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Heidelberg University, Opportunity Center team up to put 'A Year with Frog and Toad' on stage

For many from the Opportunity Center, this is their first chance to learn choreography and showcase their skills on stage.

TIFFIN, Ohio — For those who love the stage, there's nothing quite like putting on a show in front of a live crowd.

This weekend, there's a first-of-its kind performance for a group of individuals in Tiffin who have never had that chance.

All semester long, theater students from Heidelberg University have been visiting the Seneca County Opportunity Center. They've been working with clients who have special needs to put on a main stage performance of the musical "A Year with Frog and Toad."

"(It's important) to make it about someone else, and to give them an opportunity to be the star of the show in a place that they're the feature," Heidelberg University assistant professor of theater Steven Cotter said.

For many from the Opportunity Center, this is their first chance to not only showcase their skills on stage, but to learn how to work with people who are new in their lives.

"Getting the opportunity to be in a play, that's something that I didn't think I would ever be able to see my son do. So, this opportunity is huge for our family, to be able to see my son participate in something that a lot of people get to do normally," Seneca County Opportunity Board President Erin Simmons said.

Credit: Jon Monk
Heidelberg students have been visiting the Opportunity Center all semester.

For these theater students, they're taking away a better appreciation of how the arts can truly be for everyone.

"Theater can kind of be a universal voice for everything, and letting them be exposed to it has been very eye-opening to us as well as them, knowing that it can kind of cross different barriers," Heidelberg musical theater student Gavin Buurma said.

Cotter said his goal is to spread the joy of art to everyone.

"That has always been my mission as a theater artist, to build the community. So, partnering with the Opportunity Center was a great chance for our students to get out of the classroom, work with folks that they normally don't get to meet, build relationships, build relationships in Tiffin and to have the whole community celebrate art, which is great," he said.

The Seneca County Opportunity Center's performance of "A Year with Frog and Toad" runs Saturday, April 23 at 2 p.m. You can catch it at Heidelberg University's Gundlach Theater.