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The Ugly Duckling
The Ugly Duckling with music by Debra Kaye and book and lyrics by Brenda Bell originally opened in October of 1999 at the The Little Theatre on West 63rd Street in NYC.
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The story begins when a swan's egg has somehow gotten into a Mother Duck's nest along with three of her own duck eggs. When the eggs finally hatch, it becomes painfully clear that the baby swan is not like any other duck in the barnyard. At first Mother is concerned that he may be a turkey chick, but once he jumps in the water, it is obvious that he is no turkey and Mother is quite proud. Unfortunately, the rest of the barnyard is not impressed with his abilities. He immediately becomes known as the ugly duckling. Everyone teases and pecks at him. Even though his mother tries to protect and console him, reassuring him that it's okay to be different, he finally can bear it no longer and runs away.
Soon he finds himself in a distant marsh where he meets a new friend, the Wild Duck. The Wild Duck doesn't mind the way he looks and the two become great pals. But the poor ugly duckling is not very lucky and soon the two become separated when hunters show up in the marsh. Unsure of his best friends fate, he wanders on alone. Along his journey he meets many interesting characters and finds himself in difficult situations. Somehow, our little hero always keeps his chin up and pulls through.
Finally, it is Spring again and a wondrous thing has happened; the ugly duckling has been transformed from a gawky, gray bird to a magnificent swan. And wouldn't you know, he is not at all proud. For a pure heart is never proud, and our little friend has the purest of hearts. And so (you guessed it) he lives happily ever after.
The Pre-show Workshop
In addition to the 50-minute musical, the audience receives a special treat - interactive arts workshops prior to the performance. The kids and their families actually make part of the set, they get to see it on-stage during the performance, and then take it home as a souvenir. During the hands-on workshops, the audience participates in the singing and dancing and learns how the music and dance in the show bring the literature to life. Now when they watch the show, they are familiar with the art forms represented in the production.
For each production we feature a guest artist's work. In "The Ugly Duckling", we are featuring works by Claude Monet. The children will never forget seeing Monet's little Japanese Bridge and making a water lily to go under it.
The whole experience (pre-show workshop and actual show) is approximately two hours long.
About Hans Christian Andersen
Like the Ugly Duckling, Hans Christian Andersen was born into the humblest of situations on April 2, 1805. With nothing to sustain him but sheer will and determination, Hans left his little hometown of Odense, Denmark and headed for Copenhagen. The adventures that lie ahead were as exciting as any tale he would come to write. He managed to obtain a full education, the favor of prominent and influential society people, and the admiration of his artistic peers, all while entertaining young and old with what would become his timeless classics. He wrote a variety of plays, novels, travel articles, and stories but was best know for his children's fables. He wrote "The Ugly Duckling" in 1844 and enjoyed a full a prosperous career until he died at age 70.
Hans once said "The whole world is a series of marvels, but we're so used to them that we call them everyday things!"
For the better part of two centuries, Hans Christian Andersen has continued to remind us of the everyday marvels in all our lives.
The Cast and Crew of the 2006 production
Todd Eric Hawkins, Brenda Bell, Stefanie Smith, Happy McPartlin, Stephen McFarland, Brittney Jensen and Matthew G. Myers
Production Staff & Credits
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