With 5 shows together under their belts, Bonaventure seniors Brett Keegan and Ian Rogers are preparing to share the stage in SBU Theater's production of Robert and Willie Reale's musical A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD. Keegan, a philosophy major playing Frog, and Rogers, a modern languages major playing Toad, sat down to talk about their favorite parts of the show, future plans and playing best friends onstage.
Mary Best: What has it been like working together during your time with SBU Theater?
Brett Keegan: It's really fun. There's always been a (stage) chemistry, but now it's much more natural.
Ian Q. Rogers: It's offstage, too. We can anticipate things that the other's going to do. It's very natural. I think we're pretty supportive of each other, which is always nice. We each have our individual strengths and weaknesses, which compliment each other really well.
Brett Keegan: It's also helpful knowing each other because we run lines a lot together, but it's also a chance to catch up.
MB: What's it like to do Frog and Toad, a show that focuses on the friendship between the main characters, as your last show for SBU Theater?
IQR: It's very genuine, very innocent and whole hearted. It's simple, but it's also like a fable.
BK: There's also more to it than meets the eye. In a way, it's my favorite show. Not necessarily because it's the best show we've done, but the nature of the show itself is very sentimental and lighthearted.
MB: What do you love the most about being a part of this show?
IQR: Because it's a musical, the rehearsal process because it's so different. We get to work with Professor (Kathryn) Black and Professor (Laura) Peterson, and the collaboration with music department has been really fun. It helps change the monotony of just the spoken word. It's nice to bring in new faces and experiences, plus meeting new people and the collaborative atmosphere that's going on.
BK: Theater really is all about collaboration. Just seeing the variety of talents and facets of personalities that come with this show being a musical is really exciting.
MB: What is your favorite song in the show?
BK: My favorite song is my solo in the first act, called "Alone." It's just a meaningful song that happens when Toad goes to give Frog some sandwiches and finds a note that says Frog is all alone on the island thinking about things and he's nervous Frog is sad or lost his friendship. When he gets there, Frog just sings about how he's happy about his life and the good things in it. It really captures the show as a whole because it's just these interludes of people separating from busy situations and getting at the heart of what it means to be human.
IQR: I have two favorites. The first is sung by Tori, who plays Snail, and it's called "Coming Out of My Shell." It's a great coming-of-age song about authenticity, self-determination, self-fulfillment and self-acceptance. It's a great little number all about willpower. It's heroic and genuine. My second favorite is "Shivers," which is when the little frog (played by Brooke Perkins) sings her solo within it. It plays to the innocence of the entire piece and the fragility of each character. She finds solace with her parents just as Frog finds solace with Toad. I think both of those really speak to the themes of the show.
MB: What makes your experience in this show different from your other roles for SBU Theater?
IQR: I've never really been the main title character before. It brings a lot of challenges like the workload, but it's my last rodeo, so why not?
BK: It's unusual. I felt more toad-like at auditions. But when we read, it felt so natural that I was Frog and (Ian) was toad. I've definitely become more frog-like. I find a lot of weird parallels, like my favorite color is green. It's unusual playing a character who is so much like who I am, but in a sense it's who I was when I was a lot younger. In a way, I've been getting connected with my childhood. I'm also writing a memoir, and with this being my last show, it's the perfect storm of sentimentality.