Bronxville Middle School students presented a special production of “Honk! Jr.,” a contemporary and comic retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling,” from May 10-11. The show was based on the award-winning musical “Honk!” by composer George Stiles and author Anthony Drewe, and it featured a dedicated group of middle school performers and crew members.
“The students worked incredibly hard and did a spectacular job,” said Pamela Simpson, who directed the show. “We hope everyone enjoyed the show, which was not only entertaining, but also carried important messages subtly woven into the fabric of the songs and performances.”
With the theme of acceptance running throughout, several cast members performed poignant numbers about being different and ultimately being accepted for their uniqueness. Throughout the performance, showstopping moments included a joke-telling bullfrog joined by a chorus of fluorescent green frogs, as well as singing felines, a synchronized squadron of dancing geese and a closing number with the entire cast and crew performing against the bucolic country setting. The lead characters, Ida, Drake and Ugly, each contributed comedic and moving performances, supported by a talented cast and crew.
Several young musicians from the middle and high schools made up the orchestra pit onstage, providing musical accompaniment throughout the show. In addition, there were more than two dozen high school students who mentored middle school students or helped in other ways.
“Honk! Jr.” followed the story of Ugly, who hatches looking a bit different from his duckling brothers and sisters. The other animals on the farm are quick to notice, and despite his loving mother’s protective flapping, Ugly’s odd, gawky looks instantly incite prejudice from his family and neighbors. When Ugly is separated from the farm and pursued by a hungry Cat, he must find his way home. Along his journey, he not only discovers his true beauty and glorious destiny, but also finds love and acceptance in all its forms.