Spring musical takes a light-hearted turn with ‘Shrek’


Photo: Alix Jordan

Part of the “Shrek The Musical” cast rehearses a song prepared for the musical.

In the recent past, Fairmont has chosen musicals with somewhat dark, adult themes. From Sweeney Todd to Les Miserables, audiences have seen thrills and chills on the stage for the past few years. This year, the Fairmont Music Department has decided to lighten the mood a bit and tackle a story on the opposite side of the spectrum, the funny and iconic Shrek The Musical.

The musical, which loosely follows the movie, tells the story of an ogre named Shrek whose swamp has been taken over by Lord Farquaad. The only way to get it back is to rescue Princess Fiona from the tower she’s been in since childhood so Farquaad can marry her. Shrek teams up with his new chatty companion, Donkey, to save her. As the three travel back to Duloc to present Fiona to Farquaad, they find their own problems, as feelings and secrets become revealed in a loveable, witty story about learning to accept yourself.

Senior David Harris, who is playing Shrek’s second-in-command, Donkey, was interviewed as the cast and crew began work before spring break.

“Rehearsal has been going really well,” Harris said at the time. “We’re still trying to figure out what’s what and get people into their characters.”

Junior Dani Carrington, who plays Princess Fiona, said she enjoys finding her character and the differences between the Fiona in the musical and Fiona in the movie. “They dig deeper into how she was in a tower so long and by herself. She gets out and she’s practically clinically insane,” said Carrington.

Many characters from the movies will make an appearance in the musical, including the Three Little Pigs, Wolf, the Gingerbread Man, the Fairy God Mother and Pinocchio.

“I’m really excited about my part,” said sophomore Taylor Shehata, who plays the Fairy God Mother. “She’s a fun part to play, and I really enjoyed her in the movies.”

The musical is directed by Assistant Choir Director Matt Koehler. Koehler has been the assistant director for four musicals.

“The cast has been really upbeat and optimistic,” Koehler said before spring break. “The musical is very technical-heavy, so a lot can’t come together until after spring break. Everyone’s still working really hard and being patient.”

The crew put a lot of effort into giving the set its magical look, and every performer will be transformed into a fairytale character or monster. “They’re hiring a makeup artist to make molds of our faces for when we turn into the ogres, then we have to paint them ourselves,” said Carrington.

Sophomore Alex Wunder, who will be playing the musical’s antagonist, Lord Farquaad, faces his own challenges with his part. “Since Lord Farquaad is so short, I have to perform on my knees,” said Wunder. “I have to wear kneepads and do all the songs on my knees.”

The cast and crew are happy to see the change in theme this year, after having many past musicals cover very sad and dark topics. “We needed a change,” said Koehler. “The other ones were only able to have an adult audience, but kids can come to see Shrek and everyone can enjoy it.”

Taking the main part as Shrek is sophomore Trevor Ginsberg, who has stepped up to take the lead as an underclassman. “It’s hard to follow [Fairmont grad] A.J. Breslin, who has taken musical leads in the past, but I’m doing my best so I can give people a show they’d look forward to,” said Ginsberg.

Although Fairmont’s Shrek The Musical is family-friendly, it will contain some of the adult humor from the movies. “They keep some of the racier jokes,” said Ginsberg. “But they do a good job to cover them so the adults will get them, but the kids won’t.”

The musical will be performed in the Fairmont Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, April 10-12, and also at 2 p.m. on April 12. Tickets are $8 for students and senior citizens and $10 for adults. Tickets can be purchased in the Fairmont Music Department office, by calling 499-2647 or by visiting the Music Department website.

“Everyone is working really hard to get this together,” said Koehler. “The cast and crew both have done a lot of work to make this a play that will be fun and enjoyable for everyone.”