With cast of around 50 students, ‘Shrek the Musical’ opens Friday

Senior Ellie Haan gets ready for a dress rehearsal for the musical on Monday, Feb. 27. Photo by Tana Gam-Ad

Featuring a wide variety of characters, including fairytale creatures, ogres and a dragon, “Shrek the Musical” takes the stage in the auditorium this Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 for students and $9 for adults. Activity passes are not accepted. Joe Frenna, an English teacher who is also the director of the show, has high hopes for this production.

“At first I didn’t want to do this show,” Frenna said. His wife suggested “Shrek the Musical,” and he shut down the idea at first. “It’s really hard to get something that is appropriate for high school productions,” he said.

Frenna said he thought about picking “Grease,” but it just wasn’t appropriate for a production being put on at the high school.

“I finally sat down and watched “Shrek the Musical,” and I was impressed,” he said. “The show has great music, a great script and a great message. I see a lot in the show. That’s why I picked it.”

The show follows the film, but it has it’s differences.

“The lyrics to the songs really add some power to it. The music is just really beautiful,” Frenna said.

The playwrights took the message of the movie and expanded on it and made the musical something everyone can relate to.

“The moral of the show is kind of the same as ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’ it’s about everybody,” Frenna said. “It’s really a show about refugees. These are all people who are living lives of desperation because they are thrown out.”

In the show, the fairytale creatures are the outsiders. They struggle with being themselves, and they feel as if they are not good enough for being who they are, and they wish they were different

“There are lots of characters in the show. Even if you have a small role, there are fun costumes,” Frenna said. With around 50 people cast, not including tech and makeup crew, each character has his or her own little moment in the show.

“All the characters are struggling with the same unifying action, and that is to somehow connect with the greater world around them,” Frenna said. “They were told who they should be, and should is a very dangerous word. We get down on ourselves for being who we are, and we have this expectation of ourselves that we should be something else.”

This theme is shown throughout the musical.

“Fiona, one character in particular, is stuck in her tower, and she is fed this hope that her story is going to end with a handsome knight coming to get her. She is told she needs the knight and that everything will be perfect once he comes and gets her.”

Not everything in the story she has been told goes according to plan.

“Something better happens to her, something that is better than a happy ending, which is finding her true love,” Frenna said. “In the end we’re not bound to what we have been told we have to be. We can make the world a better place by loving ourselves, embracing ourselves and embracing each other for our differences.”

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