Riverland musical to #039;HONK!#039;

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 24, 2003

Sara Albino is pretty sure most people will be able to relate to the main character in "HONK! The Ugly Duckling Musical."

"I think we've all been the ugly duckling at one time or another," said Albino, who plays the Ugly duckling's mother, Ida. "That's why I decided to audition for the show. It's one of my favorite children's stories."

Riverland Community College opens "HONK!" Friday at the Frank W. Bridges Theatre. The musical, by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, follows the traditional tale of "The Ugly Duckling" in a not-so-traditional way.

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"It's a British musical comedy," Albino said. "It has a lot of one-liners. The music is just an extension of the wit."

The musical takes place on a farm and focuses on ducks Ida and Drake and their family of five ducklings, one of which isn't quite the same as everyone else. As Ugly's neighbors and some of his family alienate him, he wanders from home. The trip leads to a surprising discovery about himself.

"You get to see so much of his personality and more of his inner strength," said Donovan Germain, who plays Ugly. "He's very strong. He can take everything that the barnyard animals throw at him."

The musical won an Olivier Award for Best New Musical of the 2000 season. Director Jerry Girton decided to put it on this spring because it's so new and he thinks it will appeal to both adults and children.

"It's the traditional 'Ugly Duckling' story with a nice twist to it," Girton said.

Germain compares it to a Disney movie in that it's geared toward children, but has humor adults also will appreciate.

A number of new faces will grace the Bridges auditorium stage. Children are part of the cast as are students who haven't performed at Riverland before.

"It's really awesome to do theater with some new people," Albino said.

Elijah Riley, 9, who plays one of Ugly's siblings, likes working with college students.

"They're always telling jokes," Riley said.

"HONK! The Ugly Duckling Musical" will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and April 30 through May 3 and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Black Barts/Nemitz's or by calling the box office at 433-0595.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at cari.quam@austindailyherald.com