Baldwin Middle School Players will present Honk Jr., a musical play based on the Hans Christian Andersen story, The Ugly Duckling for just three performances over two days, March 9 and 10 in the Simpson Center. Auditions for the middle school musical were held in December, with the cast in rehearsal since January.
Based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling, the colorful musical, Honk! tells the story of an odd looking baby duck, Ugly (played by Julie Brose), and the "duckling's" quest to return to the unconditional love of mother duck, Ida (Rachel Gopalani). The baby, referred toas "Ugly," is hatched into a nest of ducklings who find their sibling very "different." Ida's best bird friends, Henrietta (Aya Ibakunle) and Maureen (Katherine Hull) don't know what to make of the wobbly hatchling. Even the Turkey (Isabella Thompson) finds reasons to critique, and Grace, the leader of the birds (Lavender Huang) is unimpressed. Despite the bird's strange appearance, mother Ida loves her hatchling, and urges her husband, Drake (Maya Clever) and the duck siblings (Chloe Watson, Jenna De Temple, Vera Lanchoney and Nahla Yankowy) to love the baby no matter how different.
Despite Ida's tender care and attention, the larger than usual "duck" is quickly lured away by a wily Cat (Milan Thornton) who wants to eat the fowl for dinner. Eventually, Ugly manages to escape but has no idea how to return home. Along the way the adventurer meets many others who are exploring who they are and what makes them special in the world, including the wise Bullfrog (Sione Brown) and the precise commander of the geese, Greylag (Kristi Keslick) and goose sidekicks, Dot (Anna Raffaelli) and Barnacles (Carly Goldenberg). Ugly even meets a beautiful Swan, Penny (Tiffany Yeung). The fowl wait with baited breath as correspondent, Jay Bird (Rebecca McCurdy) follows Ida's journey to find her son.
The Junior version of Honk is specially adapted for young performers- abridged from the original show to 60-80 minutes, with music transposed into keys appropriate for young voices.
The show is directed by drama instructor Aileen McCulloch, with music direction by Upper School students, Ava Olsen ('21) and Emily Seltzer ('20). Destiny Brown ('19) is stage manager, with assistance from Ivonna Thatch ('20) and Lucy Bonin ('21). Andrea Coler ('19) designs costumes, while Alyssa Morales ('19) designs the set. Middle School 8th grader Milan Thornton assists with choreography. Additional design and construction assistance comes from the Middle School drama club and Upper School Maskers.
Honk Jr. will be presented on March 9 at 7 p.m., and March 10 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Simpson Center for the Performing Arts on the Baldwin School Campus. Tickets are available by visiting the Maskers website at www.maskers.club.
Mother Duck, Ida (Rachel Gapolani) encourages her child Ugly (Julie Brose) to hold his head up high, in Baldwin Middle School Players' production of Honk Jr., Presented March 9 and 10, 2018.