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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: 

Recently graduated Sean Boyd gives his youth theater swan song as Ugly, delivering fantastic vocals and a touching performance as the rejected ďducklingĒ whose hope for finding acceptance grows desperate and disappointing, but with teasing moments of hope. His Different solo is poignant, as is his parting with his duck-mother Ida. Paige Pendarvis is tenderly motherly as Ida, singing a gorgeous Every Tear a Mother Cries and helping cement a nice ending. For the dastardly Cat, Emma Winemanís voice, dance, and expressions all serve her well while trying to serve up the duck in a darker alternative ending.  

The show features a flock of other colorful characters. Spencer Whitney leads his intrepid geese into a Wild Goose Chase with vigor and eccentricity. Bullfrog Pierre Cozic enthusiastically lobbies for a world where youíll be loved Warts and All. Shannon Barry is a spoiled house cat while Madeleine Williams is a hoot as her housemate hen friend Lowbutt. As widowed barnyard royalty Grace, Jade Moujaes takes the crispy and aromatic premature end to her husband with amusing ease. And Casey Purlia Johnson is a sweet swan Penny who charmingly helps Ugly learn what beauty is.  

Meanwhile, the whole cast does a great job in various roles of swans, geese, frogs, and a wide assortment of barnyard animals including lazy dad Drake (Isaac Brieske) and his hilarious new ducklings (Jesse Smith, Avalon Robbins, Julia Dawson, and Chase Anichini) who are fantastic at being vain about themselves (flicking their hair, hamming it up for the news camera) and initially mean to their odd brother Ė sentiments all highlighted in the castís big Look at Him number. Director Ira Bauer-Spector makes sure that what weíre looking at is entertaining and high quality including some great sets by Cynthia Bloodgood and fantastic costumes by David Pelton to help fully transport us into this poultry tale of folks down on the farm.

Performed June 29 - July 15, 2012

Photos by Ken Jacques

Rob Hopper
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Executive Director
National Youth Arts

~ Cast ~ 

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Ugly: Sean Boyd
Ida: Paige Pendarvis
Cat: Emma Wineman
Penny: Casey Purlia Johnson
Bullfrog: Pierre Cozic
Drake: Isaac Brieske
Billy: Jesse Smith
Beaky: Avalon Robbins
Downy: Julia Dawson
Fluff: Chase Anichini
Turkey: Joe Wineman
Henrietta: Carly Shaffer
Maureen: Gina Barba
Grace: Jade Moujaes
Greylag: Spencer Whitney
Dot: Lizzie Hall
Barnacles: Brooke Henderson
Pinkfoot: Katelyn Katz
Snowy: Tess Maretz
Queenie/Mother Swan: Shannon Barry
Lowbutt: Madeleine Williams
Jay Bird: David Coffey
Moorehen/Floor Manager: Kaleolani Laymon
Pullet/Camera Op: Sydney Rose Horowitz
Quail: Zion Dyson
Rooster: Ihmahni King-Murillo
Chicken/Bewick: Yuri Kitagawa
Chicken/Swan: Camille Fundingsland
Baby Chickens:
Sophia Dimmick
Nicki Harrell
Lillian Hedlund
Carson McCloskey
Sophie Maretz
Ensemble:
Jordan Anichini
Maggie Brown
Valeria Counts
Megan Decker
Matthew Filio
Catalina Furra
Michaela Griffin
Karina Johnson
Maya Nielsen
Ruby O'Brien
Nicole Valdivia
Rana Willink

Director/Choreographer: Ira Bauer-Spector
Musical Director: Richard Morrison
Set Design: Cynthia Bloodgood
Lighting Design: Mia Bane
Costume Design: David Pelton
Hair and Make-up Design: Francia Cohen
Sound Design: Robin Whitehouse
Properties: Karen Bohrer

   

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