Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 19, 2014

‘Ugly Duckling’ at Sondheim

Apr 15, 2013

The Ugly Duckling waddles to the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Friday for a special performance of this classic tale.

Featuring the talent of Sign Stage On Tour, the family production is signed and spoken simultaneously. The audience sees the signing of the characters as they speak their lines. The audience also hears the voice of the same character spoken by a hearing actor. Hearing actors supply the voices of each of the characters as they sign their lines.

Adapted from the fabled 1843 tale by Hans Christian Andersen, “The Ugly Duckling” tells of a homely little bird born deaf in a barnyard who is rejected by his neighbors until, much to his delight and to the surprise of others, he matures into a beautiful swan — the most beautiful bird of all.

The story introduces the central character as deaf, and it explores the additional challenges he faces in a world filled with animals who can hear.

When the Ugly Duckling is born, he doesn't look like his sister or the other ducks. When he tries to quack, he doesn't sound like his sister or any other creature in the woods. The Ugly Duckling sounds different, because he is deaf. With the help of a local farmer he discovers that sound creates vibrations and he sets off to find his way in the world.

He travels to the “big city” where he encounters many things that vibrate. He also makes friends with a dog who saves him from a sneaky fox. When the dog discovers the Ugly Duckling is deaf he takes him home to his owner because she teaches all her pets sign language. Unfortunately the Ugly Duckling is still not happy. He feels the need to travel south when it gets cold. He re-appears in the spring with a brand new look.

The presentation has many elements of story theatre, with characters who narrate while the acting ensemble performs the story in easily understood mime and gestures.

“The Ugly Duckling” is produced by Windwood Productions whose credits include national tours of “The Music Man” performed at the Sondheim center in January 2011, “Cabaret,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Little Women,” “Altar Boyz,” “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers,” “Big River,” “Stuart Little,” “Charlie & the Chocolate Factory” and “Winnie the Pooh,” which played at the Sondheim center in May 2011.

“The Ugly Duckling” is a special attraction of the 2012-13 Sondheim Artist Series.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth. Tickets are available at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center Ticket Office, by calling 472-2787 and online at www.FairfieldACC.com.

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