Chidren of the Mansfield Arts & Education Center of the Hockomock Area YMCA presented Honk! Jr. on stage at Foxborough’s Orpheum Theatre last weekend.
Director Heather Utsler-Smith pulled together a cast of more than 40 children, including some who have grown up with the Y’s youth theatre group. These young thespians range in age from 7-14 and had been rehearsing for the show since November.
Last weekend's show was the Hockomock Area YMCA youth theatre’s 25th production since its inception in 2006.
Honk! Jr. was performed with full lights, costumes, set and sound. It provided a fun, contemporary retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Ugly Duckling, performed with the permission of Music Theatre International.
When Ugly (Daniel Schratz of Franklin) realizes he is different than the rest of the barnyard crew, he tries hard to fit in. Despite the best efforts of his mother (Brianna Kelly of Mansfield), he becomes discouraged and downtrodden and is lured off the farm by a cunning Cat (Maddie Dieterle of Franklin). Through his adventures, he meets friends and foes who help teach him that being different isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just … well … different.
Through great music, dancing and lots of comedy, the audience shared in Ugly’s journey and found appreciation for their own special character traits.
“Whenever you put up a show, kids learn the value of teamwork," said
Utsler-Smith. "They need to adapt to change, support one another through ups and downs, and everyone contributes their own skills and talents to the final product. The resiliency they need and have shown is very similar to Ugly’s journey throughout Honk.”