One of these things is not like the other. Ida’s first four normal eggs hatch out your normal Beatrix Potter ducklings. But Ida doesn’t know what to expect when the big egg hatches. Her husband Drake thinks Ida’s been fooling around with a turkey. And the mystery continues even after it’s hatched, and out comes a great, big, gray Ugly Duckling.

Yes, it’s Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless story adapted to an award-winning musical, with Christian Youth Theater in El Cajon staging this particular rendition. Director Bethany Allen has assembled a talented cast for it, led by Sean Cabuchola as Ugly. Sean can sing, dance and juggle, and do it all with a nice understated humor. He also really gives the show a lot of heart, gaining our sympathy as he keeps trying to find his place and find love amongst those who see him as different. 

Or as food. Enter the Cat, with Kevin McDonald giving a fantastic performance as the dastardly cat you love to hate, who is more than willing to end Ugly’s misery once and for all by preparing for himself some duck a l’orange. But not so fast, cat. There are some out there who want to help. Most importantly his mother, with Meagan Flint as the loving, steadfast Ida, imbuing the role with motherly tenderness, humor, and gorgeous vocals highlighted by her teary pleading for her Ugly’s return in Every Tear A Mother Cries. While Patrick Gates amusingly plays Ugly’s slightly less caring and steadfast father, making it clear right away that this character isn’t going to be singing Every Tear a Father Cries anytime soon. Rounding out the family are Ugly’s normal, and charmingly bratty, little brothers and sisters played by TJ Kendrick, Cara Filley, Dallas Perry, and Camryn Burton, making it clear they won’t be singing Every Tear a Sibling Cries anytime soon.

Elsewhere, Bobby Albright is a hoot as the pompous British goose Greylag who embarrasses his poor wife (Catherine Jones) as he prepares to lead his troops in search of Ugly’s mother by going on a Wild Goose Chase. Kirby Tankersley is the flirty kitty Queenie who’s on the prowl for the bad, old tom Cat, with Jenna Bailey as Queenie’s jealous long-time companion chicken Lowbutt who will always be there when Queenie’s flirtations have run their course (ready with a ball of yarn to comfort her sad Queenie), the two of them doing a splendid job with their characterizations. When not being Ugly’s lazy father, Patrick Gates is a bit more emotionally helpful to Ugly as a nerdy standup-comedian Bullfrog who teaches Ugly that someone’s gonna love him Warts And All, all backed by a great ensemble of little froglets who, under KC Grulli-Miller’s cleverly fun choreography, end up tapping in flippers and doing a little hip-hop dancing.

But can the barnyard ever love his warts and stop looking at him as an ugly monster whose “quack” sound more like a “HONK”? And before he gets eaten by the Cat?? It’s a fun time finding out.

Performed February 27 - March 8, 2009.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Ugly: Sean Cabuchola
Ida: Meagan Flint
Drake: Patrick Gates
Cat: Kevin McDonald
Beaky: TJ Kendrick
Fluff: Cara Filley
Billy: Dallas Perry
Downey: Camryn Burton
Bullfrog: Patrick Gates
Queenie: Kirby Tankersley
Lowbutt: Jenna Bailey
Greylag: Bobby Albright
Dot: Catherine Jones
Barney: Austin Gallaway

~ Ida's Ensemble ~
Grace: Melinda Ham
Henrietta: Sara Wright
Maureen: Ashley Melton
Maggie Pie: Crystal McClellan
Turkey: Leif Corbeil
Penny: Melissa Fox
Father Swan: Jonathan Wilson
Mother Swan: Jesi Perry
Bewick: Jacob Smith

~ Goose Squadron ~
Barnacles: Daniel Helms
Pinkfoot: Trevor Cruse
Snowy: Stewart Caprio
Fanny: Samantha Goff
Jesse Kendrick
Heather Armstrong
Leslie Armstrong
Victoria Browning
Daniel Collins
David Gregory
Emily Jardel
Caralee Loibl
Erich Spurgin

~ Sheep ~
Koryne Martinez
Chloe Sells

~ Chickens/Frogettes ~
Ashlyn Barnes
Joanne Barber
Holly Barnhart
Cari Callen
Spenser Caprio
Ashley Carter
Cortney Cox
Sammy Fortin
Jamie Fortin
Bridget Fyson
Samantha Goff
June Long
Jennie Melton
Luree Scott
Kirby Tankersley
Erica Wilson

~ Roosters/Frogs ~
Bobby Albright
Stewart Caprio
Daniel Collin
Leif Corbeil
Daniel Helms
Jesse Kendrick
Yoni Landstedt
Brandon Nguyen-Lisama
Erich Spurgin

~ Fish/Snowflakes ~
Katie Lomax
Hailey Phillipson
Anne Signore
Zachary Smith
Bailey Callen
Raquel Estevez
Chiara Fishburne
Angel Garcia
Maggie Glen
Melodie Hambrick
Pearl Hubert
Lexi Hull
Jacklyn Jardel
Kristen Landstedt

Director: Bethany Allen
Musical Director: Janie d'Avignon
Choreographer: KC Grulli-Miller
Conductor/Piano: Taylor Peckham
Costumer: Teresa Collins and Maritza Fulton
Lighting Design: Grant Gilligan
Sound Design: Larry Esau
Set Coordinator: Richard Plaisted


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