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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

HONK! The Musical: Mill City Productions Bring It On

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Thursday, November 03, 2005

"Cat" Marceau and Erin Marceau act as a "duckling" and a "frog" in the Mill City Productions presentation of "HONK!The Musical."
North Adams – Mill City Productions actors, dancers, and singers will bring the story of the “Ugly Duckling” to the stage beginning Nov. 3 with a clever and lively performance of “HONK! The Musical.”

The curtain is set to go up at 7 p.m. at the St. John’s Episcopal Church parish hall at 59 Summer St.. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children, senior citizens, and students. Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, and 2 p.m. on Nov. 6, Nov. 12, and Nov. 13.

During a Nov. 2 dress rehearsal, the diverse theater troupe delivered a rousing performance. Young children shared the stage with adults as the musical by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe and based on Hans Christian Andersen tale wound its’ way from the nest to the sky.

Solid Performances


Joshua Sprague in character as "Ugly."
Joshua Sprague tackles the role of “Ugly,” who wanders from his nest and discovers the best and the worst of the outside world. During the rehearsal, Sprague proved himself an expressive and talented actor as he brought “Ugly” through a series of emotional highs and lows. Sarah Simon, cast as the maternal “Ida,” delivered a mother’s sorrow, worries, and ultimate pride to the stage through a very believable performance.

The entire cast brought personality and pizzazz to the performance; of special note are Staci Downey, who brings a rather frisky feline named “Queenie” to life and Mollie Simon, who apparently understands the nature of a sly tomcat very well.

Cassie Barlow’s well-feathered chicken role and David Costas’ “bullfrog” performance are also well worth the price of a ticket, as is a graceful dance solo delivered by choreographer Liz Urban.

The Director Says...

Working with a large cast of actors of varying age was a “wonderful experience,” said Director Mike Grogan. Grogan has previously directed mostly one-act plays, he said.

“This is my first time directing a musical. It was really fun directing children and adults. This is such a talented group and I’d be happy to do this again.”

City residents David Simon and his wife Sheri are among the theater company’s organizers. David Simon is a city firefighter and fire educator; while performing in the musical, Simon is also a “father swan” and sports a white tuxedo.

Sheri Simon acts the role of a white-fabric clad “mother swan.”

Pamela Langlois served as costume director and Glenn Rutan is the set designer and lead builder. On Nov. 2, Juliana Haubrigh of Williamstown was at the dress rehearsal constructing a fabric "ice tunnel" to be used during the production.

Cassie Barlow as a "cackling hen" and Staci Downey as the feline temptress "Queenie"


"I Call It Community"

Haubrigh recently moved to the area from New York City and has a master’s degree in set design. She is employed at the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation and said that Mill City actors provided the scary characters that appeared at a “haunted house” sponsored by the WRLF.

“They did a great job,” she said. “I’m returning the favor. This is what’s so great about theater; you can get families together and put on a show.”


Dave Costas as "Bullfrog"
David and Sheri Simon worked very hard to launch the troupe and continue pouring their volunteer efforts into the non-profit entity, Haubrigh said.

“Sheri and Dave should get an award for all they’ve done,” she said.

As the smaller children – dressed as “ducklings,” “frogs,” and “snowflakes” – prepared to take the stage, David Simon talked about the dynamic of the performing arts initiative.

“Take a look at what we have happening here,” he said. “We have a real mix of people. We’ve got older adults, we’ve got small children, we have school children and we have schoolteachers. It’s called ‘community theater,’ I call it community.”

"Ugly" finds he isn't ugly anymore.


Advance tickets may be reserved by contacting Sheri Simon at 413-663-7879. Mill City Productions hosts a www.millcityproductions.org Internet web site.

A multi-photograph “HONK! The Musical” slideshow will be posted at www.iberkshires.com on Nov. 4.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.

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