Nobody knows the hardships of being labeled “different” better than the ugly duckling.

"Honk!," a musical tale of the ugly duckling, will make its debut on the Pepsi-Cola Theatre stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and finishes its opening weekend with a performance at 2 p.m. Sunday. Three additional performances will follow at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 2-3 and at 2 p.m. Aug. 4.

As the last duckling to hatch, Ugly is shunned by the duck yard and the other ducklings for looking different. He finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he comes across other animals that give him ideas of who he should be and discovers being different is not negative.

For "Honk!" Director Vicki Hansen, the musical held a special place in her heart even before it was chosen by the Mitchell Area Community Theatre. Hansen first saw the musical on stage in 2006 and quickly fell in love with the story as she knows what it’s like to feel different.

“This story just hits you,” she said. “Everybody is different in their own way and we don’t all have to be the same to make the community work.”

Devin Carey, Drake, hugs his ducklings Abigail Parks, left, Claire Steffes, Kayleigh Royston and Taylor Braun during a dress rehearsal on Tuesday night at the Pepsi Cola Theatre. (Abbie Lambert / Republic)
Devin Carey, Drake, hugs his ducklings Abigail Parks, left, Claire Steffes, Kayleigh Royston and Taylor Braun during a dress rehearsal on Tuesday night at the Pepsi Cola Theatre. (Abbie Lambert / Republic)

"Honk!" is a new production to the Pepsi Cola Theatre rotation and Hansen said she’s excited to see the musical shine on opening night.

“It’s something that's going to make you wonder what’s it all about, even though it’s a story that people think they know,” she said. “It’s something a little bit different.”

Hansen said audience members can expect an array of songs that carry sadness, happiness and laugh out loud moments. An integrated set, costumes, lights and sound brings the story of the ugly duckling to life.

“The audience should be looking for those veteran actors they know and love, but they should also be looking for those fresh new faces that we’ve found,” Hansen said.

With a cast of 19, many actors not only play multiple roles onstage but off stage as a part of the production team.

“It’s an amazing cast,” Hansen said. “They are dedicated and have put everything they have into this show.”

The production runs about 2 ½ hours including an intermission. Tickets can be purchased at the box office, by calling (605) 996-9137 or through ACT’s website, mitchellact.org.

“One of my favorite quotes Ugly said is, ‘Different isn’t scary, different isn’t bad, different is just different,’ ” Hansen said. “I think it’s a good thing to understand these days. We all have our own place in the duckyard.”

Upcoming acts

The Mitchell Area Community Theatre has a full schedule for the rest of 2019. The sounds of Elvis and Johnny Cash will fill the Pepsi Cola Theatre with the Elvis and Johnny Cash Tribute Show on Aug. 24 and Joseph Hall’s Elvis Tribute Show on Aug. 25. The production of Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery will bring mystery and suspense to the stage Oct. 4-6 and Oct. 11-13. The classic Christmas story, The Nutcracker, will make its way to the stage Nov. 29-30, Dec. 1 and Dec. 6-8.