The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette alumna assistant directs ‘A Year With Frog and Toad’

Marquette alumna Samantha Martinson assists director Peter C. Brosius.
Photo by courtesy from Hannah Jo Anderson
MU alumna, Samantha Martinson, runs through a recent reading with American Players Theatre.

The three-time Tony award winning musical, “A Year With Frog and Toad” will be performed at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Minn. from April 23-June 16. This is directed by Peter C. Brosius and Marquette alumna Samantha Martinson serves as assistant director. 

Adapted from the children’s books written by Arnold Lobel, the story of “Frog and Toad” uses the lives of animals to depict the real world and the issues and triumphs that humans face in life.

“I think ‘A Year With Frog and Toad’ is so universal. I love that it’s animals, it allows us to play in a world that doesn’t exist, but it truly does,” Martinson said. “There are hierarchal structures within the animal kingdom and there are hierarchies in the human world, and it parallels those worlds so beautifully.” 

Theatre arts has played a big role throughout Martinson’s life while pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Marquette. She graduated in 2012.

“I fell into theatre, and it wasn’t something that I ever thought I would have a career in but what I found was that I kept being pulled back into it,” Martinson said. “I always found myself gravitating back towards storytelling and creating community as storytellers.”  

Having graduated with a liberal arts education, Martinson said that she was challenged to explore different topics she wouldn’t have gravitated towards otherwise.

“My education at Marquette taught me how to critically think, ask important questions and engage the world. Also, how to acknowledge when you don’t know the answer and then what you need to do to find the answer,” Martinson said. 

After being a performer for quite some time, Martinson realized that her education degree was similar to directing. 

“It’s about reading a room, understanding who people are, how to work with other people, what their learning styles are, how we’re communicating and connecting,” Martinson said. “It’s similar to curriculum.”  

The story of “Frog and Toad” spread through generations, delivering a message about friendship that can appeal to audiences of all ages. Having been written in the 60s, the story remains relevant today and has been adapted into many different forms of media. 

“There’s this intergenerational pull with the story. Arnold Lobel creates this access point where everyone feels like they belong in this story of ‘Frog and Toad,’” Martinson said. “Maybe you’re Frog, maybe you’re Toad or maybe you’re a little bit of both.”

Martinson said that Lobel weaves lessons into the story about what it means to be present with one another and live in a community with others. 

To adapt the story into a musical, the writers of the musical worked with Adrianne Lobel, who is Arnold Lobel’s daughter, and collaborated with each other to create this story that matches the children’s book.

“It truly follows the storyline that you would recognize from the children’s book. They make cookies, they rake leaves, they go sledding and have hot chocolate at Christmas,” Martinson said. “It’s all of these fun activities that Frog and Toad join in on together and it runs right along with the books.” 

As a director, Martinson’s philosophy in the rehearsal room and for producing theatre is constantly changing and growing.

“I really love working on new scripts but I also love working on classical reinventions and thinking about how those stories are relevant today,” Martinson said.  

Martinson describes the theatre as a place where people are not afraid to talk about their differences and connect with one another. The theater is an opportunity to expand the mind and to play, explore the world differently and engage imagination. 

“I think the world is really harsh right now, it’s different today doing this play than doing it in 2003 when it was adapted. The world is colder and more biting and viral. If you say something, it’s documented, it carries throughout and you can’t erase it,” Martinson said. 

Martinson said that Frog and Toad process the world differently but regardless of their differences in personality, they enjoy each other’s company which is one of the primary messages from the story. 

“It pushes us to make sure that we aren’t complacent in life. It reminds us that it’s messy to be human and it’s messy to live in this world,” Martinson said. “Embracing this mess and saying there’s good that can come from that, there’s a glimmer within each person.”

This story was written by Sofía Cortés. She can be reached at [email protected].

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sofía Cortés
Sofía Cortés, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor
Sofía Cortés is the assistant editor for Arts & Entertainment. She is a junior majoring in journalism and with a writing intensive minor. Sofia is from Puerto Rico and outside of the Wire she enjoys reading, writing poetry, drawing and listening to music

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *