PHOTO Lauren Trotzuk graduated from D.W. Poppy Secondary and is now helping stage Ugly there. (Tricia Hough Photography)
What if Cinderella’s ugly step-sisters are getting a bad rap?
That’s the question Abbotsford’s Annastasia Unger and Langley’s Lauren Trotzuk ask in the original musical production Ugly.
Audiences can see the outcome of their questioning the fable’s central premise at shows Oct. 23 to 25 at D.W. Poppy Secondary.
“In fairy tales they often get a bad rep for being awkward, rude and even unkind, but what if that simply wasn’t the case,” Trotzuk explained. “Neither of us ever really connected with the gentle, graceful Cinderella and we wanted to create girls who wanted something more than being a princess.”
Both women have roles as ugly step-sisters. Trotzuk is Maxine, a young woman whose dream in life is being a knight. She’s awkward, prefers to wear pants and boots, and isn’t great at the womanly arts of the era. Unger is Imogen who wants to find love.
“That is the true story behind Ugly: Maxine and her sister Imogen’s journey to discovering that yes, they may be different, but that does not mean they are ugly,” she said.
Just because something is different it doesn’t mean that it’s wrong, she added.
“We live in a world where we are constantly inundated with ads about who we should be and what we should look like and it’s important to know that in order to be happy, you just need to be you, Trotzuk said. “More than anything, I want every little girl out there who never connected to a princess because she looked different, or thought different, to know that what makes you different doesn’t make you ugly, it makes you beautiful.”
The original production is appropriate for all ages.
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PHOTO:Reilly Ellis of Chilliwack plays William opposite Lauren Trotzuk who portrays Maxine. (Tricia Hough Photography)
“We wrote the outline that very day, and immediately set to work. I wrote the majority of the music while Annastasia focused mostly on the script and at the end of three months our first draft was done.”
The show is being done by Monumental Theatre, founded by Unger.
Trotzuk and Unger met in a community theatre production of Forbidden Broadway “and immediately bonded over our obsession with musical theatre,” Trotzuk said.
Unger, taking theatre at UFV, started Monumental in 2014 and Trotzuk, who is in her third year studying anthropology and history at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, joined as assistant managing director earlier this year.
Monumental’s goal may seem monumental at the moment but the goal is to put on a show a year.
“While we are a new company, we are starting out with one show a year but who knows what the future holds,” Trotzuk said. “We currently have a few new original projects waiting to be started and we would love to see them previewed at venues all across the Fraser Valley, and even into Vancouver.”
For now, they are focused on staging Ugly and found the performance space at D.W. Poppy Secondary, Trotzuk’s former stomping grounds. She graduated in 2013, having done four years of musical theatre.
The space was available in October so that dictated the schedule. Shows are 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 and 24 and at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 24 and 25. Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and students and $12 for children. (Advance tickets are at uglythemusical.bpt.me.)
Unger and Trotzuk and the rest of the cast and crew have been prepping for weeks.
“Ranging from ages 15 to 50, everyone has done an incredible job contributing to this production and I couldn’t be happier with my team,” Trotzuk said.
“The audition process was a simply standard musical theatre audition of a song, and we ended up casting our friends, acquaintances and even strangers. I am proud to be able to say that we have actors from Langley, Abbotsford, Cloverdale, Surrey, Mission, Chilliwack and Maple Ridge all in our show.
Prince Patrick: Nikola Trotzuk (Langley)
Ella: Karliana Dewolff (Langley)
Sue: Amara Gelaude (Langley)
Imogen: Annastasia Unger (Abbotsford)
Clarice: Tamara Croft (Surrey)
William: Reilly Ellis (Chilliwack)
Maxine: Lauren Trotzuk (Langley)
Thomas: Kris Jantz (Surrey)
PHOTO: Prince Patrick: Nikola Trotzuk (Langley) and Ella: Karliana Dewolff (Langley)(Tricia Hough Photography)