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Encore Stage & Studio Honk, Jr.

By • Jan 12th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
Honk, Jr.
Encore Stage & Studio
Thomas Jefferson Theater, Arlington, VA
Through January 19th
1:45 with one intermission
$12/$10 Children, Students, and Seniors
Reviewed January 11th, 2013

Encore Stage and Studio opened the musical Honk, Jr. Friday evening. Honk, Jr. is a musical based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, with book by Anthony Drewe, music by George Stiles, and lyrics by Anthony Drewe. Ugly, a huge “duckling” is teased by his siblings, father and others at their pond. So Ugly goes with his new friend, Cat, for a meal. Ugly escapes from Cat, but gets lost while returning to his pond. He has many adventures while away from home. And at the end returns home discovering who he really is.

The actors and technicians of Encore’s shows are students aged 9 to 18. Many are having their first on-stage experiences through Encore Stage and Studio. The opening night performance had its amusing moments, with a few technical problems that should be worked out over the show’s two-week performance run.

Notable moments include Ida (Emily Richter) and Drake (Gus Hebner), parents of Ugly (Tyler Lazzari), talking with other animals about their lives, a bullfrog (Rosie Coolidge) with a few very punny lines and the wonderful song “Warts and All” and a cat (Arami McCloskey) desperately trying to find her supper. Pay close attention to the lines throughout the show, as there are many puns sprinkled throughout.

The music was quite loud, especially over many of the singers’ unmiked voices. Group numbers were fine, but the words of most of the solos were difficult to hear. Debra Leonard’s costumes were wonderful, from the many birds to the fish and frogs. The sound cue and effect sequence at the end of the first act still needed a bit of work. When done correctly, the act will end with both a flash of laughter and shock at the outcome of the Geese family’s decision to trust the Cat.

Encore is also sponsoring a food drive, by collecting canned goods in the lobby before and after each performance. Their next show is Big Bad, a trial of the Big Bad Wolf, opening on February 22nd.

Photo Gallery

Arami McCloskey as 'Cat' and Tyler Lazzari as 'Ugly' The Duck family
Arami McCloskey as ‘Cat’ and Tyler Lazzari as ‘Ugly’
The Duck family
Tyler Lazzari as 'Ugly' and Emily Richter as 'Ida' All the critters
Tyler Lazzari as ‘Ugly’ and Emily Richter as ‘Ida’
All the critters

Photos by Larry McClemons

Disclaimer: Encore Stage provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has performed in local productions, but prefers to be behind the scenes. Mike earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the Online News Association.

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