DST Puts Wiggle in Everyone’s Waddle in First of 2009-2010 Children’s Theatre Series

Desert Stages Theatre Has a Beautiful Take on

The Ugly Duckling

Featuring Gerry Cullity’s Original Adaptation of

Hans Christian Andersen Beloved Classic

Actor in 1995 Arizona Debut is ‘Mother Duck’ in 2009 Version

TUD Director is 19 years old…in play 10 years ago

Scottsdale, Ariz. (Aug. 17, 2009) – Gerry Cullity’s original adaptation of The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen takes center stage at Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre Friday, Aug. 21 – Sunday, Sept. 20, a triumphant and inventive production performed by children Valleywide, luring an audience of fans young and old.

The Ugly Duckling is the 2009-2010 season opener for DST’s Children’s Theatre series. Cullity, who founded DST in 1995 (along with wife, Laurie, executive director; and mother Joan Thompson, DST business manager), turned the beautiful story on its ear with innovative character relationships, original book, music and lyrics, and a seriously imaginative knack for storytelling that keeps adults thoroughly entertained as well.

The fabled tale of the child “duckling” who “honked” instead of “quacked,” who was a swan mysteriously born into a family of ducks, who felt the consequences of what it often means to be different, has two casts of more than 70 each busying for opening night.

Tickets are $12 in advance; day of show $12 for children and $15 adults. Reservations recommended. Shows are Friday and Saturdays, 7:30pm; and Saturdays and Sundays, 1pm and 3pm. Tickets by phone at 480.483.1664; or at the Desert Stages box office at 4720 N. Scottsdale Road, north side of Scottsdale Fashion Square, next to Coco’s restaurant.

Another twist to the production is its 19-year-old director Mallory Mitchell who played a goose in the same DST show 10 years ago. Mitchell returned this summer from Occidental College to direct the play. In addition, actress Jackie Notorio is the only original cast member from the Arizona debut of Cullity’s adaptation of The Ugly Duckling in 1995. Jackie was four years old then. Today she’s also in The Fantasticks and performing in the two shows at once and back to back.

Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre is a nonprofit organization that produces live, innovative theatrical entertainment, led by cofounder and executive director Laurie Cullity; business manager and cofounder Joan Thompson; and artistic director Terry Helland.

Included in each DST season are productions of original scripts, musical scores and lyrics by cofounder Gerry Cullity whose work is still relished five years after his passing. Upcoming on the DST mainstage is the production of Ragtime Oct. 9 – Nov. 1.

DST has three show schedules that run simultaneously from July through May: Actor’s Café adult performances in the intimate, proscenium-style 60-seat theatre; the adult mainstage Cullity Hall, an innovative theatre-in-the-round; and the Children’s Theatre, also performed in mainstage Cullity Hall. Founded in 1995, Desert Stages has developed thousands of thespians, young and old, many with compelling personal stories of triumph and major stage success and all of whom perform at DST for the pure love of the theater.

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