SRP’s Children’s Theater camp presents enduring tale

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Members of The Sandy River Players Youth Musical Theatre Camp receive notes from director Jessica Longstreet (with back facing) at a rehearsal on Monday at UMFs Alumni Theatre.

FARMINGTON – Despite the sweltering heat outside, Jessica Longstreet’s troupe of actors and actresses are diligently working to put the finishing touches on their production of “Honk Junior,” a play based on famed childhood story by Hans Christian Andersen, “The Ugly Duckling.” 

In the rehearsal’s final meeting, Longstreet encourages her players to “be meaner” to Ugly and the kids nod in agreement. Then Longstreet added, “Don’t worry. It isn’t real.”

Over the last three weeks, these 27 campers have memorized lines and musical numbers, learned choreography, and even built their own set. This is important to Longstreet who stresses that “the kids have everything to do with the production.”

The overall message of “Honk Junior” is also something which Longstreet sees great merit in. “The story of the ugly duckling is about how a community learns to accept someone that’s different. And he learns to accept himself in the process.” Written by Anthony Drewe and music by George Stiles, “Honk Junior” was a good fit for the influx of younger members who enrolled into The Sandy River Players Youth Musical Theatre Camp this summer.

Katie Pillsbury, 7, is a first-timer at the camp but insists she’s ready for curtain. “I love to sing,” she said.

The show is running this weekend, at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 9 and Saturday, July 10, as well as a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, July 11 in the University of Maine at Farmington’s Alumni Theater. Tickets are $6 for students and seniors and $8 for adults. Advance tickets can be purchased at Devaney, Doak, and Garrett Booksellers in Farmington and reservations can be made by calling 779-7084.

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