Sarah Rennie –
CVR’s Performing Arts Department is going big with this year’s senior level production – and green – as they present their interpretation of the greatest fairy tale never told with the Tony Award-winning Shrek: The Musical.
Based on the 2001 Dreamworks Animation film inspired by William Steig’s book “Shrek”, the musical version of the story featuring a lovable ogre who leaves his home in a swamp to help a band of fairytale creatures recently banished from the Kingdom of Duloc by the evil Lord Farquaad. Along the way, Shrek reluctantly befriends a talkative donkey, who joins him on a quest to find and free the “beautiful” Princess Fiona following a confrontation with Lord Farquaad. Hilarity ensues as Shrek and his newfound friends embark on a magical journey that ends as most fairy tales do with true love’s first kiss.
CVR’s version of this heartwarming tale is replete with mischievous humour and wit, all while ensuring there is enough physical comedy and belly laughs to please audiences of all ages. It promises to be yet another hit for the Performing Arts Department, which continuously raises the bar for student-led performances.
“This is a very good year,” says Music Director Lynn Harper, who suggests the auditions for Shrek were some of the best the trio of teachers behind the production have ever seen. “We have never got this far this soon,” she continues, of the musical scheduled to debut at the end of January. This year’s crop of seniors are especially motivated and have taken on a real responsibility for the show, spending after school, weekend and lunch hours building some of the elaborate sets, learning lines and dance sequences all while memorizing the lyrics to 22 broadway ready songs.
“They were all raised with Shrek and that’s one reason they are so motivated,” says Drama Teacher and Director Dawna Babin, of the student’s connection with the production. That being said, the Musical delves into the back story behind some of the main characters and in doing so offers the students the freedom to make the characters their own as well. “They have a lot of good ideas,” adds Dance Teacher and Choreographer Cindel Chartrand. “They know the show and they want to add to it.”
Hommage to shows past
With no shortage of camp, the musical maintains the wry depiction of many fairy tale characters, and with a sizeable collection of memorable characters from productions past, the team of directors decided to pay hommage to some of their favourites by inserting them into the script. “We wanted everyone to have something meaty to play with, suggests Harper, noting the ability to play with the script has allowed the students to become even more involved with the production. “The kids are great at creating the scenes,” she comments, and they are especially good at coming up with solutions to some of the more technical elements of the musical.
As usual, the entire school has come on board with the production, with a team of volunteers from the school community chipping in as well to ensure all runs smoothly. And, with just weeks remaining before opening night, excitement is starting to build.
CVR’s production of Shrek: The Musical will open on January 31, with performances on February 1 and 2. Tickets will go on sale in the New Year.