The legendary tale involves a lovable ogre, who was sent into the world to make a living when he was just 7 years old, and his home in the swamp is disrupted when a number of story tale creatures invade his space. Creatures such a Pinocchio, the Big Bad Wolf, the Ugly Duckling and the Sugar Plum Fairy are banished to the area by Lord Farguuad, who threatened them with the penalty of death if they ever return.
Princess Fiona is stuck in a tower with a lava moat and a fire-breathing dragon guarding the exit. Faraquuad decides to marry Fiona so he can become king. All the while, he does not know what happens to her at night.
She dreams a white knight will whisk her away from her torment. The musical follows the life of the characters as they maneuver through events, hoping to see a happy outcome.
Musical director and Wilson Central High School theatre director Katharine Ray brings the show to life with a thrust stage and an actual orchestra pit. A thrust stage is one, which extends into the audience, and the audience wraps around the action. The orchestra pit is between the edge of the actual stage and the extension of the thrust stage.
With a cast of 35 members and 15 stage crewmembers who work will behind the stage during the show, Ray said the show is mainly student-run.
“This is our closing main-stage show, and we’re doing it with a live orchestra,” Ray said. “A lot of our players are our students, and we also have some professionals who come in from Nashville and fill out the rest of the orchestra.”
She said the crew is “responsible for everything. I guide them and teach them, but I let them get the lay of the land. I guide them on lighting. We do have a lighting director. She’s a junior, and she designed all of the lighting for the show. We have a cyclorama designer, who designs all of the lights on the back on our cyclorama. If I don’t like what they’ve done, I have them adjust it until it’s what I want and sets the right mood or whatever.”
There are two stage managers this year, who are responsible for making sure the show runs smoothly, with set pieces and props moving on and off stage without problems. They are also responsible for safety and making sure those responsible for costume changes have what they need. All of the set pieces are movable for the show, Ray said.
“That’s unusual, because we usually have standard set pieces that don’t run anywhere,” she said.
Raye, said the show was chosen because “it’s a fun musical and is big costume fun, that’s for sure. We had the right students to do it this year, and it’s just the perfect fit. We had the students to fill out the roles. We had a lot of new talent come in. We actually invited a lot of middle schools to come in and audition. We have two middle schoolers who have come from West Wilson and Stoner Creek.”
For the show, she also has a “show runner,” who is someone who is in control of the show, calling all of the shots throughout the show. That allows Ray to stand up, watch and be there, if needed.
Logan Richardson, who plays Shrek, said he wanted to play the main character because, “I felt Shrek was a great character to test my abilities as an actor and to allow me the opportunity for me to expand my range of characters that I have played in the past.”
Aspyn Freeman, who plays Ogre Fiona, said she likes her role. “It has a really good character arc, and I enjoy both the physical and emotional challenges she faces, as well as the challenges I have faced with the prosthetics and makeup. I think it’s a great show and a fun role to take part in. I just love the cast.”
“I have loved this show since I saw it at TPAC when I was 10, and it’s been a dream role ever since,” said Cailyn Maguire, the actress who plays Fiona. “I relate to her so much because she is sweet, kind, spunky, sassy and strong. She also learns to love herself for who she is in the end. I love playing Fiona, not only because of the character and the awesome songs, but also because of the amazing cast I get to share the stage with.”
Shrek, the Musical takes place Thursday through Sunday at 7 p.m. with 2:30 p.m. matinees. There will be two shows Saturday. Tickets are on sale for $15 for adults and $10 for students. They are good for any show and can be purchased at the door.