Courtesy of Jay Goede

Jay Goede DRA ’91 will revive his Broadway role of Frog in the Children’s Theater Company’s rendition of “A Year With Frog and Toad” in Minneapolis. The performances will take place from April 23 to June 16 on the UnitedHealth Group Stage.

“I consider this show to just be flawless,” said Reed Sigmund, a resident actor at the CTC and Goede’s co-star. “It’s hilarious and has so much heart. These characters are very different but celebrate those contrasts.”

The musical is a reinterpretation of the classic children’s book characters Frog and Toad. The two friends journey through the seasons and go on the cutest adventures: kite flying, cookie making, sledding and bedtime storytelling. 

Growing up, Goede didn’t think he was going to be an actor. He described himself as artistic, but definitely on the shyer side. He wasn’t a stereotypically outgoing and bubbly theater kid, he mentioned.

“I think there are two kinds of actors,” Goede said. “The homecoming queens … [who] can become great actors because there’s confidence. There are others — like me — that were kind of awkward and shy and disconnected and because of that can become great actors.”

Goede described himself as a “daydreamer.” He tended to stick to the behind-the-scenes aspects of art and theater, focusing on visual and medium-based art. 

Despite being more reserved, acting became an emotional outlet for Goede. He felt that onstage, he was able to become a different version of himself that was capable of great emotional vulnerability. 

“I think I became an actor who stayed outside myself because I didn’t know myself,” Goede said. “But I loved it because it could be anybody but myself. That’s true of a lot of actors. We come to it not really knowing who we are and we find this magical thing where we can be somebody else and it’s incredible.”

Goede originally pursued drama school as a theater design major. Even at the start of his drama career, he still felt that he fit best behind the scenes. It wasn’t until he performed in Macbeth in drama school that he realized he wanted to be an actor.

The Shakespearean play resonated with the then-budding actor’s love for poetry and his desire to connect with people, according to Goede. That play built the technical skills he needed while sparking a passion for acting.

Goede’s teachers and mentors heavily influenced his time at drama school. Earle Gister, Barbara Somerville DRA ’83 and Virginia Ness had the most profound influence on the actor. While the teachers are no longer current members of Yale faculty, their time at Yale left a lasting impression on Goede.

Goede’s co-workers Autumn Ness and Reed Sigmund described him as “brilliant” and “sincere.”

Ness — a resident actor at the CTC and understudy in the production — not only works with Goede on the production but was also his student when he was an elementary school theater teacher in Minneapolis.

“He was such an artist,” Ness said. “He drew for us; he painted our sets; he taught our improv games and our theater classes. It was so entrancing and once you were exposed to it, it was all you wanted. And to revisit it at these different decades and points of life … I feel so lucky to reconnect with him.”

Goede has maintained his more introverted, reserved attitude throughout his acting career, never falling into the outgoing and bubbly theater stereotype. Among his core values is making genuine conversation with others. 

Sigmund will be playing Goede’s faithful companion Toad. This will be Sigmund’s second time acting alongside Goede — the first being an understudy performance as Toad in 2003 at the CTC.

“The music is phenomenal,” Sigmund said. “And Mark [2003’s Toad] and Jay are both individually perfect — which is not a word you use often in performance because it is so subjective — and their chemistry was also perfect. It was a production of the absolute best and all you could hope to do was equal it because you would never surpass it.”

Goede himself emphasized connecting with the audience as another key part of his acting values. He hopes to provide an experience for audiences that is “emotional” and “profound” within the short amount of time actors get on stage.

“A Year with Frog and Toad” will start rehearsal this spring.

Luciana Varkevisser covers theater and performances. She is a freshman in Saybrook College planning on majoring in history and psychology.