News Column

"Shrek' musical celebrates individuality

July 3, 2013

YellowBrix

July 03--When the animated film "Shrek" hit theaters in 2001, it was a huge hit. A few years later, the green ogre returned, but this time on stage and with dozens of songs in tow.

The FCS Players at Faith Christian School will perform "Shrek -- The Musical" starting Tuesday.

The production marks the regional premiere of "Shrek -- The Musical" in a school, said director Paul DeMeritt.

"About 10 years ago, when 'Les Miserables' was released for schools, (the FCS Players) entered into a special relationship with Music Theatre International, which licenses shows to schools. ... They gave us permission (to perform 'Les Miserables') because they wanted to see if a smaller school could do it.

"Since that point, we have gotten first shot at every regional premiere they've done. ... We've done all the big releases, like 'Aladdin,' 'Mulan' and 'The Little Mermaid,'" DeMeritt said.

He jumped at the chance to have his summer theater program debut "Shrek -- The Musical."

"I thought it would be perfect," DeMeritt said. "I've always enjoyed the film. When they offered me the opportunity to do it, I just had to do it."

"Shrek -- The Musical" largely retains the plot of "Shrek." The story opens on a green ogre named Shrek (Alex Cesena), who tells the audience how his parents sent him out into the world as a child. They told him he would not have a happy ending because of his looks.

Fairy tale creatures come to Shrek's swamp, with Pinocchio (Tess Scott and Summer Givens) claiming Lord Farquaad (Griffin Genobaga and Roah McCloud) ordered them into exile.

Shrek goes to speak to Farquaad, encountering the motor-mouthed Donkey (Brenna Campbell and Dallas Sorensen) along the way. Once he encounters Farquaad, he goes on a mission to rescue Princess Fiona (Heather Chavez and Billie Smith) in exchange for the deed to his swamp.

The musical has more than a dozen songs, ending with the cast singing "I'm A Believer."

"All the music has a wonderful 'Shrek' feel," DeMeritt said. "(The play is) all very tongue-in-cheek and has a bit of a sarcastic edge to it. Those of us who grew up on Disney movies will like how it pokes fun at them and the whole genre."

In the end, Shrek learns some valuable lessons. "The first one is that everyone is unique, and we should accept our uniqueness," DeMeritt said. "The second is that you find love in the most surprising places."

The FCS Players production features two large casts, with Georgia Genobaga and Brenna Visaraga as Gingy/Sugar Plum Fairy; Lewis Avelino and Daniel Wickline as the Big Bad Wolf; Hailey Warta and Jordan Bullard as the Fairy Godmother; Alysyn Dahl and Mary Ramon as the White Rabbit; Ethan Samples and Audrey Harris as Peter Pan; and Olivia Wright and Gillian Greathouse as the Wicked Witch, among others.

"This is a good chance to see 70-plus of our area's finest performers," DeMeritt said. "There's wonderful music, wonderful costumes and some wonderful special effects. (This play) has all the great things you would expect from the FCS Players."

CONTACT Josh Kendrix at 749-4775.

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(c)2013 the Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, Calif.)

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