AN INTERVIEW WITH HONK! JR. DIRECTOR JANET NESS AND MUSICAL DIRECTOR CHRIS NESS
KCP is very excited to bring Honk! Jr. to the Georgian College Theatre this fall! With a powerful musical score and a strong message, Honk! Jr. is a unique and heartwarming tale of inner beauty, love and acceptance; a perfect for audiences of all ages.
I had a chance to sit down with show Director Janet Ness and Musical Director Chris Ness to get the inside scoop on preparing for this week’s Honk! Jr. auditions.
Why you are excited to do Direct/Musically Direct? Honk! Jr.?
Janet Ness, Director: I am excited to be directing KCP’s youth musical again. I so enjoy working with young enthusiastic actors! It is gratifying to watch them work with the material and the direction they are given and be innovative and display growth. They start as individuals and finish 10 weeks later as a team. I love weaving a story with a large cast; integrating the script with the set, costumes, choreography and stage direction is like creating a big puzzle. The finished product, which used to be just words on a page, is now alive and vibrant.
Chris Ness, Musical Director: It is always exciting for me to start a new production. Honk! Jr. provides opportunities for our young actors to take on the roles of animals, fowl and reptiles. Now try to imagine how much fun the rehearsal of that musical score could be. I for one can’t wait!
What sets Honk! Jr. apart from other youth productions?
JN: The only thing that somewhat sets Honk! Jr. apart from other youth musicals is that we all grow up knowing the story of the ugly ducking and the lesson it teaches. The writers use a lot of humour spiced throughout the show and challenge the production team to liven the lesson with song, dance, and unconventional costumes and set.
Why will the kids enjoy being a part of Honk! Jr.?
JN: Kids will enjoy being a part of our team as the skill of working together with others towards a common goal is very satisfying. Whether you are 10 or 18 you get satisfaction from taking your personal talent and using it to convey a message through script, song and dance. Whether you have been in two or ten shows, or never been on stage at all you become an integral part of the end result and it is exciting. And, come on…. isn’t singing and dancing on stage what life is really about?
CN: Our cast is sure to enjoy the setting and story line of this show. But the best part for many of them will surely be taking on the role of an animal, bird or reptile. They will have the chance to sing and dance on stage with friends they may have worked with before, and also talented newcomers to the theatre. It’s going to be a fun time!
Why will the audience love Honk! Jr.?
JN: The audience will love Honk! Jr. on several levels. Friends and peers will be amazed at the quality of talent to which they are treated. Families will be overjoyed at the positive experience for their children and the joy it brings them to be a part of the show. And, of course, in Honk! Jr., there is a very important message about not being a bully and loving someone for who they are.
CN: Initial perusal of the score told me that the songs are expertly constructed and very singable. There is an abundance of harmony and variety of textural overlays that suggest the finished product shall present itself in a most pleasing fashion. Add lights, costumes and action and you’ve a winner for any audience, young or old.
Any audition advice?
JN: Please sing a song from a musical and not a pop star song. (Look on the internet for suggestions if you don’t know any). Try to sound like yourself and not someone who is on the radio. Have fun! As important as it is (your audition) it is not set up to be a serious or frightening experience.
CN: Just be yourself! Sing something that shows off your vocal range and ability. Most of all – enjoy your audition. It is a chance for you to shine!
Auditions for Honk! Jr. will be held June 7–9at the Koslov Centre in Barrie. Request an audition using the online form: https://www.kempenfeltplayers.com/shows/honk-jr/audition-form. You will also find details on rehearsal schedule, performance dates and expectations of participants. The musical is open to performers ages 10-18.
At press time, Musical Director Chris Ness added the following anecdote…
“This morning on my jaunt around Kempenfelt Bay, I came upon a rather large, brown goose. She stared at me, as I stared at her. Walking closer, the rocks around her began to move, and I counted 6 tiny, furry goslings no bigger than your iPod. I took it as a sign!” – C