Everyone knows the tale of "The Ugly Duckling," but the child ensemble of Cresson Lake Playhouse's production of "Honk! Jr." want you to know you've never seen or heard it like this.
"Honk! Jr." is the musical retelling of the classic Hans Christian Andersen story which follows Ugly, the baby duck as he is threatened by Cat and falls in love with Penny the swan on the quest to find his mom and the place he calls home. "Honk!" originally opened in 1993 in England, and the junior version was made to appeal to younger audiences.
There are two different casts for the show, all together totaling 30 actors whose ages range from 8 to 18. Holly Smith of Cresson, director for the show, said seeing kids of all ages interact, and allowing them to express themselves through theater, has been fun for her, as it will be for the audience.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
During rehearsals for Cresson Lake Playhouse’s “Honk Jr.,” the Froglets (foreground, from left, Angel Raehl, Mariah Huss, Molly Pilcher, Alayna Gil and Olivia LeComte) jump in front of Penny (Myah Smith) and Bull Frog (Brandon States).
"The storyline itself is adorable, I think," she said, adding that the show has both funny and sad parts. "Everyone has felt like they've been on the outs, so I definitely think it's a storyline the entire audience will relate to."
Smith said the themes of the play are very similar to the well-known story. But catchy songs accompany the message of "don't judge a book by its cover."
"A lot of things kids run into in today's society, it doesn't matter what background you're from, it's the inside that counts," Smith said. "It's OK to be different, is what the whole premise is ... but the music and the story will really catch people's attention."
If you go
What: "Honk! Jr."
When: 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday and 4 and 6 p.m. May 5
Where: Cresson Lake Playhouse, 279 Shapiro Road, Loretto
Details: Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children under 12. They're available online at www.cressonlake.com or by phone at 472-4333.
Davey Beyer, who plays Ugly in one of the show's casts, said he thinks people will like the show because of everyone's energy and talent. He added that he likes playing Ugly, even though he's "kind of a mama's boy."
"He's very determined, [that] is what I like about him," Beyer, 13, of Ebensberg, said.
Erin Serre, who plays the Cat, said she enjoys playing the antagonist of the show.
"Everyone is going on with their happy little lives, and then I come along and add some mystery to it and cause drama," Serre, 18, of Lilly, said.
Serre has enjoyed spending time with kids of all ages and from other schools through "Honk! Jr."
She added that anyone could learn from the play's message.
"I think the main message is that you should accept everyone no matter what they look like or how they act," she said. "It's important for people [to learn] today because it's not stressed many places. You can learn a lot from musical theater."
Chris Maurer, who plays Greylag the "admirable goose" in the show, said his character is a drill sergeant that yells out random commands.
"My character is a little more serious, but I like to give it a more comedic aspect," Maurer, 19, of Ashville, said.
Maurer said he likes the story line, especially because of how it teaches kids that things can change when you're older. But people of all ages will enjoy the show, he added.
"There's no set audience," Maurer said. "It's just fun to watch."
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.