ENC’s fall musical Honk! may seem to be a simple children’s musical, but the story truly goes much deeper.

Honk! tells the classic story of “The Ugly Duckling,” the tale about a young duckling who feels like he does not belong, so he wanders away from home, gets lost, and encounters different characters who help shape his journey towards self-acceptance. Although based on a fairy tale, many college students can empathize with the story being told.

ENC students are excited to work on this innovative piece. Not only are established actors from several previous ENC productions participating in the musical, but there are twenty-five young students from the community performing as well. These younger students range from five to twelve years old.

“Working with the kids has been great. They work really hard and want to be there,” stage manager and senior Hillary Sunberg said, “Their energy and spirit provide the older kids who have had a long day with new energy.”

This is Sunberg’s eighth show as stage manager, a role requiring a lot of work and organization. She keeps a binder of everything the directors and designers want while working with the younger children, managing their schedules, emailing their parents, and ensuring that the ‘goslings’ are taken care of during rehearsal breaks.

Senior Michaelin Thomas, playing The Bullfrog in Honk!, notices the differences in working with children in a college production.

“The college students take on a mentor role to several of the younger students involved,”  Thomas said, “[But] this play is not just for kids. Self-acceptance is a theme that everyone can relate to at any age.”

With so many young students involved, Honk!’s theme of self-acceptance and encouragement shines. The college students and children alike have proven that they are hardworking individuals and that this musical is more than just a children’s show.

Honk will premiere during Homecoming weekend in Cove Auditorium on Oct.16 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 18 at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The following weekend will feature performances on Oct. 23-25 at 7:30 p.m.