Catchy and fun ‘Make Way for Ducklings’ premieres at Adventure Theatre

A show the whole family can enjoy together and welcome in spring.

Adventure Theatre & ATMTC Academy presents the world premiere of Make Way for Ducklings, based on the book by Robert McCloskey and adapted for the stage by Sandra B. Eskin and Michael J. Bobbitt. This musical follows a family of ducks as they search the Boston area for a safe and suitable home, and experience adventures along the way! Directed and choreographed by Ashleigh King, and with musical direction by Ben Lurye, this show is a great way to welcome in springtime with your family.

Ben Ribler and Graciela Rey as Mr. and Mrs. Mallard in ‘Make Way for Ducklings.’ Photo by Ryan Maxwell Photography.

Scenic Designer Sarah Beth Hall turns the stage into the Boston Public Garden, lush with greenery and a peaceful, shimmering pond. Dappled lighting by Paul Callahan and effects by Sound Designer Tosin Olufolabi complete the warm, welcoming atmosphere of springtime (a sight I’m sure a lot of us miss!), and projections by Zavier Taylor add a fun technical element to the show that helps drive the plot. It’s here that we meet Officer Mike (Jordan De La Moral), who is quick to write a ticket for anyone who dares to make noise in his beloved park (no one is safe, including the audience!). When Mr. and Mrs. Mallard (Ben Ribler and Graciela Rey) fly in and discuss (loudly!) building a nest for their growing family, an annoyed Officer Mike urges them to look elsewhere.

As the story develops, a nestful of ducklings join their parents, and with them comes excitement, joy…and an overwhelming responsibility that the couple sings about in a number parents will appreciate (“No Complaints/No Escape”). Music and lyrics are by William Yanesh, and the songs are lively and fun, whether they are learning to swim (“How to Be a Duck”) or forging a rough river (“Hey Ho”). Children in the audience enjoyed watching the curious group of ducklings explore the busy world around them, and the actors all do a great job making their characters stand out. While one duckling is strong, boastful, and brave (Joshua Street as Jack), another is nervous and shy (Alice Squeglia as Lack). Taylor Witt gets a lot of laughs from the audience as Pack, who is (and there really is no better way to put it) a total nerd. Lastly, we have Quack (Rebecca Ballinger), who is lovable but loony, eventually inspiring one of the ducklings to shout, “Can we get a different sibling? Quack is broken.”

Graciela Rey, Ben Ribler, Joshua Street, Alice Squeglia, Taylor Witt, and Rebecca Ballinger in ‘Make Way for Ducklings.’ Photo by Ryan Maxwell Photography.

While relocating to a bigger nest, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard teach the ducklings important lessons (“Follow My Example”), strive to keep them safe….and they also argue. A lot. The couple doesn’t notice anything harmful about their behavior until they see it mirrored in their children, making them realize that kids learn more by what you are, not what you teach. Everyone strives to learn how to disagree respectfully and improve their communication skills, which is a great lesson for any children’s show to highlight.

Adventure Theatre & ATMTC Academy’s Make Way for Ducklings is light, catchy, and fun, with several song-and-dance numbers that the whole family can enjoy together. Can’t wait much longer for springtime? Catch a showing with your family and welcome the season a little early!

Running Time: 65 minutes, without an intermission.

Make Way for Ducklings plays through March 27, 2022, at Adventure Theatre & ATMTC Academy – 7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo, MD. For tickets ($25), call 301-634-2270 or purchase them online.

COVID Safety: Adventure Theatre requires everyone over the age of two years old attending its shows to wear a mask and remain masked while in its facility. Proof of vaccination will be required for admission for all individuals ages 12 and up.


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