'Honk!' To Debut Behind Veteran Cast

A cast of 108 from the Oconee Youth Playhouse will perform “Honk!” beginning Friday night at the Oconee County Civic Center. This is the third performance of the play by the OYP since 2001.

In the last 10 years, Collier Cobb has developed from a frog, to a duckling, to a mother duck. Her acting and musical career has followed suit.

Cobb, a junior at , will partner with a fellow lead actor, Dayne Joyner, a senior at North Oconee, to perform “Honk!” --a musical spinoff of “The Ugly Duckling.”

Cobb and Joyner, as Ida and Ugly, are part of a cast of 108 from the who will perform “Honk!” beginning Friday night at the . This is the third performance of the play by the OYP since 2001, when Cobb began her career as a frog in the show.

“It was my first introduction into musical theatre, which I now want to pursue as a career,” said Cobb, who will begin her 19th show overall. “So it was a very important step to take.”

As a duckling in 2006, Cobb was given lines to recite; now she’s in the spotlight as a lead character, the mother of Ugly.

“This show has kind of shown my progression as I’ve moved through musical theatre,” she said.

Because of that, Cobb said she’s allowed to reveal her own personality in the role of Ida.

Co-director Shane Hannon said he got the idea to do the show after watching it at a professional theatre in 2000 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Then a CD of the music arrived in the mail, and he was sold.

“It seemed like a good show to put kids in,” said Hannon, who co-directs the show with his wife, Terra. “It’s a show that could have a wide variety. You could have young kids, older kids. That’s always a nice dynamic.”

Hannon said the script is written to tell jokes that appeal to all ages.

“It’s not just a kiddy show,” he said. “It’s sophisticated.”

Joyner said the cast watched a DVD of previous versions of the show, but it wants to bring its own character to the performance.

“Instead of trying to copy what they’ve done in the past,” Joyner said, “we try to develop our own take on it.”

Joyner and Cobb are close friends off stage, and they’ve performed at least five other shows together. But Cobb said this is the first one where they play opposite roles.

“I was glad that I got someone that I am that close to, to be my son,” Cobb said. “I felt more comfortable with him. This is really, really fun to get to do this, because we are such good friends.”

Added Joyner, “It’s so much fun to work with her, because she’s probably one of the strongest links to the show. She can really get into her moments, and she’s so good at keeping the focus. She really drives me in some of the more serious scenes.”

The group has rehearsed at the OYP studio since mid-March, but moved its practices to the Civic Center on Sunday. At the dress rehearsal on Thursday night, Joyner said the cast was anxious to have its first show.

“We’re definitely excited,” said Joyner, who plans to attend Brigham Young University next school year. “It’s been a long process. Stressful at times, and very exhausting, but we’re all super excited and can’t wait.”

Among other featured roles, North Oconee drama teacher Drew Doss opens the play as the Rooster, and also plays the Bullfrog. University of Georgia senior Joe McAnulty plays the Cat, and freshman Andrew Youngerman doubles as Ugly’s father, Drake, and a goose named Greylag.

At London’s version of the Tony Awards, the musical won the 2000 Olivier Award for Best Musical, beating “The Lion King” and “Mamma Mia.”

The show debuts this weekend, and resumes April 22 and 23.  Shows are at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 17.  Tickets cost $12-16 and are on sale at Oconee Youth School of Performance from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., and at the Oconee County Civic Center an hour before each show.

For more information, see www.oypoysp.com/playhouse, call (706) 769-2677 or e-mail oconeeyouthplayhouse@gmail.com


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