another,” Goede said. “[The original production] was this little blessing of a show . . . to visit it again and visit the show again is going to be a beautiful experience.” 

“A Year With Frog and Toad” is based on the book series by Arnold Lobel and follows the two amphibious friends as they navigate their friendship over the course of a year. Lobel’s daughter, Adrianne Lobel, commissioned the original production and designed the sets that encapsulate a whimsical, ever-changing world.

When Goede got the audition for “A Year With Frog and Toad,” he lived in New York City, navigating the constant cycle of auditioning. His agent said it might be fun to go back to Minneapolis, where Goede grew up, and Goede had an interest in exploring musicals, a genre he had only performed regionally.

“The exciting part about it [was] coming back to town,” Goede said. “I also wanted to work with not just the director [David Petrarca] and also Mark Linn-Baker, who was already set to play Toad. It was like any other audition [where I] didn’t expect much. I thought it’d be fun to go to Minneapolis, and who knew I’d get it. I lucked out.” 

Goede grew up watching shows at CTC. The first show his parents took him to see by the company was “The Little Match Girl.” He also has fond memories of seeing “Cinderella” and “Hansel and Gretel,” all of which were performances that made him want to be a part of the theater.

“[CTC] was always a magical [place],” Goede said. “Who knew when I was sitting there watching all the shows that I’d be up there. It was definitely a dream come true.”

Goede’s first professional acting job was in children’s theater, performing in a tour of “Aesop’s Fables.” Getting the chance to bring joy to kids and families is part of why Goede is enamored with “A Year With Frog and Toad.” Additionally, the small cast left room for fun on and off stage during the original runs.

“I couldn’t have asked for a more talented group,” Goede said. “We had so much fun, and I’m sure there’ll be some of that fun again with this new cast. That’s what really makes the show for us. It’s having a blast and getting to know each other and just goofing around on stage.”

The joy of the story led the musical to earn three Tony nominations in 2003: “Best Book,” “Best Score” and “Best Musical.”

“It was a simple show — a very pure, sweet show about friendship,” Goede said. “I think that’s what people responded to. It was not over produced [with only] five actors doing all the roles. All the performances were fantastic. They had great performers that were cast in the right roles. And it was beautifully directed by David Petrarca. I think we lucked out.”

Goede stopped acting professionally in 2009, turning towards other creative avenues like painting and teaching. He moved back to Minneapolis several years ago. Goede had heard that CTC was reviving the musical, but he was not expecting director Peter C. Brosius, who works mere blocks from where Goede lives, to call him asking if he had any interest in reprising his role. 

“I have a lot of pride in the show, and I’m overjoyed to be asked to do it again,” Goede said. “I can’t wait to work with this cast. 20 years later, we’ll see if I can keep up with it, but it’ll be fun to discover again and with [Brosius]. It might be a completely different show this time.”

Goede is not the only cast or creative member returning back to this beloved show; Danny Pelzig returns as the choreographer of the original production and Reed Sigmund will be reprising his role as Toad from CTC’s 2017 production. Goede hopes to return to this role with a new set of eyes while holding true to the parts of the musical that led him to fall in love with the production originally.

“The music will come back to me and probably some of the staging, but I’m just going to treat it as a new project,” Goede said. “I’m hoping that I’ll learn more about Frog. I might see stuff I didn’t see before.”

Goede said he is excited to perform for families, a kind of audience he hasn’t been around in 20 years.

“The emotions are very clear,” Goede said. “There’s a lot of fun, a lot of comedy and a lot of joy. It’s just a sweet little show. The themes are universal. The love of these five oddballs is what makes it amazing.”

Goede argues that we need friendship now more than ever. The small cast drives home this point with an air of sweetness and fragility that Goede said lands in a different way than it would with a huge cast.

“The wonderful thing about the show is [the message that] maybe your best friend is not somebody like you, but [they] bring out the best in you,” Goede said. “It’s a turbulent time in the world. This is a beautiful, simple show about loving each other. I think that’s needed now.”

Previews of “A Year With Frog and Toad” begin Tuesday, April 23. The fun-loving, perfect for all ages show then opens Saturday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling the ticket office at 612.874.0400.


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About the Contributor
Natalie Mazey, Associate Arts Editor
Natalie Mazey ’26 (she/her) is an associate arts editor from Cincinnati, Ohio. She is an English major with minors in Environmental Studies and Media and Cultural Studies. She is an avid enjoyer of the New York Times Games and any form of crafting.

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