Spending A Year with Frog and Toad… an interview with Carousel Theatre’s Artistic and Managing Director Carole Higgins

April 10th, 2010

The journey that a show takes before you see it on stage isn’t just a couple months long- it can be a couple years! A Year with Frog and Toad came across Carole Higgins’ desk a couple of years ago- and she waited until she had the perfect spot, in the right season, before choosing it as a show for Carousel Theatre.

Actor Allan Zinyk (playing 'Toad') and Director Carole Higgins work through a scene in rehearsal for A Year with Frog and Toad

Why did you choose to do this play at Carousel Theatre?

It is such a charming musical, and I love that it is about two best friends, and how they enjoy a year together.

How did you choose your team?

Choosing the team is a very exciting process. I chose the designers for the project last summer- costume designer Yulia Shtern created our costumes for our Teen Shakespeare Production of Macbeth, and I immediately fell in love with her theatrical sensibility. I have wanted to work with Lighting Designer Ereca Hassell for some time, and this was the perfect project for her. Set Designer Heidi Wilkinson and I have been collaborating for several seasons now, and I have also collaborated a lot in the past with our fabulous choreographer Melissa Young. Gordon Roberts did a lovely job on a co-op I saw last year: The World Goes ‘Round.

Allan Zinyk is one of my all-time favourite actors, and when I first chose this play I knew he was perfect for the role of Toad. I first worked with Todd Talbot more than a decade ago, and was so thrilled when he called me up to express his interest in the role of Frog. He and Allan make a fabulous duo. I held auditions for the three other roles, and Darren Burkett, Janet Gigliotti and Kaylee Harwood are all so talented and so playful!

Can you tell me a bit about what a director does?

Sure, a director  creates the full stage picture, overseeing everything from the design to the casting, to the characters, to the movement… I love being very involved with design and fussing over fabric textures, paint samples, you name it. I love trying different things in the rehearsal hall, experimenting and deciding on which ideas best serve the story that we are telling.

Director Carole Higgins works with Allan Zinyk ('Toad') and Todd Talbot ('Frog') in rehearsal.

I’ve heard that you love animals.  What’s your favourite animal and why?

My favourite animals are dogs. I love how affectionate they are, and how playful. I have two dogs, Molly and Sammy and they are like my kids and my best friends!

When Molly Met Sammy

What are you most excited about in A Year with Frog and Toad?

So many things! I am so excited about our incredible cast. I feel really blessed to have such a great ensemble of actors on this production. I am thrilled by the designs. Today, we spent most of the day working with the costumes in the rehearsal hall and that was just wonderful. Our set moves into the Waterfront Theatre on Monday, and I can hardly wait…. It is so thrilling to see this production take shape!

If you have any other questions for Carole, email them to comeplay@carouseltheatre.ca!

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