A cast and crew of more than 80 students have been working since early September to bring "Shrek The Musical" to life on the Caterpillar Auditorium stage at the Five Points community center in Washington on Nov. 21-23 at 7 p.m.
“It is a fun musical with hilarious scenes and great songs,” Lisa Stout, director, said. “There is a lot of really fabulous music in it. People will be surprised. There are big dance numbers and cool costumes.”
Stout said the student actors are “very talented and fit their parts beautifully”.
“I enjoy working with the students. I enjoy watching the kids exploring their characters, and it is an amazing experience to see how the show evolves,” Stout said.
Shrek, Donkey and Fiona are all played by seniors who have been in the WCHS drama department all four years.
Luca Bulleri who plays Shrek said, “I am excited to bring out the softer side of Shrek – that he wants to be accepted in the world he is in and wants to be treated like a regular person, not just an ogre. I try to bring out that vulnerability.”
Bulleri said that he has been best friends with Noah Frye, who plays Donkey, since fifth grade.
“Working with Noah and now Ava Stovall, who plays Fiona, the three of us have grown closer and our camaraderie is shown really well on stage,” Bulleri said.
Frye said that playing the role Donkey allows him to show his own upbeat attitude. “Donkey is high energy all the time. It is just me. I get to do the part that expresses my happiness and excitement for life,” Frye said.
Stovall understands the role of Donkey, as well. She played Donkey in her eighth-grade junior high musical at Washington Middle School. This year, Stovall brings Fiona to life on stage.
“Playing two roles was quite interesting,” Stovall said. “The characters are polar opposites, a princess and a sidekick.”
Stovall said it was “helpful, because I knew the material once, so could dig into the character of Fiona a lot quicker. It can be a challenge falling in love with one character and then playing another, but it definitely helps in the long run”.
The WCHS drama department performed “Shrek The Musical” six years ago, the year of the EF-4 tornado that hit Washington.
Because of the devastating damage caused by the tornado, the play venue was moved to Illinois Central College and pushed into December that year. Although Five Points was not seriously damaged, the community center became a staging ground for help and recovery for tornado victims, and the theatre was already booked in December with holiday entertainment.
Stout said ICC had offered their stage for free.
“This current production will be much different, because it is a full production,” Stout said. “The year of the tornado, we had to scale it way down. We had a full production ready, but in order to work in a much smaller venue, we had to cut sets and cut scenes. This will be a full production.”
“It was wonderful [at ICC], but it will be neat to produce a full production [at Five Points],” Stout said.
Stovall said that the musical pays homage to the original animated movie.
“There is a lot that references the movie rather than the Broadway show,” Stovall said. “It is a fun show for all ages. It is appropriate for children, but fun for adults, too.”
Performances are Nov. 21-23 at 7 p.m. in the Caterpillar Auditorium at Five Points in Washington. Tickets can be purchased at https://wchsmusical.weebly.com/ and are $9 for adults, $7 for students and senior citizens, and $5 for children age five and under (in own seat). On Saturday, from 1-3 p.m., families are invited to meet Shrek and his friends, play games and have a snack. Admission is $5 per child with a $10 maximum per family.