“Beauty is in the eye of the ogre,” as stated in the production promo, “in Shrek the Musical JR., based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film and fantastic Broadway musical. It's a "big bright beautiful world" as everyone's favorite ogre, Shrek, leads a cast of fairytale misfits on an adventure to rescue a princess and find true acceptance. Part romance and part twisted fairy tale, Shrek JR. is an irreverently fun show with a powerful message for the whole family.” Ben Borenstein music directs while Jessie Dobrzynski choreographs.
Cast members include children from several school districts in and around Fulton and have been rehearsing since last December. Sean Hein leads the cast in the title role of Shrek with Jessica LaPage as his Fiona. Chris Tetro delights as Donkey while Dawson Krause delivers as Farquaad. The long list of Fairy Tale Characters includes Charlie Stoutenger as Pinocchio, Owen Carr, Big Bad Wolf, Owen Tice as the Gingerbread man and Renee Scott in a dual role of the Witch and the Dragon.
Audrey Donovan is Peter Pan while Riley Stoutenger Pig alongside Max Clarke as a Pig and Baby Ogre, while Deena McDougall rounds out the 3 little pigs lineup. The 3 little bears include Mama Bear, Hannah Matlock, Papa Bear Cameron Brown, and Annilea Murphy as Baby Bear who also doubles in the ensemble.
The Young Fiona is played by Maggie O’Leary while Thi Huynh portrays the Teen Fiona. Both actors also double in the ensemble while Mama and Papa Ogre are portrayed by Paige Kingsley and Griffin Marriner, respectively. Phoenicia Hathaway brings the Ugly Duckling to stage alongside Ella Greeleaf as the Pied Piper and a member of the ensemble.
Michael Gerth stands in as the Captain and heads the Ensemble which includes Kara Barret, Noah Cooper, Leigh Zacchia, Chloe Helmer, Juliette Gordon, Katie Gerth and Avery Farfaglia. Cameron D'Angelo rounds out the ensemble and also doubles as the Grumpy dwarf.
The artistic directing team returns annually to work with the children, adding Ben Borenstein in the role of Music Director. Bringing authenticity to the Fairy Tale Characters in costumes, makeup and prosthetics has been under the direction of Elizabeth Ladd and Sabrina Woodward with the help of a grant from New York State Council on the Arts. With the cost of each special costume coming in around $30 per child and 30 kids in the show, the grant will go a long way to meet the need for delivering the production values the Arts Center strives to deliver.
“We set the bar really high with the recent premiere of The Hobbit using special makeup, costumes, wigs and prosthetics,” said Executive Director Nancy Fox. “It really enriched the experience for the actors and audience alike. We are grateful for the NYSCA grant which allows us to take the same authentic approach with the Junior production. Our designers are paying attention to every detail and promise to deliver a spectacular production in every aspect.”
Shrek the Musical JR. is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. This production is made possible with funds from the Decentralization program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by CNY Arts.
Shrek, the Musical, Jr. runs Friday and Saturdays, April 6, 7 and 14 at 7pm, Thursday, April 12 at 7pm, and Sundays, April 8 & 15 at 3pm. There is no Friday performance on the 2nd weekend. For more information and tickets, visit www.CNYArtsCenter.com or call 315-598-ARTS (2787).