Upper Room Theatre Ministry Presents its 20th Annual Show

10 Things About HONK! an Upper Room Theatre Ministry Production

And why we recommend it for all ages!

Posted

Performed at All Saints Catholic Church Performing Arts Center

July 20-24 at 7:30 p.m., and July 25 at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets available at upperroomtickets.com 

1. It is a family-friend Broadway-performed musical. Honk! Is based upon the story of The Ugly Duckling with music by George Stiles and book & lyrics by Anthony Drewe. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry; It’s good! It’s written by the the same team that created the Broadway and London versions of the award-winning MARY POPPINS musical. It won the Olivier Award for the "Best Musical" beating out THE LION KING and MAMMA MIA. You’ll probably expect a lot of songs and silly dances and silly characters, and that’s all there, but it but also has a strong emotional center: the relationship between Ugly and his mom.

2. It is produced buy a community theater company with a nearly 20-year legacy. The Upper Room Theater Ministry started productions in the unairconditioned school gymnasium in 2002, and this year is the company's 20th show. It was intended to bring God to local community through theater, drawing in the large community. Today, it still draws upon members of All Saints Congregation, those in neighboring Catholic schools and churches and talent from the larger community. As the years progressed, the production has become more elaborate and professional, and it is now performed at All Saint’s Performing Arts Center. It still spreads a positive message of love and acceptance and is welcoming to all!

 

3. HONK! Is the latest production in a long serious of award-winning shows produced by the Upper Room Theater Ministry.  In recent years the company won BroadwayWorld’s ‘Community Theater of the Decade’ Award (2021), “Best Streaming Production of 2020,” for NO ONE IS ALONE; and “Best Community Theater Production of 2019” for MARY POPPINS. They also won Prince William County Arts Council’s “Outstanding Arts Organization of 2021.”

Their 2018 production of HELLO DOLLY! won five BroadwayWorld Awards for “Sound Design of the Decade,” “Costume Design of the Decade,” “Best Community Theater Production of 2018,” “Best Community Theater Across of 2018,” and “Best Community Theatre Actor of 2018.”

 

4. The show is really funny, mostly thanks to its physical comedy. Long-time URTM Director Rob Tessier, Teen Youth Minister at All Saints, has a theatre background and once performed as clown in Barnum and Bailey Circus. In HONK! he utilizes those clowning techniques . The ‘animals’ walk, talk, and dance in a silly ways, combining the mannerisms of people, animals and over-the-top performers. The actors embrace the physicality adding their own flairs. It helps to both distinguish the characters and helps them play off each other, and sets a humorous tone for the show.

Cat, played by Evan Owen, threatens Ugly, Timothy Burhouse.
Cat, played by Evan Owen, threatens Ugly, Timothy Burhouse.

 

5. It is really well cast! It is difficult to imagine anyone else but Timothy Burhouse starring as “Ugly.” The recent high school graduate brings a goofiness and gentleness to the character of the large, odd-looking chick, who unwittingly wins over the audience.  Burhouse was previously cast in the Fauquier Community Theater's production of THE WIZARD OF OZ and Colgan High School's LES MISERABLES.  He was also cast in Rooftop's production of SWEENEY TODD in 2020. This is his first starring role with URTM. Burhouse will attend Illinois Wesleyan University in the fall where he will pursue a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. 

Ida (Clare Galvin) is surprised to see what her son (Timothy Burhouse) looks like newly hatched.
Ida (Clare Galvin) is surprised to see what her son (Timothy Burhouse) looks like newly hatched.
Clare Galvin plays Ida, loving mom to Ugly and a brood of five other chicks. who emanates so much love and loyalty to her family-  it’s palpable. Galvin who performed as a backup singer for Patti LuPone brings her tremendous vocal talent. Galvin previously starred in INTO THE WOODS, LES MISERABLES and PETER PAN.

Evan Owen, is a new comer to URTM theater, playing the sneaky Tom Cat. The rising junior at St. John the Great High School, nails the mustache-twirling villainous feline with the added touches of ballet movements and perfect delivery of his conniving plans.

 

6. The characters are animals that behave like people. When we first see the barnyard animals they are more recognizable as towns people than animals. The ducks have no bills and the cat no pointy ears. And that was a choice, said Tessier. He wanted to highlight the characters’ humanity in order to demonstrate the “dignity of human life at all stages.” Jessica Kresge designed the costumes and Fran Va De Voorde was the Costume Director.

While most of the leads are played by adults, the cast includes teens, grade 8 and greater.

Audience is introduced to a group of barnyard birds that seem a lot like small town people.
Audience is introduced to a group of barnyard birds that seem a lot like small town people.

7. The show is entertaining for children and adults. While everyone will appreciate the people squatting, swimming, quacking and honking, adults will also enjoy quips about marriage and mother-hood.  The songs are fun and the singing is really strong so much so that the cast makes it look easy. 

 

8. There is a message to the performance. And that message is love and acceptance. Different is okay, different can be good. Ugly is not accepted by his community, but he is sustained by the love of his mother. In the end, he becomes a beautiful swan and the community comes to realizes their mistake put the chick in jeopardy.

Ugly and Ida embrace after Ugly has matured into a swan.
Ugly and Ida embrace after Ugly has matured into a swan.

Tessier said it is a message of acceptance regardless of race, creed, gender or ability. To show the support of the community, the ministry invited special need children to attend the Friday night dress rehearsal. Tessier wants young people to know to “respect people who are different.” “We are all different, uniquely loved and given breath by our creator,” said Tessier.

 

9. There is a small cast but a large team behind the production. Although the cast was smaller this year- just 20 members, the show was only possible due to a large production team.

Cast includes Timothy Burhouse (Ugly), Clare Galvin (Ida), Evan Owen (Cat), Michael Pryor (Drake), Kara Lilly (Maureen), Nick Villacorte (Turkey), Eric White (Henrietta), Emily Silva (Grace), Mary Ellen Underwood (Beaky), Luke Tessier (Billy), Grace Tessier (Downy), Erin Cobbler (Fluff), Mia Dalusung (Bubbles), Grabrielle Buonocore (Lowbutt), Sarah Jane Scott (Queenie/Snowy), Sophia Grado (Penny/Pinkfoot), Anthony Smitha (Greylag/Father Swan), Marie Tessier (Dot/Mother Swan), Robert Debroeck (Bullfrog/Jay Bird), and Gabriel Blank (Barnacles/Cameraman).

Ugly stands up proud to realize he is actually swan.
Ugly stands up proud to realize he is actually swan.

This team includes Director/Producer Rob Tessier, Musical Director Cathy Drummond, Choreographer Vickie Taylor, Assistant Director Christine Maxted, Primary Rehearsal Pianist Bryan Jones, Production Stage Manage Brian Sledz, Production Manager/Set Director John Sledz, Technial Director Dan Martin, Costume Designer Jessica Kresge, Scenic Art Directors Laura Ponder and Todd Skile, General Manager Lynn Pechiney, Marketing Director Chris Zavadowski and Publicity Coordinator Janis Devore. (Even more crew members are listed in the program.)

10. The proceeds go towards a good cause. The proceeds increase service opportunities for members of the All Saints community locally and abroad. It also goes to support programs for teens and young adults, including producing future shows. 

Tickets for reserved seating for Upper Room Theatre’s 20th anniversary production are now available at UpperRoomTickets.com.

Readers can make a donation to the mission at SupportUpperRoom.com.

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