Students prepare for this week's opening of Shrek the Musical
A Love Story for the Ages
Shrek the Musical Opens this Week
Shrek the Musical opens in Bingham Auditorium this week, with evening performances throughout Parents’ Weekend. Additional performances, scheduled for 1:30 pm on October 26 and 7:30 pm on October 28, are open to the public; no tickets are required.
Set in a mythical land of “once upon a time,” Shrek the Musical is the story of a reclusive green ogre living peacefully in the isolation of his swamp. His peace is interrupted when a gaggle of homeless fairy-tale characters—from Pinocchio and Cinderella to the Three Little Pigs—crash the swamp after being evicted from their homes by the evil Lord Farquaad. To get the fairy-tale characters their homes back, Shrek agrees to help Farquaad rescue the cursed Princess Fiona. What follows is a fairy-tale love story for the ages.
Shrek the Musical is a significant undertaking for Taft’s theater team. In addition to the large cast of characters, the show demands stunning and complex sets, highly technical production and choreography, and make-up challenges that include prosthetic pieces and split-second changes. And it has only been five weeks since rehearsals started.
“That may seem like a long time,” notes director and theater teacher Helena Fifer, “but when you’re attempting to produce a musical of this scale, five weeks is not much…We’ve used every corner of the school to work each afternoon. Walking around between 3:30 and 5:30 you might see David Kievit down in the scene shop supervising kids with power tools or up on stage teaching the fundamentals of light design, Susan Aziz with the dragon puppeteers on the stage, TJ Thompson rehearsing the soloists in the choral room, Lesley Bowman, our costumer, measuring actors and gathering the many costumes needed, Sarah Surber in the dance studio with the Duloc citizens and the fairy tale creatures, our guest choreographer Nikole LaChioma in the Black Box with the tappers, and me in the faculty room, with whomever was left over!”
Taft students also worked with professional special effects make-up artist Tyler Green to learn tricks of the trade that will help transform Taft students into ogres, donkeys, and well-known wooden boys.
“The rewards involved in creating our own version of this well-loved cartoon movie have been well worth the challenges, and we are excited to show you what we’ve accomplished,” says Fifer.
Students, parents, and families are expected to fill 7:30 pm performances Thursday (open dress rehearsal), Friday, and Saturday, October 20-22, while the 1:30 pm October 26 and 7:30 pm October 28 performances are open to all, including the public. Tickets are not required.
Support for this production of Shrek is provided by the James G. Franciscus Theater Fund and James Hollyday Webb Theater Fund. These funds were established in memory of James Franciscus of the Class of 1953 and Jamie Webb of the Class of 1992 by their families and friends. These special memorials pay lasting tribute to two Taft alumni who found great joy in their love for the theater and acting.