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Review

The Show:  

It ainít easy being different. Or ugly, to which the Ugly Duckling can attest. But it is easy to enjoy this musical version of Hans Christian Andersenís poultry tale that beat out The Lion King for a Best Musical Laurence Olivier award (book and lyrics by Anthony Drewe, music by George Stiles). Itís a show filled with loads of humor for the youngest kids and oldest adults, set to a classic story and stuffed with great tunes all while imparting an important message. Itís a story that begins when one of Idaís eggs is not like the other. Her first four normal eggs hatch out your normal Beatrix Potter ducklings, but the huge oddball egg begets a great, big, Ugly Duckling whose only friend might be a conniving, hungry Cat. 

The Production: 

Brenda Goodenberger directs Creative Stages Youth Theatreís entertaining production of the junior version of the show, while also designing the set featuring great painting by Paul Wilson that helps bring to life the local barnyard. Courtney Greger doing the make-up and costumes and Jean Tanton on the hair help transform the human actors into the barnyard animals with some nice, clever creations and touches. And the actors take the transformations from there. 

Thirteen-year-old Marshall Scott is our Ugly Duckling, gaining our sympathy with his good, melancholy vocals while gaining our laughter with his great expressions and nerdiness. Ashley Sneddon is his devoted duck mother Ida delivering both lovely and sensitively delivered vocals. And Uglyís going to need mommyís devotion with the Cat perusing a book titled ďTo Serve Duck.Ē Yes, sci-fi fans, itís a cookbook (cue Twilight Zone theme)! Kira Kadel is charmingly evil and feline with her movements as said Cat who can play with her food before she eats it. And she leaves Ugly, Ida, and the sweet swan Penny (Sydnie Greger) with amusing looks on their faces when Cat goes crazy.  

Meanwhile, back on the farm, Steven Meythaler is Idaís hammy husband Drake who isnít too excited about the kids but starts to come through as a husband near the end, nine-year-old Jazmin Moehring is a stately Grace, Meg Monteith is Uglyís amusing Aunt Maureen, and his initially bratty siblings enthusiastically give Ugly some major heck in Look at Him. Off the farm, weíre treated to a highly enjoyable Wild Goose Chase led by the Napoleonic and hilariously quirky Graylag (Thomas Graca) and his kind and somewhat embarrassed wife (Amber Grossenbacher), Savannah Wilson leads her froglets in the catchy and comforting Warts and All, the family of swans are a surprisingly amusing group of beautiful birds in this production, and the ensemble led by some narrating sunflowers keep things fun and, in the end, very touching as Ugly learns itís okay to be different.  

Unfortunately, too many people disagree. In CSYTís program, they include a link to a site with resources to help people deal with bullying: http://www.stopbullying.gov/

Performed September 9 - 25, 2011

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 


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Ugly: Marshall Scott
Ida: Ashley Sneddon
Drake: Steven Meythaler
Cat: Kira Kadel
Maureen: Meg Monteith
Henrietta: Miranda Brown
Rooster: Reid Zalewski
Grace: Jazmin Moehring
Turkey: Quinn Duncan
Maggie Pie: Taylor Lawritson

~ Drake and Ida's Ducklings ~
Fluffy: Kendra Goodenberger
Downy: Kendall Healey
Billy: Evan Arganbright
Beaky: Sonya Krueger

~ Maureen's Ducklings ~
Puff: Brooke Harman
Webby: Kaylee Gruenemeier
Freckles: Summer Welsh

~ Rooster and Henrietta's Chicks ~
Fuzzy: Allison Belsan
Buttercup: Tate Himes
Squirt: Zoe Cozzolino
Blossom: Soleil Gandara
Ayanna: Taylor Tracey
Fleur: Tabitha Meythaler
Flora: Delaney Kranz

~ Geese ~
Greylag: Thomas Graca
Dot: Amber Grossenbacher
Snowy: Riley Watkins
Barnacles: Zachary Goodenberger
Pinkfoot: Allison Weston
Lucy Goosey: Tiffany-Amber Olander
Giddy: Ashley Gibbons
Zippy: Nevie Beal

~ Frogs ~
Bullfrog: Savannah Wilson
Amphibulous: Keaton Kadel
Bouncer: Hanna Grossenbacher
Flip Flop: Skylar Tice
Legs: Connor Duncan

~ Swans ~
Father Swan: Brandon Himes
Mother Swan: Chiara Zalewski
Penny: Sydnie Greger
Bewick: Spencer Gibson
Ivory: Grace Haak
Pearl: Zoe Tanton

Voice of Boy: Keaton Kadel
Voice of Girl: Kendra Goodenberger
Voice of Farmer: Ken Goodenberger

Director, Sound Designer, Asst. Choreographer, Set Designer, Props Designer: Brenda Goodenberger
Musical Director: Susan Washburn
Make-up Designer, Headpiece & Hat Designer, Asst. Costume Designer: Courtney Greger
Costume Designer: Renee Brown
Asst. Costume Designer: Shirley Sneddon
Hair Designer: Jean Tanton
Publicity: Al and Debbie Meythaler
Photography: Steve Salik
Artistic Director: Jim Gradillas
Stage Manager: Brie Stawicki
Technical Director, Set Designer: Chris Seaver
Scenic Painter, Props Designer: Paul Wilson
T-Shirt Designer: Jason Washburn - Talon Strike Studios
Lighting Designer: Noel Miller
Special FX: Matthew Kornegay

   

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