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Onstage and off, 'Honk' shows 'it's OK to be different'

POSTED: June 20, 2008 5:01 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Hayden Couch adjust her hat as she gets ready for the dress rehearsal of the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Children's Musical Theater Workshop production of "Honk."

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“Honk,” the Gainesville Children’s Musical Theatre Workshop’s musical adaptation of the children’s classic “The Ugly Duckling,” is filled with laughs and lessons both on the stage and behind the scenes.

Jackson Carter, who plays the lead character “Ugly”, said “the play is about an ugly duckling that is the last one born and everyone’s making fun of him so he runs away.”

But in the end, Carter said Ugly shows the other characters “It’s OK to be different and to be your own person.”

Director Pam Ware said the performers, who range in age from 6 to 15, have gone through transformations of their own throughout the play production.

“To see these young people who come to us with no stage experience and lack of self confidence develop poise and stage presence and have that sense of pride in performance is very gratifying,” Ware said.

Since their February auditions, the cast has been through a week of segmented rehearsals in which different groups of performers worked on different aspects of the play at once.

Ware explained that her team, including Music Director Michelle Alexander and Choreographer Erin Almand, engaged the cast in honing a variety of theatrical skills during the rehearsals so “Michelle might be teaching music, Erin’s doing choreography, and I’m doing dialogue delivery and blocking.”

On Friday, the whole play came together for the first time.

Ware said she marveled at how the cast blossomed from fledgling newcomers into confident performers.

“The show teaches a wonderful lesson (that) it’s all right to follow your own dreams and I think that’s what these young people have done.”

The play will be performed at the Gainesville High School Theater on June 10th and 11. There will be a morning performance at 10 and an evening performance at 7. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens and can be purchased through Gainesville Park and Rec at 770-531-2680.



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