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Summer Musical Workshop presents ‘Honk! Jr.’

Published 8:48am Wednesday, July 23, 2014

This weekend the Musical Theater Workshop is bringing to life the story of Hans Christian Andersen’s ”The Ugly Duckling” in a modern retelling that brings together young performers from all over the Michiana area, including Niles and Buchanan.


With a host of talented adult helpers, the kids are learning vocal and acting techniques, dance, and other aspects of theater culminating in about an hour long Broadway style musical theater production.

“Theatre is full of life lessons and the value of taking a positive risk,” said Cordelia Tomasino, producer. “Many of the kids find their voice, become confident and learn that mistakes are made and life goes on.”

Profits from production of “Honk! Jr.,” which takes place Saturday and Sunday at Grace United Methodist Church in Niles, will go toward supporting a child through Compassion International, an organization that provides aid to impoverished children across the world.

Tomasino said they are supporting a 5-year-old girl from Nicaragua named Estefani Cristina Morales Peralta. They began supporting her last year using proceeds from the “Fiddler on the Roof” production.

“She writes to us regularly and says she wants to be a doctor,” Tomasino said. “She is a typical kid who likes playing with dolls and will be starting school in the fall.”

So far, ticket sales have been slower than in years past. Tomasino thinks this is because the production is not as well known.

She hopes people will take her word for it that it is one of her favorites.

“It has enough depth to it that adults will appreciate it and has the adorable cute factor that kids will like,” she said.

The cast includes actors as young as 5 and as old as 19 from Niles, Buchanan, South Bend, Indiana, and Granger, Indiana.

It is directed by Rachel Newman, a Bethel College graduate and elementary school teacher. Robert Kerr, a summer ministry intern from Bethel College, is helping as the director’s assistant.

Western Michigan grad Jennifer Fiero is choreographer, while retired teacher Ilene Johnson is coaching the children on acting. Bethel College’s Tanya Steere is serving as costume designer and Pastor Tony Tomasino is handling the production details. Dennis Comfort is providing office support.

New this year, general seating tickets can be purchased online for $5 at

There will also be “no-fee” tickets available for all the reserved seats, the front three rows, at $7.50 per seat, and some general seating tickets at $5 per ticket. Those tickets will be available from Cordelia Tomasino,, or call (269) 684-3454.

Show times are at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 26 and Sunday, July 27 in Bethany Hall, Grace United Methodist Church, 501 Grant St. in Niles.

A third show will be added if the first two come close to selling out.

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