Inevitably someone forgets a line or a prop during Anderson School’s dress rehearsal of its latest musical, but those are just teachable moments for director Stephani Lourie.
“Ya keep going! Make it up!” Lourie, a sixth-grade teacher, called out to a speechless actress on Wednesday. “We need a broom, prop department!” she shouted, adding as an aside, “This is why we have dress rehearsal.”
That the show must go on is only one of many lessons Anderson School students learn by putting on a musical every year.
The 76 kids in this year’s show also learn a lot about teamwork, Louie said. Rehearsing for 10 weeks, they learn about memorizing lines and stagecraft. They also must overcome personal hurdles, like pre-adolescent self-consciousness, she said.
This is the 18th year that Lourie, fellow teacher Laurie Kinna and a host of volunteer parents have mounted a musical production.
“Honk,” a humorous take on the story of the ugly duckling who turns into a beautiful swan, will be performed for the public Friday night and Saturday afternoon at the Emerson Center’s Crawford Theater.
It’s a funny show, full of puns and jokes, singing and dancing, with a message made for kids. The costumes are clever, with an army of geese wearing aviator goggles and bullfrogs looking natty wearing shiny green tuxes and green Crocs shoes.
“It’s a really fun play,” said Ali Bierman, 13, who plays a chicken. “It’s a really good lesson about bullying.”
For Hailey Vinje, 13, who plays mama duck Ida, the moral of the story is, “Being different doesn’t matter. Accept others for who they are.”
“This play is the reason I came to the school,” said Clara Lambert, 13, who plays the ugly duckling. “I love acting.”
Anderson School first put on “Honk” seven years ago. Lourie said it’s witty, sweet and fun, and 100 percent family-friendly.
When there weren’t enough parts for all 76 kids, roles were added so everyone would get a chance, even the youngest. Third-graders Nia Zilis and Ella Roe are part of a chorus of little frogs, who get to sing the song, “Warts and All.”
Parent Jen Houser, one of many volunteers who make costumes, props, and lunches and provide other assistance, said the musical is “a huge deal” at Anderson School. The public school, located on Cottonwood Road just west of Bozeman, has about 158 students in kindergarten to eighth grade.
“Anderson is a great place to showcase all the kids and their talent,” Houser said. As soon as the play is over, kids start talking about what they’ll do in next year’s musical.
“It is exhausting,” Lourie said, “and the most rewarding thing I do.”
Tickets for “Honk” are $5 and $7 and will be sold at the door for the 7 p.m. Friday performance, for which few tickets are left, and the 2 p.m. Saturday show.
Gail Schontzler can be reached at email@example.com or 582-1633.