December 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th, 2005
Photo Shoot Day (Dress Rehearsal)
For images of the show visit Bari Miller's Website. You can also click on the side-bar to see images of the dressing-rooms & dress rehearsals. Enjoy!
||Rowan Woods Ediger
Farmyard & Cottage Animals
|Webbie - Maureen's daughter
|| Morgan Carothers
|Abigaile - Maureen's daughter
|Daisy - Henrietta's daughter
|Matilda - Henrietta's daughter
|Grace & Snow Queen
|Jay Bird & Pattie Partridge
|Bullfrog & Nelly Quail
|Mrs Bullfrog & Gloria Owl
|Greylag & Rooster
|Dot & Gwen Owl
|Pinkfoot & Izzy Quail
|Snowy & Jessie Owl
|Barnacles & Maggie Quail
|Queenie & Joss Quail
|Lowbutt & Ella Owl
|Ricky & Poppy Turkey
|Sue & Flippy Partridge
|Mandy & Crissy Partridge
The Cat & his Side-kicks
|Nim the Rat
|Tammy the Rat
Scene One: It's a splendid summer day on the farm. The shore of a small lake is in view. The opening number is initiated by Drake, the proud father-to-be, and we encounter not only this duck, but his mate, Ida, as well as other farmyard residents plus Cat (the villain of the piece) who has his eye on the soon-to-be-hatching eggs. The opening number is "A Poultry Tale," but there's nothing paltry about it; it's vital and high spirited. Ida tends her nest of four blue eggs and a curious looking large--quite large-- brown one. She's bossy and irritable and complains to Drake about her cramped quarters, but nonetheless, after Drake exits, Ida sings affectionately about "The Joy of Motherhood" with her neighboring hen, Maureen, exchanging observations on the anguish and happiness of bearing children just as the eggs start cracking. Four ducklings appear. Maureen is sent off in search of Drake to break the good news as the newborns explore their new world, but mother Ida is strict!
and lays down a few laws such as "no plankton between meals."
Drake is back to meet the new arrivals and joyously races them down to the lake for their first dip. Ida, alone, contemplates the last remaining, unhatched egg--the oversized one--and sings "Different," a wistful meditation on this "larger grade/Of all the other eggs I've ever laid." Some cracking sounds. The shell splits apart and Ugly waddles out not with a "quack" but a "honk!" as the gigantic newborn, rather than being cradled in his mother's arms, hoists Ida up on his shoulders. She is taken aback by the size of him but soon all is well between mother and her awkward offspring. She is reconciled to his abnormal size and his peculiar form of expression, his "honk," as they make their way to the pond to join his siblings for his first swimming lesson. With "Hold Your Head Up High" Ida instructs Ugly of the various joys and dangers while swimming. He is eager and exhilarated until on shore he comes to meet Drake and the ducklings who humiliate the awkward parvenu singing "!
Look at Him." Ida tries desperately to defend Ugly but the ducklings taunt and tease him. Even the neighboring turkeys, hens, and other barnyard residents join in making fun of the big bird.
Joining the congregation, disguised as a photographer with a camera and tripod and partially hidden under a black hood is Cat who has his eye on Ugly as a succulent meal. The ducklings are posing for what resembles a class photo. Ugly suffers further humiliation from the members of the barnyard when they gather for a taste of some French bread with Grace, visiting royalty. Ugly is crowded out. Alone, hungry, and miserable he laments his fate being "Different" as the devious Cat sidles up to Ugly, commiserates, and leads him astray. Ida realizes her youngster is missing and organizes a search.
Now we are in Cat's kitchen and the scene is presented * la Julia Child's cooking program preparing a delectable repast for her viewers. Cat sings "Play with Your Food" as the innocent but hungry Ugly joins in never realizing he's cooking his own goose. (There are a few Briticisms in the lyric such as "chivvy" meaning to chase after, "tuck" meaning to eat heartily, and "moggy" which is a house cat.) But when Ugly realizes he's to be the main course on Cat's menu, he manages to escape. Yet, out on his own in a hostile world he realizes he's lost.
Meanwhile, back at the barnyard, Ida laments for her lost offspring, and her fair-feathered friends sing "The Elegy," a pensive lullaby-like dirge, but Ida keeps hoping that Ugly is out there somewhere and will find his way home. The search for the missing fowl becomes a media event complete with cameras, lights, and interviews. Of course, the vain papa, Drake, hogs the spotlight while poor Ida croons her heartbreaking "Every Tear a Mother Cries" and sets out on her journey in search of her not-so-little, lost Ugly.
On the desolate marshlands Ugly asks directions from a goose named Greylag and his wife Dot. It's the hunting season and they warn Ugly to keep out of sight. The military-minded Greylag assembles a squadron of geese to aid the lost stranger as the ensemble sings "The Wild Goose Chase," a rousing march. Lo and behold! Who should pop up on the scene but Cat! Assuring the geese that the hunters have put away their guns and it's safe to fly, the flock takes off in search of Ugly's mom leaving the poor lost soul safely behind. But as soon as the search party is airborne, shots ring out and feathers fly. Ugly now knows that Cat is deception purr-sonified and not to be trusted. He's learned a lesson, but what can he do now?
A reprise of "Hold Your Head Up High" lifts Ugly's spirits for a bit as he seems to hear his mother's voice intone Act One's finale of hope and courage in the face of adversity. As the curtain descends, the ominous shadow of an Old Woman approaches as Ugly seeks escape through a door leading into a small cottage.
Scene One: Ugly is now inside the Old Woman's cottage. As he hears her in the next room with her cat Queenie and a pet hen named Lowbutt, he dashes behind the living room sofa. As the fastidious Lowbutt enters, she notices a footprint on the carpet and traces it to Ugly. They establish a certain guarded rapport and Ugly feels fairly safe--even with Queenie, a domesticated cat who prefers seafood prepared by the Old Woman. "It Takes All Sorts" is a patter song sung by Lowbutt and Queenie in which these house pets applaud themselves for being civilized and sophisticated; they seldom have any truck with common riffraff such as this intruder.
To pass the time, the trio decide to watch "America's Most Feathered" on television. It just so happens that Ugly's mom Ida is being interviewed, expressing her belief that her beloved Ugly is out there somewhere. Upon seeing her, Ugly cries out "Mama!" The doorbell rings. Who could it be? None other than the persistent Cat, faintly disguised as papa Drake. But Ugly sees through the deception.
Queenie and Cat suddenly discover one another, and Cat tears off his disguise in his irrepressible attraction to this flirtatious feline, and the two launch into a seductive number titled "Together" (delivered with an intriguing musical hiccup on the word "together"). One can imagine the pair embracing one another in a torrid tango, where "on the tiles/We will totter" and "make tin roofs/Seem hotter." (The reference, perhaps, nods toward the 1955 Tennessee Williams play, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"; another lyric phrase, "you could string a violin," of course, refers to the instrument's cat gut strings made from dried intestines of felines.) Throughout the song Lowbutt is trying to discourage the relationship, injecting comments on Queenie's flaws and shortcomings. Her motive is to maintain the status quo of the household where she and Queenie share the comforts and tranquillity of the cottage with the Old Woman. A low-life intruder such as Cat could upset the equilibrium, so Lo!
wbutt shoves Ugly out the door, sending him on his way so that Cat will follow in pursuit of the honker. True to form, Cat, despite his concupiscent attraction to Queenie, runs off after Ugly as the relieved Lowbutt consoles her seduced and abandoned house mate.
Meanwhile, back at the duckyard, Drake is burdened with minding the brood and voices his complaints about his tasks in "The Collage," an up-tempo, sock-it-to-'em number. Cut to Ida still in pursuit expressing another element of "The Collage." Cut to Ugly, lost out there somewhere, who encounters Penny, a lovely swan, tangled in fishing line. A chivalrous Ugly comes to her rescue. She gratefully suggests Ugly join her flock and fly south for the winter. Obviously attracted to this beauty, Ugly is tempted but declines, saying he's got to find his mother. Penny embraces Ugly in her wings and takes off with a "honk!" Ugly does a double-take and sings "Now I've Seen You," discovering love at first flight.
But he's not alone for long. The heart-sick Ugly encounters Bullfrog seated on a lily pad, and they realize they both have something in common--homeliness. The song, "Warts and All," follows in which Bullfrog (in a style reminiscent of vaudevillian Jimmy Durante) assures his new-found friend that "Someone's gonna love yer/Warts and all" and Ugly joins in reassured.
After Bullfrog and his backup singers, the Froglets, depart, the beam of a flashlight falls on Ugly and a Farmer is behind it and nets him. He'll make a fine dinner for the Farmer and his family. Cat pops up again and offers a proposition: he'll help Ugly escape the net and his fate on the Farmer's dining room table and at least get Ugly back to see his mother for a last farewell before he's on Cat's menu. Ugly recognizes he's between a rock and a hard cat so he agrees. Cat claws an opening in the net. The two cut out, and the scene ends with the Farmer's flashlight focusing on an empty net.
"The Blizzard" begins as Ugly and Cat make their way through a snowstorm. Completely buried in snow, Ugly stands like an ice sculpture, and Ida, having searched far and wide, recognizes her offspring and breaks into tears, fearing the worst--cold duck. The family of Swans, apparently somewhat off course from their journey south, tries to comfort her. Her warm, salty tears melt the snow concealing her Ugly. As the ice falls from his feathers, what emerges is a beautiful swan, and Ugly looks down to admire his handsome reflection in the puddle of melted snow. "I'm not a duck" he honks. "I'm a swan!" Ida and the handsome Ugly embrace. The beautiful Penny appears, and love is rekindled as she joins Ugly in a reprise: "Now I've Seen You."
Ida, in her motherly wisdom, recognizes true love when she sees it and despite the heartache of saying goodbye, sends Ugly off with his lovely, bright Penny. With a farewell hug, Ugly takes off with the Swan family as Ida reprises "Different." She follows the pattern of the flight as the swans disappear. When the music ends, behind her, Ida hears "Honk!" Penny and Ugly have circled back to be the premiere swans on the duck pond. Ugly tells his mother he's glad she raised him and loved him. And he's proud to be different and, frankly, he rather likes his honk. Ida beams with pride.
But wait a minute! Some unfinished business. Ugly taps the "other" snowman. The ice chips away and Cat breaks out singing "Melting Moggy" (remember? in Britain a "moggy" is a pet name for a house cat). But alas, after all this Cat has been through, we see him not only crack out, but also crack up. "I quit! I give up! I surrender!" and runs off screaming.
The finale: the beautiful pair of swans, Penny and Ugly, and the team of ducks reprise "Look at Him" and the Ducklings--so critical of their sibling rival in Act One--now sing that they've never seen "a finer bird" and that his honk which was the butt of their joke before is now "the best we've ever heard." Her highness Grace is back and offers Penny her Red Band, handing down her Signet Ring, or according to Her Grace, her "Cygnet" Ring. The whole cast of fine feathered friends sing out, recommending "Just believe/In yourself" as their parting message, "And you may find/In your own way/You're a swan."