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Show Guide: HONK!

It’s almost time for our next production, Honk!, an award-winning musical based on the story of “The Ugly Duckling.” We’ve assembled some special information to help you and your family to get ready for the upcoming performance. Before you go to the show, you might want to take a few moments to review this “Know Before You Go” Guide so everyone will know what to expect from the performance!

The Story You Will See

Ida and Drake are the proud (if not perfect) parents to a brand new little paddling of baby ducks.  But one of their new feathered children is not like the others: Ugly is big and awkward and just doesn’t fit in—in their family or in the barnyard. While the proud and aloof Drake will have nothing to do with him, Ida cares very much for her unusual son and tries to comfort him as he worries about being so different. When an unhappy Ugly is coaxed away by the untrustworthy barnyard Cat, a worried Ida begins a desperate search for him. Ugly avoids being a meal for the crafty Cat but ends up in a series of harrowing adventures, narrow escapes, and a dangerous blizzard that shows him who he really is.  Along the way, Ugly meets a series of feathered (and flippered) friends who gradually help him to realize just how special he is. With sensational songs and charming characters, this clever retelling of “The Ugly Duckling” will warm your fine-feathered heart!

Best for ages 5+ | 65 minutes long with no intermission

The Characters You Will Meet

  • UGLY—A “duckling” who just doesn’t fit in with his family or with the farm but doesn’t know why.  He is surprisingly larger than his siblings and really loves to swim.
  • IDA—Ugly’s mother who doesn’t completely understand his differences but loves him very much despite his appearance
  • DRAKE—Ida’s spouse and Ugly’s father, He’s not a particularly good husband or father, and he’s not always there for his family.
  • MAUREEN, HENRIETTA, GRACE, and TURKEY—Barnyard feathered friends of Ida and her family. They care about Ida but don’t know what to make of her unusual new son
  • CAT—The mischievous barnyard cat who’d love to have a duckling —especially Ugly— for a snack.
  • JAY BIRD—The tabloid TV host of “America’s Most Feathered.”  He likes to ruffle feathers with his sensational journalism
  • GREYLAG—a retired member of the fine-feathered military who now proudly leads a flock of geese with the support of his patient and supportive wife, DOT.
  • PENNY—a beautiful young swan whom Ugly helps to untangle from a stray fishing line.
  • BULLFROG—a happy, hoppy fellow who, with his froglets, helps Ugly to embrace his uniqueness, warts and all
  • DOWNY, FLUFF, BEAKY, BILLY, and Others—Ugly’s duckling brothers and sisters, none of whom really understand their strange, oversized sibling.  They are not very kind to him.

Know Before You Go

Here are some things your family might like to “Know Before You Go”:

  • Honk! addresses the topic of bullying. The character of Ugly is treated unkindly by his siblings and others in the barnyard and this contributes to his running away from home. Your family may wish to have a conversation about bullying after seeing the show.
  • Several characters—including his own father—single Ugly out for looking and acting different than the rest of his family. A couple of references are made to the fact that Drake may not be Ugly’s biological father. Some children may have questions regarding Ugly’s family background.
  • The Cat is a villainous character who intends to eat Ugly and even sings a song about doing so. This character may be scary for some sensitive young viewers.
  • Ugly faces several life-and-death situations during the story. While Ugly escapes each dangerous circumstance, some young viewers may find the stakes rather intense.

From Story to Stage

  • Honk! was written by Anthony Drewe and George Stiles, a team of musical collaborators who have been creating shows together for over 30 years.  Some of their other family shows include Disney’s Mary Poppins and The Wind in the Willows.
  • Honk! is a story based upon the classic fairy tale, “The Ugly Duckling,” written by Hans Christian Andersen. Andersen is also the author of “The Little Mermaid,” “The Snow Queen,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”
  • Honk! won an Olivier Award (an award similar to Broadway’s Tony Award) in 2000 for Best Musical in London’s West End.

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