A Year With Frog and Toad, ARC Dance, and Arvo Pärt

A Year With Frog and Toad

Though it had a Tony-nominated run on Broadway, it's still a pleasant surprise to discover that this musical adaptation of Arnold Lobel's children's books is as gentle and endearing as its source material. Director David Saar's production is no more or less than it says—four simple seasons in the lives of Frog (D. Scott Winters, right) and Toad (Jon Gentry, left), with an assist from some bird friends (of whom the daffy Leslie Law has the most winning chirp) and an ambitiously lethargic snail (scene-stealing Auston James, with a "shell" that costumer Karen A. Ledger has amusingly re-imagined as an oversized backpack). Willie and Robert Reale's short, nifty tunes sound like happy '30s ditties—they take just long enough to stick in your head before moving on—while Winters and, particularly, a comic, prickly Gentry turn their characters' bantering into a sweet, sensitive lesson in unwavering male friendship. It makes for a Year well spent. Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle Center, 206-441-3322. $14-$28. 7 p.m. Fri.; 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Ends Sun. June 5. STEVE WIECKING

ARC Dance

Dance is full of flying images, every leap an attempt to leave the earth and soar through the air, but most of the time the dancers come back to the ground pretty quickly. Ballets like Firebird and La Sylphide usually resort to other measures to suggest flight, but choreographers Marie Chong and Melissa Kerber are taking a more literal approach, staging the second act of Swan Lake as an aerial work, using low-hanging trapezes. This time around, Odette actually takes off, instead of pretending to fly. Shorecrest Performing Arts Center, 15343 25th Ave. N.E., Shoreline, 206-352-0798. $15-$20. 7:30 p.m. Fri. March 25-Sat. March 26. SANDRA KURTZ

Arvo Pärt

"Tintinnabulation" is composer Pärt's term for a particular method of musical organization he developed: the melody line (inspired by medieval chant) is set against an accompaniment of shifting, repeating patterns of notes (inspired by the practice of church-bell change-ringing). Serene and contemplative, but never static, it's a texture that works wondrously for religious music—like his 1982 Passio, a setting for voices and organ of the Gospel of St. John. James Bowyer leads a Good Friday performance of this deeply intimate work. Seattle First Baptist Church, 1111 Harvard Ave., 206-325-6051. Free. 7:30 p.m. Fri. March 25. GAVIN BORCHERT

 
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