MPHS performance of Honk! Jr. a delight

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[March 16, 2016]  LINCOLN - The Mount Pulaski High School Drama Club presented HONK! Jr. over the weekend and it was fantastic! Performances of the musical took place both Friday and Saturday evening at the Mount Pulaski Christian Church Family Life Center.

The new MPHS Drama Club director, David Helm, was pleased with the performances, which drew approximately 200 people each night. “We had a great turnout for a lot of great kids,” said the multi-talented musician, who is also the band director for MPHS.

The show was a success from the moment T.J. Benhart stepped from behind the curtain to open the show with a fantastic rendition of “A Poultry Tale.” Benhart, who played Drake, did an amazing job and held the show together fabulously from beginning to end.

In fact, Helm did a fantastic job not only casting the students in perfect roles, but also placing the students in individual performances that highlighted their vocal talents quite well. Particularly, the angelic voices of the Siebert sisters, Elizabeth and Emily, stand out here. The elder sister, Elizabeth, was cast as Cat, while Emily played the duo roles of Maureen/Dot. Helm noted the talent of the Siebert girls following the Saturday night performance, “A lot of talent in that family and they have been doing it for a long time. The experience they have really builds up the other kids, too.”


For the lead roles of Ugly and Ida, Max Coppinger and Miranda Hilliard were cast opposite each other and they are a perfect match. The humor is busting out of Coppinger without him even saying a word and Hilliard is so sharp and fluent in her delivery onstage that you hang on her every word. Together they are a dyn-o-mite couple.

Another standout performance belonged to Shaylyn Inselmann. This young woman, who portrayed both Penny and one of the ducklings, possessed such grace and style on stage. It will be a treat to see her in future drama club productions.

Another notable performance was that of Josh Dyer, the Bullfrog. He’s related to the Siebert family and it would appear performing in front of a crowd comes natural for the young comedic actor who manages to never crack a smile during his delivery.

Liam Davis also played the serious roles of Jaybird/Father Swan without barely cracking a grin.

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As for the rest of the cast, they were pretty much all smiles all evening, obviously enjoying the performance just as much as the attentive audience.

The entire cast singing and dancing to “Look at Him” at the end was just beautiful. The many costume changes, too, were just perfect in each and every way.

The first-time director, who took over the position from long-time director Donna Koehler, offered these words after the successful weekend, “For the first year’s show I am very pleased with the turnout of students. A great show can be made with great students and they put a lot into it. I am very glad that they could have a positive experience with what they did for the show,” said Helm.

The production was moved to the Family Life Center this year and that move also proved to be a hit. Helm spoke excitedly about that move, that included a more intimate setting and much more comfortable seating. “Definitely the Christian Church rolled out the carpet for us. We couldn’t have such a great performance without it. With their help these students really had a positive learning experience...with the stage and the lighting and the sound...they couldn’t beat it. We are really grateful to the church for that,” Helm concluded.

By the sound of the applause Saturday night, the community was grateful for the hard work and dedication all of the students involved put in, both onstage and behind the scenes. A great job by a great cast and crew! “HONK!”

[Teena Lowery]


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