Honk!, the anthropomorphic musical that skunked The Lion King as Best New Musical in the 2000 Olivier Awards in London, makes its Chicago premiere Jan. 23, opening the 2002 season at Marriott Theatre in the Chicago area.
The British musical by lyricist-librettist Anthony Drewe and composer George Stiles began in London and has played regionally in the U.S., but has not been seen on Broadway as of yet. The broad show, on a theme of acceptance and being different, is based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling." Drewe directs the resident production, which officially opens Jan. 30. Performances continue to March 31.
Paul Slade Smith plays Ugly, the duck who doesn't look like any of the other ducklings in the nest; Paula Scrofano is Ida, his mother; and Ron Rains is Drake, the father. On his web-footed journey of self-discovery, Ugly meets Kenny Ingram as Cat, Don Forston as Bullfrog, Hollis Resnik as Queenie (a cat), Patrick Gagnon as Jaybird, Cristen Paige as Penny (a swan), Mary Robin Roth as Lowbutt (a chicken) and Neda Spears as Weathergirl. The duckling ensemble includes Dana Parker, Melissa Peterson, Ben Ratskoff and Christopher Tolbert.
Marc Robin, who staged an American "Ugly Duckling" musical, Everything's Ducky, in Skokie's Northlight Theatre in December, choreographs Honk!
Designers are Peter McKintosh (set, costumes and props), Nancy Missimi (Marriott's resident costume designer), Diane Williams (lighting) and Duncan Edwards (sound). Patti Garwood conducts the orchestra. The production's musical director is Brad Haak (who also music-directed Northlight's Ducky). Londoners Drewe and Stiles also wrote the musicals, Tutankhamun, Peter Pan and the Cameron Mackintosh-produced Just So, as well as revues.
Tickets range $35-$40. Marriott Theatre is at 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire, IL. For reservations, call (847) 634 0200. Visit MarriottTheatre.com.
The 2002 Marriott Theatre season includes Damn Yankees, Funny Girl and Carousel. Its planned staging of a new musical, Robin Hood, has been postponed.
Marriott Theatre produces Equity musical theatre productions year round in their intimate arena theatre designed with only nine rows so "everyone has the best seat in the house," according to the website.
Marriott is the second most-subscribed theatre in the country, luring over 400,000 people to Lincolnshire each year. The theatre is housed within the 168-acre Marriott Resort complex in suburban Lincolnshire.
— By Kenneth Jones