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MTVarts Presents HONK Jr.

Mount Vernon, OH – Audiences will be flocking to Knox Memorial Theatre, 112 East High Street for MTVarts’ latest artsIQ youth theater production “HONK! JR.” The musical, a contemporary and comic re-telling of Hans Christian Andersen’s, The Ugly Duckling, takes place March 15 through 17.

Tickets are available online at MTVarts.com, at the Mount Vernon Arts Consortium office on South Main, and at the theater box office one hour prior to curtain.

HONK! JR. follows “Ugly (Kale Oswalt),” who hatches looking quite a bit different from his darling duckling brothers and sisters  (Lyvia VanValkenberg, Charlee Clinedinst, Mollie Jurkowitz, Kate Gottke). The other animals on the farm are quick to notice, and despite his loving (Kamryn Van Valkenburg) mother’s protective flapping, Ugly’s odd, gawky looks instantly incite prejudice from his family and neighbors. When Ugly is separated from the farm and pursued by a hungry (Reese Ferenbaugh) Cat, he must find his way home. Along his harrowing yet hilarious journey he not only discovers his true beauty and glorious destiny, but also finds love and acceptance in all its forms.

The production is directed by Serra Barrett, with music direction from Laura Ackert and choreography by Anthony Ingham. Production manager is Mary Harris, acting coach/assistant director Christopher Hartman, costumes by Leah Miller and Mary Harris, set construction by Mike Sears and Bill Szucs, props by Allison Smith, and stage managers are Christina Cook and Christan Sears. Set design and artistic direction by Bruce Jacklin.

“HONK! JR” carries a powerful message that has made this the perfect show for our local youth actors,” said director Serra Barrett. “The musical’s messages of resilience, belonging, and transformation ring true in today’s world and make coming into rehearsals both fun and enlightening for our youth actors.”

The show begins with the dawn of a glorious summer’s day out in the country. Standing in the sunshine is a small farm, behind which is a lake surrounded with cattails. Drake (Briggs Swallow), a proud father-to-be, introduces us to assorted critters that live in the duckyard.

Colorful fowl include Headmaster Turkey (Zach Cramer), Ida’s best friend the moorhen Maureen (Faith Major), and Henrietta (Evelynn Brandenberg), and the Queen of the duckyard Grace  (Kiersten Clinedinst).

America’s Most Feathered “in your face” Reporter Jay Bird (Devyn Hall) is on the scene eager to get the scoop on the lost duckling.

Goose couple Greylag (Will Pletcher), and his wife Dot (Avery Sears) lead Barnacles (Izzy Cook), Pink Foot (Jenna Jurkowitz), Snowy (Lanah Andrews), and goose squadron flyers (Lucy Abbot, Ady DeCosky, Molly Emig, Pearl Fawcett, Eden Figurski, Zayden Luckmeier, Brooklynn McDonald, Naomi McFarland, Grace Shank and Ainsley Sweeney).

Ugly saves the beautiful swan Penny (Gabby Fuller) and meets her family Mother Swan (Sarah Clymer), Bewick (Amari McQuigg), and Father Swan (Charlee Foley).

On Ugly’s journey of self discovery Bullfrog (Bella Oster) convinces him that somebody is going to love him. Her many children, the Froglets (Gwen Brady, Clara Hauenstein, JoJo Lobdell, Michelle Packard, Josie Snyder, Rosie Stemen, Amelia Wells) and her Tadpoles (Charli Barrett, Lily Farmer, Brookelynn Finnell, Carenna Swallow) help her convince Ugly.

Ida, Ugly, and Penny return to the barnyard with a flourish. The ducklings, the neighbors – and even Drake – now extol the virtues of having such a fine bird in their midst. The whole neighborhood has learned how important it is to “just believe in yourself. Don’t be left on the shelf feeling that all hope is dead and gone. And you may find, in your own way, you’re a swan.”

Under the banner of Classroom Connections, artsIQ will present free school performances of HONK! JR for kindergarten and first graders as part of the Knox County (YES) Youth Enrichment Series.

Programs like artsIQ are made possible through the generosity of Ariel Corporation, Knox County Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, Season Sponsors, advertisers, cash donors, and those who buy a ticket to see the show. Visit MTVarts for more information.

Presented through a special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). Based on the award-winning musical Honk! by George Stiles (composer) and Anthony Drewe (books and lyrics), “HONK! JR” is a witty and heartwarming show celebrating what makes each of us special.

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