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BWW Review: HONK! THE UGLY DUCKLING MUSICAL at Howard Theatre At Heritage Hall Honks it's Way Into Your Heart

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Presented this weekend at Heritage Hall.

BWW Review: HONK! THE UGLY DUCKLING MUSICAL at Howard Theatre At Heritage Hall Honks it's Way Into Your Heart

When I was first invited to view HONK! THE UGLY DUCKLING MUSICAL, I was unaware that it was a full-fledged MTI production. I thought this show was going to be strictly for little kids-- it would be amusing and the cast would be your typical middle school/high school cast, but I was so wrong. Presented at Heritage Hall, 1800 NW 122nd Street, a private school in Oklahoma City, the cast, which is a mixture of kids ranging from elementary to high school, could rival some universities. Adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen 1843 story The Ugly Duckling, HONK! retails the classic through song and dance and a little tongue and cheek humor, fit for kids and adults.

In this interpretation of The Ugly Duckling, the show begins with the momma duck, Ida, sitting on her eggs. Everyone notices that there are four regular-size eggs and one large egg, and after a very relatable song The Joy of Motherhood, the eggs hatch and everyone sees that the large egg produces an "ugly duckling." Members of the community makes fun of Ugly, including his father and four siblings. When the other ducks demand too much attention from Ida, Ugly is lured away by the cat, who wants to have him for lunch. At some point the ugly duckling gets away from the cat and tries to find his way back home to his mama. However, this is a very difficult task for him and last through hunting season and winter. Throughout this journey he meets a whole cast of characters that try to help him on his way. In the end, of course, he finds out that he is a beautiful swan and is ultimately accepted by the inhabitants of the lake. BWW Review: HONK! THE UGLY DUCKLING MUSICAL at Howard Theatre At Heritage Hall Honks it's Way Into Your Heart

Director Jay Ferguson picked a wonderful cast to play these very colorful characters. Evan Hulse, who played the lead duck Ugly, had me laughing and smiling the whole time except for during the touching moments, where I admit I may have shed a tear. He was committed to his character throughout the whole entire play, even during the curtain call. Jessica Leite, who played Ida the ugly duckling's mother, sang beautifully, glowed in her pretty yellow dress and was convincing as the mother who was concerned for her lost duckling. Romello Nicholson, who played the cat, was cunning, charismatic, and reminded me a bit of the big bad wolf from INTO THE WOODS. My children, who were also in attendance, wanted me to also mention the bullfrog, played by Austin Le. They were both equally amused by his performance and his song Warts and All. I expect great things from this cast in the future.

I like to give extra points to the fact that they had a live band for their musical. I know a lot of times there is just no way to have musicians there, possibly due to funding or time and available talent; so, when there is live music, I like to acknowledge it.

There are two more performances left tonight and tomorrow October 2 and 3, at the Howard Theater at Heritage Hall. You can get the tickets at the door, but I recommend you preorder on their websites at www.heritagehall.com/tickets.


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