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Posted on July 22, 2014

students perform during a dress rehealsal. The Mon Valley Performing Arts Academy, now in its 17th year, will wrap up its 2014 summer theater experience for young performers with a fully staged production of the children’s musical “Honk Jr.” at 4 p.m. Aug. 2 in Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre.

Hosted by Cal U’s Department of Theatre and Dance, the academy offers musical theater instruction for students ages 8-17. After acting, voice and dance classes and rehearsals, students present a musical complete with stage sets, costumes and props.

Thirty-one MVPs — Mon Valley Performers — are participating in this year’s academy, which opened July 21.

“Honk Jr.,” with music by George Stiles and lyrics by Anthony Drewe, is a contemporary re-telling of Hans Christiaan Andersen’s classic fable “The Ugly Duckling.” The tale has been specially adapted for young performers.

It’s the story of Ugly, an awkward duck whose gawky looks instantly incite prejudice from his family and neighbors. Separated from the farm and pursued by a hungry cat, Ugly must find his way home. On his journey he not only discovers his true beauty and glorious destiny, but also finds love and acceptance in all its forms. 

“The show is funny, heart-warming and smart — which is why we picked it,” said Dr. Michele Pagen, the academy’s artistic director and the chair of Cal U’s Department of Theatre and Dance. “The MVPs will have great fun bringing these characters and this story to life. This show reminds us all that there is an important place for all of us.”

The performance is open to the public. Ticket price is $8 for adults, $4 for children. Tickets may be purchased at the door. To order tickets in advance, leave a message at 724-938-4220.

About the Academy

Housed at Cal U, the Mon Valley Performing Arts Academy is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre, the same organization that has accredited California University of Pennsylvania’s Bachelor of Arts in Theatre program since 2005. Mon Valley Performing Arts is one of just six such academies to hold NAST accreditation.