Inside the production of Shrek! The Musical

Inside the production of Shrek! The Musical


Shrek! The Musical tells the story of an adventure following a big green ogre and an annoying donkey. In the show, there is love, action, sadness, and friendship, leading the audience to feel a rollercoaster of emotions. The storyline follows Shrek, played by both Max Stachowiak and Harrison Kulis, as he goes looking for Princess Fiona, played by Selin Dalkiran, to earn the deed for his swamp. As Shrek and Fiona go through this journey, they end up falling in love.

To make this production possible, both the technician crew and cast worked tirelessly since May. Actors came in on weekends to workshop dances, and songs, meanwhile the crew came in afterschool to finish both props and set pieces. Each actor, whether a lead or a part of the ensemble, played a vital role in the process and held a lot of responsibility both onstage and backstage. 

This process started in May when callbacks occurred, and the cast list was posted. Each actor was hand-picked for their role by both Ashley Cooper and Ray Moses, as they worked hard to find a character that fit each actors’ strengths and weaknesses. Once the list was out, actors were tasked with workshopping songs and learning lines throughout the summer so they could come in August prepared. Before school started, actors came in for Boot Camps-where they learned dances for the Fairytale creatures- and leads came in to run songs and make sure they were vocally ready for the upcoming months. Once school rehearsals started, actors were divided into groups according to their role and had different jobs each day. While leads were running lines and songs with the stage manager, fairytale creatures were running dance numbers and blocking on stage. 

Since the beginning, each actor was supported by Mrs. Cooper and Mr. Moses as they encouraged the cast to be confident in their skills and become the best version of their character on stage. Every person involved in this process worked long hours perfecting their role so they could entertain the audience while also having fun. Once costumes came in, with the thanks of Mrs. Targett, actors were then able to do fittings and rehearse in them to get used to how they felt when on stage. 

One of the most time-consuming steps of this process was the Shrek makeup. Both actors came in for hours trying on their green cowl, a plastic head cap attached to their necks that made the actors bald and have ogre ears and measuring the full-face prosthetic. Before each show, whoever was playing Shrek had to sit for 2 hours as the prosthetic face was applied and then painted green. The entire makeup crew was both patient and talented, working to make sure that they looked amazing on stage. While Shrek had his makeup done, Papa Ogre had to be fully painted green with a prosthetic nose on and wrinkles drawn on. Both Harrison and Max were incredibly calm and kind to the makeup artists no matter how uncomfortable the prosthetics were and how long it took. Each day of tech week, new methods of makeup were used, and the looks got better and better. 

During tech week, the week leading up to Opening Night, both actors and tech crew had to stay late at school to do full run-throughs of the show to perfect scene transitions, light cues, and sound cues. They worked relentlessly to ensure that each actor would be safe on stage and ensure that things ran smoothly, even when mistakes were made. Each time something went wrong, the technicians handled it calmly with care and never panicked or blamed each other. The tech crew helped each other and were supportive no matter what happened. Without the tech crew, there wouldn’t have been such amazing set pieces and props. 

Thank you to all the actors and technicians that made this show possible. Without them, the show wouldn’t have been as good as it was. Both cast and crew are so talented and dedicated, making the work much easier for stage management and directors. The cast was so kind to one another and created such a positive and welcoming environment, making each other feel appreciated, supported, and talented. Watching each person gain confidence in their skills as the show came together was such an amazing experience. Thank you to all the staff that have worked so hard for everyone: Mrs. Targett, Mr. Thomas, Mr. Bogard, Mr. Heerson, Mr. Schroeder, and Mr. Moses. And the biggest thank you of all, thank you Ms. Cooper for being such an amazing role model for all the cast and crew. 


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