LOHS takes on childrens tale for musical

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego High School student Marshall Woods, left, who plays the hungry Cat, stalks LOHS student Steve Rathje, who plays Ugly, in the upcoming production of Honk!Lake Oswego High’s November production of “Honk!” — featuring a flock of duck and swan songs — flies into town next month.

Director Bob McGranahan said the Lakers’ latest musical is different than usual because it’s for kids, and his student actors have not taken on a children’s show since “Suessical” in 2010. Although kid-friendly, there are jokes and some double entendres that may cause adults in the audience to crack up, McGranahan said.

“It is a very family-friendly, anybody-could-come-see kind of show,” he REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Director Bob McGranahan said his student actors are doing great work while preparing for their November performances of Honk! at Lake Oswego High School.

“Honk!” is based on the children’s classic tale, “The Ugly Duckling,” but there is character development and a more involved story as well as vibrant and melancholy tunes. A swan’s egg ends up in a duck’s nest, and the little cygnet’s different looks repulse his duckling siblings until his true nature is revealed when he reaches maturity.

Themes of tolerance and loneliness are threaded throughout the story of Ugly, the funny-looking duckling, as evinced in the tune “Different” in the show: “I’m just different from the rest/And who can blame them wanting me/To find another nest?”by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Steve Rathje rehearses with his fellow students while preparing for next months production of Honk! at Lake Oswego High School.

“Every character in the show is fun,” McGranahan said. “Even the Cat, who wants to eat Ugly, he’s a lovable villain. They are all lovable characters, and I think that’s part of what makes (the musical) fun to do.”

Senior Steve Rathje, who plays Ugly, said his character “gets to go through quite a story arc,” and “it feels very fulfilling” for Ugly to eventually learn who he is, not just that he is a beautiful creature.

Junior Thomas Curran, who plays Bullfrog, said Rathje “sings ‘Different’ awesomely.”

Curran said the musical boasts a positive message.

“Even if you’re different, it’s OK because there are great things about you,” Curran said.

Senior Lacey Doby, who plays a chicken named Lowbutt, loves the vibrant excitement of the musical.

“We can pump a whole lot of energy into it,” Doby said. “It’s all a bunch of bright colors and big movements, kind of in your face but with a deeper meaning. ... It’s a brilliant show.”

McGranahan said he was dubious when he first heard about “Honk!” But, writer George Stiles and lyricist Anthony Drewe’s 1993 sensation won him over, and McGranahan is not the first to find the fowl show fabulous. “Honk!” earned an Olivier Award for Best Musical in 2000.

“The music is good,” McGranahan said. “It’s very Sondheim-esque. It’s a lot like ‘Into the Woods,’ although not as dark.”

McGranahan said his students are rehearsing hard for their many “Honk!” performances.

“All the kids, literally, all of them, everyone in the chorus, everybody with lines — they’re all doing great work,” he said.

How to attend

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 14, 16, 21 and 23; matinees at 2 p.m. Nov. 16 and 23

Where: LOHS auditorium, 2501 SW Country Club Road

Tickets: Available at the door: $12 for general admission, $8 for seniors and students and $5 for children 5 and younger

For advance tickets, visit

Jillian Daley can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 109. Follow her on Twitter, @jilliandaley.

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