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Theater in the Park celebrates July 4 with 'Honk!' opening

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Acceptance, tolerance, and inclusion are just some of the buzz words people hear every day but they are sometimes a difficult concept to teach to children, but through stories like “The Ugly Duckling” such ideas can take root in children.

Opening Friday for Fourth of July weekend at Shawnee Mission’s Theater in the Park, “Honk!,” sets the time-honored story to music and casts it in a way destined to entertain young and old alike. “Honk!” opens Friday, July 4 for two weekend runs beginning at 8:30 p.m. at the outdoor amphitheater. Patrons are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs, picnics, coolers, bug repellent, and snacks to enjoy the retelling of “The Ugly Duckling” set to music.

“HONK!” takes the story of the baby swan who looks and sounds different from the other ducks. Because of that, Ugly is an outcast. However, Ugly embraces his uniqueness and eventually wins the day. This tale of overcoming prejudice and finding joy in one’s differences is musically told in “HONK!” opening at Theatre in the Park on Friday, July 4 continuing for seven performances July 5, 6 and the following week July 9, 10, 11 and 12; gates open at 6:30 p.m. with all performances beginning at 8:30 p.m.

With the opening of “HONK!” coinciding with Independence Day, TTIP is offering special July 4th activities for the entire family to enjoy including large inflatable bouncy house, slide and obstacle course, face painting, balloon artists and free hot dogs and lemonade for the first 500 people through the gates.

Based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale of “The Ugly Duckling,” “HONK!” follows Ugly’s journey as he’s separated for the farm after encountering prejudice along the way. During his venture, Ugly discovers his true beauty finding love and acceptance in all its forms. This production is directed by longtime TTIP director Greg Shaw with choreography by Liz Ernst with music direction by Susan Scheibler.

Cast of “HONK!”: Rachel Adcock, Ida; Sarah Stoulil, Queenie; Micayla Miller, Lowbutt; Riley Ewing, Ugly; Omari Collins, Cat; Patrick Meehan, Bullfrog; Chris Halford, Drake; Matt Walberg, Greylag; McKenna Shaw, Beaky; Lindsey Hart, Fluff; Lily Logan, Lily; Katie Hulla, Downy; Claudia Mills, Grace; Gabriel Lasley, Turkey; Joy Richardson, Henrietta; Laura Irwin, Maureen; Alicia Templeton, Dot; Madison Cole, Penny; LeAnn Burris, Mother Swan; Monica Sigler, Maggie Pie; Colin Sandall, Father Swan; Monica Sigler, Blizzard Solo Female; Gabriel Lasley, Blizzard Solo Male; Wyatt Walberg, Barnacles; Andrea Strickler, Snowy; Anna Hastings, Pinkfoot; Barnyard Ensemble: LeAnn Burris, Julie Ewing, Maggie Meyer, Brendan Hulla, Sam Aubuchon, Wyatt Walberg; Frogs/Fish/Geese: Devyn Trandson, Macy Deppe, Megan Nasche, Lily Riddell, Grace Ann Wiley, Sadie Meyer, Lexi Pribyl, Emily Nasche, Emma Mullins, Willa Walberg, Anna Hastings, Jessica Bough, Liz Seacrest, Megan Secrest, Kelsi Fisher, Lauren Chandler, Morgan Caviar, Savanna Worthington, Bridget Walsh, Maggie Manning, Katherine Noll, Olivia Loepp, Emma Kellogg, Melanie Eszter, Tristan Rios.

TTIP’s production of “Honk!” is partnering with Reach Out and Read (ROR), Kansas City’s only medically-based literacy program. The program works with more than 50 greater Kansas City area healthcare clinics to provide 75,000 books to 29,000 at-risk children and families every year, a spokesman for TTIP. Patrons are asked to bring with them to theatre new or gently used children’s books to donate to Reach Out and Read. In thanks for their gesture, TTIP will provide them with a coupon for free popcorn at the show.

TTIP ticket prices are general admission at only $8, youth $6, and children three and under may attend for free (but require a ticket for entrance). To avoid waiting in line, tickets may be purchased online at www.theatreinthepark.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the theatre box office the nights of performance. TTIP continues to offer Thrifty Thursday pricing, where patrons can save 20 percent on general admission tickets that are purchased at the box office at the theatre for that Thursday evening’s performance only.

The Theatre in the Park is located in Shawnee Mission Park at 7710 Renner Road, in Shawnee, KS. For information on everything happening at TTIP this season, please visit www.theatreinthepark.org.

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