In this coming year, we will learn to embrace new adventures and J. Thaddeus Toad will show us the way.
By Owen Panettieri: playwright, lyricist
As I write this, my 36th Birthday is winding down. It's been a great day at the end of a fun year. 36 is an interesting age to me - I feel neither young, nor old. I feel like an adult, but still feel as connected to my imagination and inspiration as I've ever been. I always love to celebrate my birthday to the fullest and this year is no exception. I look forward to the new year to come.
I have decided to think of the next year as The Year of the Toad, after one of my favorite Disney characters, J. Thaddeus Toad. I think most people adopt at least Disney spirit guides - a character they connect to on an emotional or philosophical level. I have three. There's Goofy, who represents a sense of silliness enthusiasm and warmth, Figment, who acts as my champion of the imagination and creativity and then there's Mr.Toad who is... just kinda insane.
I have always loved Mr. Toad. I remember watching The Wind In The Willows on VHS over and over again when I was little. I would take it out of the library repeatedly. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was my favorite attraction in Disney World. When they took it down in favor of a ride starring Winnie The Pooh, I swore I'd never go on that ride in protest. (It's been years and multiple visits to the Magic Kingdom, and I've kept my word.)