The Ugly Duckling
by Desert Stages Theatre
It ain’t easy being different from everyone else, and Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of The Ugly Duckling has come to illustrate that more than any other tale. Gerry Cullity, who created many musicals for Desert Stages Children’s Theatre, wrote the book, music, and lyrics for this charming adaptation as well that includes ducks, geese, and an eagle who may finally explain how it was Ugly Duckling came to find itself in a nest full of ducks so different than itself.

Natasha Milligan stars as the Ugly Duckling whose sadness comes through well as she finds herself born into a world that mostly rejects for reasons she doesn’t understand and over which she has no control. Jacqui Notorio is her closest comfort as Ugly’s mother. The last of more than fifty-five productions with Desert Stages, Jacqui’s swan song is a lovely and powerful performance as she tries to protect her daughter, despairs that she’s lost her with her own mother (Kristin Alba) in All My Children Are Gone, and rejoices at their reunion.

Some other standout performances include the hilarious Haley Cohn as Poindexter the dog who doesn’t see why the other ducks would pick on Ugly (Poindexter never much thought of ducks as one of the most beautiful creatures anyway!), and cheers Ugly Duckling up with a vaudevillian song and dance. Another Haley, Haley Johnson, narrates the tale and watches over Ugly Duckling with sympathy and affection as the watchful Eagle. Other good performances come from vain and amusing former festival winners Darla and Carla (Sarah Pansing and Lauren Primack), Meaghan Marlowe as Mother Goose, a friendly Goose (Carlee Coulehan) and Gander (Jake Rodrigues), and a host of initially bratty dancing ducks, and a handful of humorous intrepid duck hunters.

Mallory Mitchell directs this show featuring a nice set by Laurie Cullity and Terry Helland and lots of cute and colorful costumes. The production has a fairly nice rhythm to it with sad moments of Ugly Duckling’s rejections and its mother’s fears surrounded by more comical scenes including a festival quack-off between different broods featuring a wide variety of music and dance choreographed by Melanie Heredia and Desiree Vaughan, culminating in a nice bittersweet ending.

Performs August 21 - September 21, 2009

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~

Ugly Duckling: Natasha Milligan
Her Mother: Jacqui Notorio
Eagle: Haley Johnson
Poindexter: Haley Cohn
Grandma Duck: Kristin Alba
Swan Mother: Samantha Naeckel
Queen of Ducks: Jordan Yampolsky
Goose: Carlee Coulehan
Gander: Jake Rodrigues
Mother Goose: Meaghan Marlowe
Darla Duck / Cassie Duck: Sarah Pansing
Carla Duck / Claire Duck: Lauren Primack
Caitlin Duck: Erin Tarkington
Cameron Duck: Ashley Rhoads
Carrie Duck: Emily Weigel
Annette: Alyssa Simmons
Abigail Duck: Sophia Matin
Addie Duck: Jenna Tarkington
Allison Duck: Alana Hurley
Alyssa Duck: Mackenzie Cooper
Betty: Eila Elton
Becca Duck: Rachel Arabia
Beth Duck: Allie Miller
Beverly Duck: Katie Weigel
Bonnie Duck: Katie Barcy
Brooke Duck: Chantal Frankson
Billy Bob: Jared Lara
Delbert: Max Miller
Jeb: Ryan Chirico
Duck Hunters:
Shawn Allgood
Jesse Cooper
Samuel Dunn
Jeremiah Dunn
Dasan Orlich
Mother Ducks:
Adrian Baris
Abby Chase
Angela Griffin
Vassiea Hurt
Cheney Meell
Kasey O'Brien
Krystal Rosa
Bailey Smith
Madyson Whitney
Emily Coffeen
Rylie Conrad
Ella Gallagher
Mia Gallagher
Eden Hurley
Mitra Matin
Tiana Penczar
Caitlin Reilly
Reagan Stiteler
Isabella Will
Sophia Will
Ella Vitti

Director: Mallory Mitchell
Choreographers: Melanie Heredia, Desiree Vaughan
Set Design: Laurie Cullity, Terry Helland
Sounds & Lights: Lea Branyan, Genai Cavender, Kari Haygood, Meaghan Marlowe, Kathryn Pansing
Costumes: Laurie Cullity, Jacqui Notorio, Sandi Rodrigues, Dagne Vaughan, Stephanie Yampolsky
Make-Up Design: Jacqui Notorio


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