Hansen Elementary School teacher Jon Halvorson has performed in more than a dozen plays and musicals, and landed the lead role in a local production of “Honk!” opening this week.
But when butterflies fill his stomach (and, yes, they always do), Halvorson said he turns to three of his castmates: his daughters, 11-year-old twins Lily and Hannah, and 14-year-old Emily.
“They are certainly not up there terrified,” he said. “… I’ll look at them, and say, ‘Just relax. Look at them. They’re relaxed, you’ll be fine, too.’”
The show, the musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling,” features about 60 Olympia School District employees and their families. It’s a fundraiser for the Olympia School District Education Foundation.
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“The story of the ugly duckling is familiar; he’s pretty much rejected,” said director Kathy Dorgan, drama teacher at Olympia High School. “The first thing they say is, ‘Look how ugly he is.’ For those of us who have felt different for whatever reason, it’s kind of a sweet story.”
Halvorson’s wife, Chris, also is part of the cast. In fact, she plays Penny, his character’s love interest.
“I’m getting to act with my wife and three daughters, which is super fun,” said Halvorson, a second- and third-grade teacher who has taught in the Olympia School District for about 19 years. “That’s always a delight.”
Proceeds of the play support foundation’s efforts, including its teaching grants program, according to Ryan Hall, president of the nonprofit. Teachers can apply for the foundation’s grants, which range from $500 to $1,500, for supplies or projects that aren’t covered by district funds.
“These grants are to help teachers feel supported, to help students feel excited about learning, and to bring in new concepts,” Hall said.
Each year, the foundation funds about $35,000 in teaching grants, she said. It also provides about $5,000 a year for the Olympia School District’s arts initiative and about $10,000 a year for math tutoring programs in the district’s middle schools, Hall said.
Besides the cast, the musical draws support from high school students who help with the show’s marketing efforts and usher and perform other duties during performances, Hall said.
“It’s just this huge community effort with the Olympia School District family,” she said.
If you go
What: Olympia School District teachers, administrators and staff and their families perform “Honk!” the musical.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Families are invited to attend a special story time at 1:15 p.m. before each matinee, with new and used book donations being accepted for the South Sound Reading Foundation.
Where: Olympia High School Performing Arts Center, 1302 North St., Olympia. Enter off Carlyon Avenue.
Tickets: $10-15 at seatyourself.biz/olympiasd✔ or 360-753-8853.