What happens once the Ugly Duckling comes out of her shell? She takes a show business journey to become a singing swan superstar! Kansas City audiences can catch the one-night-only performance of Lucky Duck by the Coterie Theatre at 7 p.m. March 8 at the Folly Theater, 1020 Central. The musical comedy with its Kansas City cast will then take flight for its debut at the New Victory Theater in New York March 16-25.
A modern twist on the Ugly Duckling, this musical comedy centers around songbird Serena who is viewed as an odd duck by her family. She runs away from the barnyard mockery to seek her special destiny—success as a supermodel swan — and tries to see what beauty truly is. Serena’s journey from barnyard to New Duck City to the Quackerdome includes numbers like “Average, Simple Mega Superstar” and “Wipe the Egg Off Your Face” by the award-winning composer Henry Krieger (Dreamgirls; Side Show) with lyrics by Bill Russell (Side Show; Pageant). Book is by Bill Russell and Jeffrey Hatcher (Tuesdays with Morrie; Ella) and directed by Jeff Church, Coterie producing artistic director.
Lucky Duck first premiered at the Coterie Theatre in the summer of 2010. “We aim to attract talent of the highest caliber to actively write for our audience,” Church said. “With Lucky Duck, it was an important opportunity for us to again work with Broadway talent. In this case, we were thrilled to be working with Henry Krieger, Bill Russell and Jeffrey Hatcher.
“The fact is that Kansas City possesses this amazing musical theatre talent - we have all known that for years - and now we get to take our actual Kansas City actors to New York City for a run. It's very exciting to us on so many levels,” he said. “The New Victory Theater curates performances from all over the world, with the intention of only bringing the best to its audiences there in New York. It's an honor to be one of the few American companies invited to perform there.”
Lucky Duck is funded in part by Missouri Arts Council (MAC), ArtsKCFund, the Callison Family, William T. Kemper Foundation, PNC Foundation and Susanne Christopher Shutz.
Lucky Duck became the seventh musical developed in the Coterie’s Lab for New Family Musicals. The initial production of Lucky Duck was at Theatreworks in Palo Alto (then called Everything’s Ducky) and then at The Old Globe. Jeff Church, Coterie Artistic Producing Director, contacted the creative team of Henry Krieger, Bill Russell and Jeffrey Hatcher, with the idea of a new version that could become a very smart family audiences’ piece with its fractured fairytale sensibility.
According to press notes, the Coterie’s Lab for New Family Musicals began with its production of Seussical (Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty) which formalized the idea of bringing a different caliber of shows and writers to family musicals. The program was created to help accomplished Broadway composers find a way into the field of professional theatre for young audiences, and at the same time create musicals in a size and scale that other professional theatres for young audiences can produce.
Other TYA musicals developed in the Coterie Lab include work by Harry Connick, Jr. (The Happy Elf), Stephen Schwartz (Geppetto & Son-now My Son Pinocchio), Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Seussical, Twice Upon A Time and Once On This Island) and Willie and Robert Reale (The Dinosaur Musical).
The cast features Seth Golay, Jenny Greenberry, Katie Karel, Greg Krumins, Tosin Morohunfola, Kip Niven, Tim Scott, Emily Shackelford, Julie Shaw and Francisco "Pancho Javier" Villegas. Musicians for the Folly performance are Anthony T. Edwards (piano), Sam Wisman (percussion), Ry Kincaid (bass) and Keel Williams (reed).
The artistic and Production Company includes Jeff Church (director), Anthony T. Edwards (music director), Ernie Nolan (choreographer), Ryan Zirngibl (set design), Ron MeGee (properties designer), Georgianna Buchanan (costume design), Jarrett Bertoncin (light design), David Kiehl (sound design), Amy M. Abels Owens (production stage manager),Scott Hobart(technical director, master carpenter), Mara Franke (production assistant, company manager) and Erika Bailey (dialect coach).
The Coterie Theatre, now in its 33nd Season and named “One of the Five Best Theaters for Young Audiences in the U.S.” by TIME magazine, will present Lucky Duck at 7 p.m., March 8 at the Folly Theater located at1020 Central St.
Individual Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for all children, students and seniors age 60 and up; $9 for Season Ticket holders. Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more. Tickets may be purchased online at www.coterietheatre.org or by calling the Coterie Box Office (816) 474-6552 from 10 a.m. to 4 p. m. Monday through Friday. All seating is general admission.