Two River Theater’s annual holiday show for families is Honk: A Musical Tale of ‘The Ugly Duckling,’ an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s story with music by George Stiles and book and lyrics by Anthony Drewe.
Honk won London’s 2000 Olivier Award for Best Musical, beating Mamma Mia! and The Lion King. Comic and heart-warming, it is a musical to “quack” about for both children and adults, who will appreciate not only its timeless theme of acceptance, but also its witty lyrics and tuneful score.
Honk! tells the story of an odd-looking baby duck, Ugly (Paolo Montalban, the Prince in the ABC/Disney TV movie Cinderella opposite Brandy), and his quest to find his mother (Kenita R. Miller, Broadway’s The Color Purple) after he is lured away from his home by a wily Cat (Doug Hara, Two River’s Charlie Brown, Charlotte’s Web, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Along the way, he meets new friends, including a comical troupe of geese (Amanda Butterbaugh, Aymee Garcia, and Jim Newman) and an ebullient bullfrog (Michael Genet). His adventures lead him to meet his true love, Penny (Olivia Oguma)—and to discover the joy of being different.
The company also features four children as Ugly’s duckling siblings: Laura Diorio, 13, Owen Doherty, 12, Julian Sarin, 8, and Gabriella Scerbo, 11. All four live locally and auditioned for the production as part of an “open call” for younger performers from around Monmouth County.
The production is directed by Matt Pfeiffer, with music direction by Wayne Barker and choreography by Jenn Rose.
The Ugly Duckling—the basis of Honk! —is one of my favorite stories. It’s for anyone who has ever felt different, for any reason,” says Artistic Director John Dias. “This wonderful retelling has charm and heart, plus a witty, terrific score. Honk! calls to mind some of the American theater’s greatest musicals, and we have an extraordinary company of great Broadway performers to bring it to life. And, I’m delighted to have Matt Pfeiffer back to direct his third holiday production, an important tradition at this theater.”
Performances will run at Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Ave., Red Bank through Sunday, Jan. 1. The opening night performance is Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $25 for youth under age 18 and adult prices start at $50.
Call (732) 345-1400 or order online at www.trtc.org.