Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Nature Coast High's theater department presents the anti-bullying show 'Honk!'

Ugly, played by Jacob Rice, is comforted by his mother, Ida, played by Julia Rifino, in the Shark Theatre production of Honk! at Nature Coast High. Theater teacher Lori Erickson finds it a timely production.

Courtesy of Tim Erickson

Ugly, played by Jacob Rice, is comforted by his mother, Ida, played by Julia Rifino, in the Shark Theatre production of Honk! at Nature Coast High. Theater teacher Lori Erickson finds it a timely production.

Nearly everyone has felt, at least once in a while, like an odd duck. And though it's said that it is our differences that make us special, they can also bring on feelings of loneliness and, even worse, fuel intolerance and bullying by others.

Because of this, Lori Erickson, theater teacher at Nature Coast Technical High School, has long wanted to put together a production of the musical comedy Honk!, a contemporary retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic The Ugly Duckling.

This year, she felt the time was right.

"Its message is one of tolerance and accepting diversity," said Erickson, the show's director. "It has an anti-bullying message. And it's timely."

However, the main reason Erickson wanted to put on the show is because she was surprised at how few people have heard about it.

"It is marvelous, delightful, heartwarming and funny on many levels," Erickson said. "Adults will love it for reasons different than why the kids love it. . . . It's smart and clever."

The Shark Theatre production, which kicked off Thursday, will continue with performances today and Saturday at the Black Box Theatre on Nature Coast's campus.

The family musical features music by George Stiles, with book and lyrics by Anthony Drewe. It is the story of Ugly, who is much different from his "normal" duckling siblings. Ugly is shunned by everyone, except for his mother, Ida, who appreciates him for who he is. Nature Coast juniors Jacob Rice and Julia Rifino star as Ugly and Ida, respectively.

Local theater patrons will recognize both performers, as each have won Stage West awards as rising stars, and most recently performed together in Nature Coast's production of Kindertransport and Stage West's summer production of Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr.

Rice, 17, said the role of Ugly has given him a new perspective on how he views others.

"I sing a solo called Different," he said. "And this is a role that really made me look at things in a different way. . . . I like how quirky and truly good Ugly is. There is no badness in him. He has a good heart."

One of Rice's favorite scenes is when he sings You Can Play With Your Food, a duet with a villainous tap-dancing cat who wants to eat Ugly.

Rifino, also 17, faces a new challenge with the motherly role of Ida.

"It's definitely a different type of role for me," Rifino said. "This past fall I was a 9-year-old Jewish child in Kindertransport. Now I'm a mother. It's very, very different and I must look at things from a totally different perspective."

Rifino's favorite scene is when she is teaching Ugly to swim, and they sing a duet, Hold Your Head Up High.

"They share their love for each other," Rifino said. "It's a cute scene of mother-son bonding that's quirky and clever."

Along with a cast of 16 students from Nature Coast, elementary students from Chocachatti Elementary and Challenger K-8 will perform as ducklings and froglets. Central High School teacher David George makes an appearance as a bullfrog who tries to help Ugly find some self-esteem. And Nature Coast teachers Rosemary Poluchowicz and Dominic Orlando have cameos as Mother and Father Swan.

"It's a huge collaboration for us," Erickson said. "And the little guys keep big ones on their toes."

Though the show's characters are not dressed as animals, bright, colorful costumes help distinguish the various animals on the farm. Special effects, including a scene when it snows on stage, help bring a bit of magic to the show.

"It's a beautiful set," Erickson said. "And the show has been really, really fun to put together."

.if you go

Shark Theatre presents Honk!

When: 7 p.m. today and

Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Black Box Theatre at Nature Coast Technical High School, 4057 California St., south of Brooksville.

Tickets: $10 for adults, $8 for students. Children 5 and younger will not be permitted.

Call: To reserve tickets or for information, call (352) 797-7088, ext. 296.

Nature Coast High's theater department presents the anti-bullying show 'Honk!' 05/03/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 3, 2012 1:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays vs. Cubs in Joe Maddon's return to Trop

    Blogs

    Joe Maddon's return to the Trop will be the main story tonight, but there is still a baseball game to be played, between a Cubs team surging toward another division title with six straight wins and a Rays team struggling to keep alive a longshot bid for the second AL wildcard spot.

    RHP Chris Archer will be on …

  2. Review: 'Channel Zero: No-End House' pumps up the prestige horror

    Blogs

    In its second season, Channel Zero cements itself as one of the scariest shows on television.

    Amy Forsyth in Channel Zero: No-End House.
  3. Utilities face barrage of questions as power returns to Tampa Bay

    Energy

    Nearly all of Tampa Bay has electricity again a week after Hurricane Irma shredded the power grid, but elected officials here say the problem is far from solved.

    Duke Energy's Scott Crellin (right) works to cut tree limbs from a power line along S Pinellas Avenue as apprentice lineman Nick Ceccarini looks on Sept. 11, the day after Hurricane Irma struck Florida. [CHRIS URSO  |   Times]
  4. Yep, 2017 hurricane season really is more intense than normal

    Hurricanes

    It was only 25 days ago that Hurricane Harvey made landfall.

    A handout satellite image from Sept. 8, 2017, of, from left, Tropical Storm Katia, Hurricane Irma and Tropical Storm Jose, which would intensify into a hurricane. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has been unusually active. There have been 13 named storms this year. Only four other seasons since 1995 have had that many by Sept. 18. [NASA/NOAA GOES Project via the New York Times]
  5. Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs could run into their nemesis

    Bucs

    Greg Auman finishes wrapping up the Bucs' win against the Chicago Bears and looks ahead to Sunday's game at Minnesota, where Tampa Bay could run into nemesis Case Keenum, in our latest Cannon Fodder …

    Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) sacks Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) during a 2016 game. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]