In the land of Far, Far Away, fairy tale characters learn that everyone is different and that’s OK.
It’s a sentiment that means a lot to the members of the drama department of University High School, where they will present “Shrek the Musical” next month.
“We all desire so much to be noticed – to stand out – and yet, we often suppress the wonderful qualities that we are insecure about,” writes director Briane Green in the director’s comments of the play’s program.
Shrek is an ogre who wants to be left alone in his swamp until he is enlisted by Lord Farquaad to rescue Princess Fiona from a castle guarded by a fire-breathing dragon.
Throughout the play, he meets a talking donkey and other fairy tale characters noted for their weirdness.
It’s a play that is technically challenging. Parents helped build a 75-foot fire-breathing dragon. Local artists created the ogre masks for Fiona and Shrek. The mirror on the wall uses an animated computer program. While last year’s production of “Les Miserables” included a revolving stage to move scenes around, “Shrek” presents its own challenges.
“While ‘Les Mis’ was epic in the revolve (the stage), Shrek is epic in trying to bring a cartoon to life,” Green said. She noted the challenge of staging something that everyone knows and loves and keeping it true to what audiences expect.
Senior Loren Mellick plays Shrek. Green said he’s been in every production since he was a freshman in “Oklahoma,” and worked exceptionally hard to win the part, learning to make his character show his feelings even through all the make-up.
“I’m a sucker for funny shows,” he said.
The cast of “Shrek” includes students from district elementary and middle schools.
The cast: Shrek, Loren Mellick; Fiona, Aubree Peterson; Teen Fiona, Mallory Carbon; Young Fiona, Olivia McNiece; Donkey, Mathias Oliver; Lord Farquaad, Joseph Hall; Dragon/Blind Mouse 1, Torey Routson; Papa Ogre/Paul Bunyan, Scott Worley; Mama Ogre/Blind Mouse 2, Amanda Clark; Young Shrek/Grumpy Dwarf, Liam Carothers; King Harold/Bishop, Colton Poplawski; Queen Lillian, Ashley Wagner; Sugar Plum/Gingy, Lili Gorman; Pinocchio, Matt Gerard; Mama Bear/Blue Bird/Blind Mouse 3, Caitlin Duffey; Papa Bear/Mirror, Jeremie Pope; Baby Bear, Angel Vansant; Wolf, Josh Koester; Humpty Dumpty, Mikala Lindgren; Ugly Duckling, Caitlyn Horton; Elf, Mallory Carbon; Gnome, Hayden Griffith; Witch, Rylee Harlan; Peter Pan, Evan Figuracion; Fairy Godmother, Gabrielle Elrod; White Rabbit, Austin Bolt; Pied Piper, Kellen Walls; Pig 1, Nate Tesdahl; Pig 2, Payton McDonald; Pig 3, Spencer Knudson; Thelonius, Kevin Geissler; Guard Captain, Russell Matheson; Duloc Guards, Codi Easter, Cory Faber, Tyler Wiggin; Dragon Knights, Trey Charmadias, Colton Poplawski, Ben Payseur, Evan Figuracion; Duloc Dancers, Dom Figuracion (also Little Bunny), Conner Womack (also Antelope), Robbie Devenish, Trey Charmadias, Ellie Dickenson, Cassidee Laurenson, Joli Poplawski, Jasmine Story; Ensemble, Nic Harris (also Dish), Jewel Johnson (also Spoon), Emily Lyonnais, Lola Green, Maddy Ballard, Chenoa Turner, Ashley Fowlkes, Dylan Jordan (also Sign Bearer in wedding), Esther LaPlante, Hailey Lissy, Josie Horton, Bella Schneider, Kacey George, Tyler Fales; Dragon Puppeteers, Rebecca Hall (head), TJ Sawchuk (body), DeAundra Shackleford (wing), Lynn Brosam (wing), Zac Keto (tail).
The crew: Chris Jordan, Rachael Parker, Hannah King, Corinne Brownfield, Haley Dias, Anita Sue; stage manager, Becca Marsh, lights, Ryan O’Dea; director of programs, Matthew Pretz.