Macon’s theaters are well known for the actors whose careers were launched by the incubation of their talent, nurtured in the warmth of the footlights. On March 20, the Mount de Sales Academy Troubadours, directed by John Freeman, opened “Honk!”, a musical comedy based on the “Ugly Duckling,” a Hans Christian Andersen classic, for a three-day run.
The story of Ugly, the clumsy duck that emerged from an awkwardly shaped egg, is a thinly veiled social commentary on the acknowledgement of differences and the recognition of each individual’s contributions to his environment.
The comical exasperation of relationships was well played by Katherine Daniel as Ida, the mother duck, and by Josh Thompson as the debonair Drake, Ugly’s dad -- more of a flirt than concerned dad when Ugly mysteriously disappeared. The cunning, calculating Cat, played by Kimberly Cunard, was slinky and sly, delivering her funniest lines with the timing of a seasoned comedienne.
Dressed in street clothes, the cast of various grounded birds were clearly defined by their outfits. Will Bass as Barnacles, a goofy, wide-eyed goose, had his honk and wobble down pat as one of the “military” geese keeping peace in the village.
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“TIE ME KANGAROO DOWN, SPORT”
With Australia one of the countries featured by the Cherry Blossom Festival, Rolf Harris’ ditty would have been apropos for the visiting furry Aussies, which were part of the entertainment in Central City Park.
Linda Maddox, the festival’s executive director for the park, was instrumental in bringing the doe-eyed marsupials to Macon and piqued the interest of festivalgoers with advance details about kangaroo life.
No surprise that male kangaroos or jacks do not have pouches since they don’t have the equipment to feed the newborn joeys and leave that task to the females, or jills. Looking at the joeys snuggling in Maddox’s arms, it is difficult to believe they can be aggressive and mean.
BUDDY BRINGS IT HOME
Included on the festival’s schedule was Buddy Greene’s appearance at the Grand Opera House on March 22 in a benefit concert for the Fuller Center for Housing of Macon. Greene cut his teeth on music growing up in Macon and has taken his folksy guitar and harmonica act all the way to Carnegie Hall.
Opening for Greene was the Central High School Glee Club, an a cappella group directed by Isaac Gibson. One of Greene’s favorite tunes, “Mary, Did You Know?” a Christmas favorite, has become a holiday standard.
Founded in 2005 by the late Millard Fuller and his wife, Linda, after their departure from Habitat for Humanity, the Fuller Center not only builds new houses for the poor but has expanded its services to repairing and renovating sub-standard housing.
Michele Ferro and Kathleen Cook, co-chairmen of the authors’ luncheon at Idle Hour Country Club on March 24, invited four writers to share their paths to publication. Elizabeth S. Craig from North Carolina shared delightful antics from her childhood in Macon, like sneaking downstairs at Idle Hour to steal cherries from the bar much to the chagrin of her grandmother. Craig now creates her own fictional antics as a mystery writer whose blog is considered one of the best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest.
Terry Kay, a former sports writer for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, where he worked for the late Furman Bisher, has written 16 novels, the latest of which is “Song of the Vagabond Bird.” Three of his novels were brought to life as Hallmark Hall of Fame movies. An amusing and entertaining raconteur, Kay said there was no explanation for most of his titles -- they simply appealed to him.
Known best for “Southern suspense” in his first five novels, William Rawlings’ most recent book, published by Mercer University Press, is a nonfiction account of a convoluted mystery titled “A Killing on Ring Jaw Bluff,” which earned him a finalist position in the history category for the Georgia Author of the Year Awards in June 2014.
Miriam R. Johnson, owner of the real estate firm Properties in the South LLC, is familiar for “The Last Train to Glory,” her play that was staged at the Douglass Theatre in 2004 to a sold-out house. Her first book, “What Has Happened to Church Folks?” reflects her lifelong dedication to her church, which is the source of her humorous and serious observations about declining discipline and attendance in Southern black churches.
Jake Ferro, president and CEO of the festival, will not let the cherry blossoms fade into memory for another year, for he has moved some of the events, such as the balloon glow, to other dates throughout the year. You can now wear and think pink year round!
Katherine Walden is a freelance writer and interior designer in Macon. Contact her at 478-742-2224 or firstname.lastname@example.org.