Schoolcraft Play Features the Tale of the Ugly Duckling

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Seniors Ben Sampley and Phillip Stafford rehearse their parts in Honk! It will be performed at the Schoolcraft Performing Arts Center.

By Sue Moore

This spring the Schoolcraft Drama Club will present Honk!, a musical retelling of the Ugly Duckling story with a cast and crew including both high school and middle school students. It will be performed March 21 and March 22 at 7 p.m., March 23 at 2 and 7 p.m., and March 24 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for general admission, $7 for students and seniors, and are available at the door or through this website

In Honk!, the Ugly Duckling, senior Ben Sampley, must go on a journey of self-discovery after being separated from his mother, Ida, played by senior Kiaha Grey. The machinations of the hungry Cat, sophomore Isabella Parker, and the scorn of the other ducks and chickens in the duck yard is hard on the Ugly Duckling. Along the way he meets a full cast of cats, chickens, military geese, bullfrogs, tadpoles, and a beautiful young swan named Penny, played by senior Bridgett Crofoot. Through many trials and dangers Ugly comes to accept his fate as an outcast, only to discover that his very existence is not what it seems. Guided by the wise words of the bullfrog, played by senior Phillip Stafford, Ugly and his duck yard family come to understand that someone is always going to love you, warts and all.

“I chose Honk! as a good first show to integrate the middle school into the musical program,” Director Leigh Fryling explained. “Musicals require a lot of extra help. They are usually larger productions. In the future, the spring musical will likely be a joint effort between the middle and high school. The fall play, which has more adult themes, will be exclusively performed by the High School.”

Honk! is an all ages friendly show. “It’s important to make sure that everyone in Schoolcraft Schools is getting an opportunity to enjoy the theatre and become excited to support or become part of our program,” Fryling said. She took over the directorial responsibilities in 2018 from long-time Drama Club director, Christine Sargeant.

“This is the year of the seniors, we have 10 seniors involved in the show. We will be very sorry to lose them at the end of the year,” Fryling said. “They are almost a third of the entire company. Because so many of them are graduating out of the program, we may have to consider some smaller shows going forward until our numbers go back up. Of the five major leads in the show, four of them are performed by seniors.”

A generous donation from Edward Jones of Schoolcraft meant the drama club was able to take students on a field trip to see a show at Western Michigan University. They were given a guided tour of the facilities and a talk-back with the cast, crew, and designers of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”. “We are looking forward to adding more opportunities for the drama students, and are excitedly planning our first major fundraiser, a murder mystery spaghetti dinner in late May.

“We were able with a donation from last years’ senior class to afford a new set of stage microphones. We are hoping with the proceeds of the murder mystery fundraiser to revamp/remodel our costume shop and set shop. We have big plans for the future,” Fryling said.

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