Horizon Youth Theatre’s “Honk!” delivers important message with smile

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Horizon Youth Theatre is ready to make some noise. This weekend the youth troupe will stage “Honk!” a contemporary musical retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s story “The Ugly Duckling.” The musical will be performed at First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster St., Friday, June 17, and Saturday, June 18, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 19, at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children. Visit http://horizonyouththeatre.org/product/honk/. Director Cassie Greenlee said the musical is a perfect fit for the young troupe — a fun show with a message. The script was written for a cast of 12 with most actors playing multiple roles. Instead Horizon cast an actor for every part. That meant a role for all those who came out for auditions. That’s a cast of 37, and there’s plenty for them to do. “The secondary characters may be only in one scene but they have a big song or a big part, so we’re able to showcase the talent Horizon has,” Greenlee said. All the members of the cast “have a chance to shine.” That means they all “have a large chunk of responsibility.” Many are “stepping out of their comfort zone, maybe singing solo for first time.” “It’s important to push them out of those comfort zones a little bit and they’ve risen to the challenge,” Greenlee said. Sky Frishman, 16, auditioned for the show because of that wealth of parts. She wasn’t aiming for a particular role, she just wanted to be part of the show. “There were so many good roles,” she said. She’s playing one of the leads as Ida, the Ugly Duckling’s mother. A veteran of eight years with Horizon, she said, she hasn’t had that many leads. Now as Ida, the Toledo School for the Arts student has a number of songs to learn. That’s a challenge, she said. It’s also what Horizon Youth Theatre is about.  The troupe accepts children “no matter how much experience you have, just to learn and grow.” That’s what she’s done. Frishman remembers how “cool” it was when she was just starting – her first show was “Sun and Moon” directed by founder Scott Regan – and teens were still performing with the troupe. Now, entering her senior year of high school, she’s one of those older students. “It’s come full circle,” she said. “I love Horizon Youth Theatre. They’re my home.” William Cagle, who plays the title role, is also a teen trouper. He last appeared with the troupe several summers ago in “Aladdin Jr.” Now getting ready to head off to Columbia University where he will study writing, Cagle came back for one more chance to work with Greenlee. “I’ve always been close to Cassie,” he said, adding, “I love working with kids.” A Maumee Country Day School graduate, he said that his Horizon experience helped him in his school theater experiences. As a freshman, he earned a large singing role in a Maumee Valley musical.  “I don’t think I would have been given something like that without the background” from Horizon Youth. He just wrapped up his school career portraying Daddy Warbucks in “Annie.” Cagle’s character’s nemesis the Cat is played by Thomas Long, 14. He said Horizon has nurtured his love of theater, and while he considered other options for high school, he decided on going to Bowling Green High because “the drama club is amazing.” Long likes being the villain, even if it is played for laughs. Long is 5’2” and Cagle tops 6 feet. Still the Cat is intent…

Horizon Youth casting “Honk!”

Horizon Youth Theatre is holding auditions for their spring musical, “Honk!” (An ugly duckling story.) All students age 8-18 are welcome; no experience is necessary. A short solo piece will need to be prepared, accompanied (bring music) or a cappella; there will also be cold reads. Preparing a monologue is optional. Auditions are at First United Methodist Church, 1526 E Wooster St, Bowling Green, on Sunday April 17 4:30-6:30 pm; or Monday April 18 6:30-8:30 pm (choose one but plan to stay the entire two hours). Callbacks are Tuesday 6:30 – 8:30. Scripts are available to be perused at Wood County Public Library on the second floor (may not be checked out); audition packets with more detailed information and sample monologues can be downloaded from the website here.