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After producing a virtual Halloween show and a fully on-line musical production for Christmas, Scaffolding Theatre Company of Las Cruces is streaming "Honk! Jr." The Ugly Duckling story has been set to music by George Stiles with book and lyrics by Anthony Drewe.
Rehearsals began in January and were hosted mostly online, allowing for participants from Las Cruces, El Paso, Albuquerque, Oklahoma, New York City and even England.
Delaney Sivils, a freshman at Arrowhead Early College High School, plays the Cat who hungrily pursues the Ugly Duckling.
“It's a lovely reminder for people of all ages about the power of our actions,” Delaney said.
With in-person theatrical performances missing from the Las Cruces community for nearly a year, this is an ongoing way to bring artists together.
Telling a story for all ages, the 28-member cast ranges from 5-85 years old.
Senior cast member Caryl Kotulak plays the grand duck, Grace.
"When I saw the children's online performance of the musical ‘Elf’ in December, I called Megan and said, 'My only complaint is that I didn't get to be in it.' It's wonderful to see children having so much fun."
I created a package of custom materials for each participant and delivered scripts, art supplies and more to front porches or through the mail.
"It was really fun making art for the backgrounds and costumes in the show, and being creative in that way, too," said 9-year-old Kayla Bradford.
The father of the Ugly Duckling is played by Michael DeShields, a first-grade teacher in New York City. The children have been able to hear him describe how different his circumstances are there than ours are here.
The mother of the Ugly Duckling is played by El Paso Opera resident artist Holly Mesarch.
"So much of the pandemic has been spent in isolation, and to safely collaborate and connect with other people across the country and in my community has boosted my spirits,” Holly said. “And with five sons at home, singing about 'The Joy of Motherhood' has been a humorous way to keep things in perspective."
Fittingly, the family-friendly show features several real-life families, including Mandy Bradford and her daughters, Maya and Kayla; Holly Mesarch and her sons, Eman and Brandt; Ezequiel Wyatt and his father, Jason; twins Waylon and Marley Yerxa; and siblings Penny, Benjamin and Charlie Bever.
To rent the production as licensed by Music Theatre International, visit www.showtix4u.com and search "Scaffolding." Streaming access is $10. It can also be arranged by calling 575-644-7136. The show is available online through March 16.