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The student news site of Cedarburg High School

Common Sense

the student newspaper site of Cedarburg High School, Cedarburg, Wisconsin

The student news site of Cedarburg High School

Common Sense

The student news site of Cedarburg High School

Common Sense

Honk!: a quackin’ good show

Taking a bedtime story to the stage, “Honk!” is a heartwarming tale with a message of not defining a person’s (or bird’s) worth by their appearance.

When mother duck Ida’s (junior Josie Witte) long-awaited clutch of eggs hatch, it’s apparent that Ugly (freshman Marissa Jacoby) is a little different from his fuzzy, yellow siblings. All the other barnyard birds, including his own father, Drake (junior Robbie Thao), ostracize Ugly for his unorthodox appearance. Only Ida and Cat (junior Keaton Blake) show him any affection. However, Cat is driven by hunger instead of familial love.

After narrowly escaping being turned into duck á l’orange in Cat’s kitchen, Ugly becomes lost, and Ida sets out to find him. While on his journey home, Ugly meets militant geese, swanky domesticated animals, Bullfrog (freshman Lucien Gusdorf), who embraces self-love, and a pretty young swan, Penny (junior Ella Viera). Finally, the ugly duckling molts into an elegant swan as he is reunited with his mother in the midst of a harsh winter. Ugly returns home, celebrated as the “finest bird on the lake,” with Penny by his side.

The actors showcased their talent in both singing and conveying raw emotion. “Different” and “Every Tear a Mother Cries,” performed by Jacoby and Witte respectively, tugged on the audience’s heartstrings as the two lamented the challenges they were facing. Conversely, “Play With Your Food,” the Cat’s jazzy, playful anthem, elicited some laughter from the crowd. “Together,” performed by house hen Lowbutt (senior Ruby Holtgreive), indoor feline Queenie (junior Celeste Kronstadt), and Blake, was an excellently dramatic scene, complete with complicated romantic tension and competitive tangoing. The pit orchestra provided a pleasant medley that meshed well with the singing and completed the entire experience.

A scene that illuminated the technical nature of the show was “Hold Your Head Up High,” wherein Witte takes Jacoby for their first swim. The swirling blue lights and sea of fish puppets encircling the actors gave a hypnotic, lavish vibe to the whole scene that emphasized the magical nature of Ugly’s first swim. Junior Natalie Reitz, who maneuvered a fish during the choreography, said that the fish’s tango offstage was fun to do.

Diving behind the scenes, we appreciate the attention to detail the stage crew showed. To build immersion, run crew was dressed as farmers to blend in with the barnyard background. Speaking of the setting, special shoutout to those who helped construct the human-sized paper-mache eggs. The oversized, storybook style of the set was brought to life through numerous set changes that represented passing seasons.

To lean into that storybook style, costume crew brought us period-esque aprons, fascinator hats, pinstripes and petticoats. Animal features were implied with baseball caps for duck bills, feathers on a coat for a molting bird and an ascot for a turkey’s wattle.

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