Quarry Pool becomes the stage for a theater group

By Isabel Vander Stoep / For Nisqually Valley News

From July 15 to 25, the Tenino Young-at-Heart Theater will present “A Year With Frog and Toad” at the Tenino Quarry Pool children’s pool, which was previously drained for construction.

The performance is based on the beloved books “Frog and Toad” by Arnold Lobel and will include a score and a book by Robert and Willie Reale.

The story begins with the amphibian friends – a cheerful frog and a grumpy toad – sleeping in the winter and having a conversation through their dreams. When spring comes, they wake up and start tending to the garden. The toad is confused by the slow growth of its seeds, but the frog is there to encourage it and the seeds eventually sprout.

“This story is about patience,” said Bob McKenzieSullivan, executive director of Tenino Young-at-Heart Theater.

The Frog and Toad stories are followed through the seasons, each featuring a musical number and a positive lesson.

One of the songs, titled “Getta Load of Toad,” tells about how Toad doesn’t feel comfortable in a swimsuit. His friends laugh at his expense.

“I think it’s a topic that’s really good for discussion, especially with everything going on in schools with bullying and stuff like that,” McKenzieSullivan said.

For this song and the others in the series, he added, “Even if it’s not very clear, there is a moral.”

McKenzieSullivan and his family established the Tenino Young-at-Heart Theater 32 years ago. When they started it was a children’s theater troupe under the nickname “Tenino Youth Theater”. After several years of musicals, they have gained the attention of adult comedians in the community.

“And then when the adults started doing it, that (name) didn’t quite work, so we changed it to ‘Young at Heart’,” McKenzieSullivan said.

All these years later, the troupe is still presenting classics that kids and adults alike will love, making the family pool a suitable place. But building a setting there came with unique challenges.

“Never built on a gravel pit before so trying to keep things level and flat is fun. Then, of course, the weather. The first weekend we were here building it was 100 degrees, ”said set builder Noah McKenzieSullivan, Bob’s youngest son.

In June, Tenino Mayor Wayne Fournier told the Nisqually Valley News that the city was reaching out to theater groups and musical ensembles to organize performances inside the pool pending construction, calling the possibility of such unique opportunity representations. .

So far, the city has not finalized a contract for the Quarry Pool project. At the start of the work, the expected improvements to the pool include fixed drainage and new water features.

Due to COVID-19, McKenzieSullivan was looking for an outdoor location for a show and said when Fournier offered to use the pool it was obvious.

“It’s very Tenino,” Noah said. “Especially with the show we’re doing this year, Frog and Toad, you know, you’ve got a little pond in your back that when the sun goes down you start to hear the frogs croaking. … It really is a perfect place.

Admission costs $ 15 for adults and $ 13 for seniors and students. Children under 4 enter for free. At 6:30 pm on Wednesday July 21, participants can “pay what they can”. Tickets and information can be found online at teninoyoungathhearttheater.org.

There will be no performances on Friday July 23 due to the Oregon Trail Days.

Timetable for “One year with the frog and toad “

Thursday July 15 at 6.30 p.m.

Friday July 16 at 6.30 p.m.

Saturday July 17 at 2 p.m.

Sunday July 18 at 2 p.m.

Wednesday July 21 at
6.30 p.m.

Thursday July 22 at 6.30 p.m.

Saturday July 24 at 3 p.m.

Sunday July 25 at 2 p.m.

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