Honk if you enjoy youth theater

by W. Fred Crow
Fremont Bulletin – January 17, 2008

Star Struck Musical Theatre brings to life the award-winning stage production, “HONK! The Ugly Duckling Musical,” a delightful family pleasure everyone can enjoy. Lori Stokes directs the cast of more than 45 geese and ducks and chickens and fish and frogs and cats and swans, with a polished flair. This is community theater and the cast is mostly young people, but the production comes off as professional. From the set to costumes to lighting to the music to the singing, “HONK!” is good theater.

Natalie Hawkins (Ida) wows us with her wonderful vocals when showing a mother’s angst for her ugly duckling, “Different,” and then when encouraging him with “Hold Your Head Up High.” Jordan Aragon (Ugly) is agreeably trusting and confused playing the little lost duckling. He’s separated from his family and is helped by the cat, who only wants to help himself. James J. Jones (The Cat) plays the feline with a measured abandon, always on the edge with just a hint on manic. Benjy Hall (Drake) produces pleasing vocals as the father left to care for the brood as mom goes hunting for her son. The large ensemble added to the production success singing and dancing with enjoyable precision.

The underlying story carries a strong moral about self acceptance and being accepting of others who may be look, act, and sound different, and should please all parents. The presentation should please most children; the production value should please most all adults.

Star Struck’s musical production of “HONK!” plays through Jan. 27 at the Smith Center at Ohlone College, Fremont. The theater is located at 43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont. For ticket information, call 659-1319.