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Theatre / HONK!

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HONK! is a musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling", written by Anthony Drewe, music by George Stiles. First performed at The Watermill Theatre in England in 1993, the musical went on to West End, where, in 2000, it won the 2000 Olivier Award for Best Musical.

The music for this show is relatively unique in that most of the characters can be played/sung by a male or female actor, and within a very comfortable range for most people. Anything above a Soprano 2 or Baritone range is generally optional within chorus numbers.

The essential message of the story is tolerance, and being yourself, although this is somewhat subverted by the fact that Ugly is immediately beloved by the rest of the duckyard as soon as he becomes remotely attractive.

Not to be confused with the most nightmarish sound ever to feature in a webcomic.

This show provides examples of:

  • Armed Farces: The goose squad
  • Bad Girl Song: "Together"
  • Battle Couple: Dot and Greylag, although one never actually sees them fighting.
  • Beautiful All Along: Duh.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The Cat pretends to be Ugly's friend when no one else will, all as a ruse to get close enough to eat him. Ugly is originally naive enough to believe this, although he wisens up towards the end of Act One.
  • Bumbling Dad: Drake is basically the avian version of a sitcom father.
  • Cats Are Mean: Played straight with The Cat, but averted with Queenie
  • Disney Death: Ugly appears to have been frozen alive in the blizzard towards the end of Act Two. Of course, not only is he actually alive and well, but he is also a SWAN!!!
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Ugly, immediately before "Warts And All"
  • Easily Forgiven: Ugly suffers all kinds of verbal and psychological abuse as a child, and when he returns . . . he just forgives them all.
  • Happily Adopted: Ugly with Ida, although Drake messes it up.
  • Invited as Dinner: the Cat tries this with Ugly before he wisens up.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Grace
  • I Will Find You: When Ugly goes missing, Ida soon sets off on a journey to locate him.
  • Kids Are Cruel: As exemplified by Ugly's siblings.
  • Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number: "Poultry Tale," "Look At Him," both the first and the reprise.
  • Messianic Archetype: When Ugly is frozen in a block of ice, and somehow survives, coming back to the duckyard and preaching a message of forgiveness.
  • Missing Mom: For most of the show, Ida is never with Ugly.... she tries though!
  • Modern Major General/Old Soldier: Greylag.
  • Nurture over Nature: Ugly meets a swan family, but decides to stay behind with Ida, declaring that she raised him and is therefore his real mother.
  • Princess Classic: Although she's absent for most of the play, Penny is a perfect example. Beautiful, kind to those in need, and conveniently rescuable.
  • Sound Off: "Wild Goose Chase"
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: In the verse to "Warts and All," we get this gem: "If you just sit tight on your lily pad / Each silly fad will pass / Then those who sport this season's look / Will fall flat on their your mother what it's called."note 
    • A reverse/implied version happens in the verse to the song "Different": "If they knew / just how dearly I would love to... qu— qu— quONK / But it's true / I'm a bird who seems to lack the knack."
  • The Freaky One at the End: Usually choreographed this way.
  • Villain Song: "Play With Your Food"
  • Unnamed Parent: Father and Mother Swan
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: While Ugly never specifically wishes for his father's love, he clearly includes Drake in his wish to be accepted by the duckyard.