‘Shrek’ hits the BLHS stage
Transforming into an ogre takes time, but several Basehor-Linwood High School actors are completing the transformation for the benefit of this year’s musical production, “Shrek.”
But it isn’t just shaving your head and putting on green makeup, as Bret Fritz did to play the title role of Shrek. The actors have to transform themselves from the inside out to become their character on stage, because as we all know from the famous 2001 DreamWorks movies, ogres have layers, like onions have layers.
“I’ve never had to dive into a character like this,” Fritz said this week, rubbing his recently shaved head.
Fritz is a first-time performer in the school’s musical. Fritz, a senior, is in choir but decided to try out for the part of Shrek after some words of encouragement from friends and family. He joins a 72 member cast full of veterans, newcomers and talented singers.
“Shrek the Musical,” along with its fairy tale characters, swamp and talkative Donkey, is hitting the stage at the Basehor-Linwood auditorium at 7 p.m. Nov. 14-16. There will also be a matinée performance on Sunday at 2 p.m. The two-and-a-half hour show will be split with a 15-minute intermission. Tickets are $5 for reserved seats or $4 for general admission.
Four-year musical veteran Courtney Payne, a senior, plays Fiona, the outgoing love interest of the ogre Shrek. Donkey is played by junior Zach Fisher. Lord Farquaad, the short in stature but towering in pride king of the land, is played by senior Luke McGowan. Claudia Jacobs plays the dragon that has a keen eye on Donkey while Mark Vitt (Pinocchio) Tanner Davis (Big Bad Wolf) and MaryBeth Pedroza (The Gingerbread Man) add to a long cast list of fairy tale characters being unfairly punished by Farquaad’s rule.
Also in the musical are eight elementary and middle school students taking on the big stage for the first time.Providing the music is an eight piece orchestra.
To open the show, the musicians will play an original adaptation of “Hallelujah,” originally by Jeff Buckley, written by BLHS student Katie Eberth. “She wrote the entire piece for each of the eight instruments, it’s incredible,” the show’s music director Cindy Reynolds said.
Rebecca Knowles, the musical’s director, said the musical follows the plot line of the first Shrek movie but adds some suprising elements to it as songs were added and the script was adapted to the stage. Knowles said she, along Reynolds, wanted to perform Shrek from the moment they finished producing last year’s Wizard of Oz show last December. The problem was, the rights to the musical hadn’t been released.
“We decided we wanted to do this just hoping that this would be available,” Knowles said, and come the summer, the musical was released.
Knowles said putting on a show like Shrek will hopefully bring in an audience of all ages as all of her productions have aimed to do.
“We really want to engage the community and get everyone in here,” Knowles said. “And this cast is just so hard working and dedicated to putting on a good show.”
The cast was just as excited to hear that they would be remaking the DreamWorks classic. Fisher (Donkey) said the audience this weekend can expect some of the same things from the movie but with this cast’s own little twists.
“We have a really good cast, it’s going to be really fun,” Fisher said.