DANVILLE — Music director Dave Schroeder especially likes “Shrek the Musical” because it has drama, humor, and good music ― and because people of all ages can enjoy it.
DLO Musical Theatre will present this well-loved whimsical fairy tale today, Saturday and Sunday in Dick Van Dyke Auditorium at Danville High School.
Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks animation film, “Shrek the Musical” is a Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure. “Shrek” brings all the beloved characters to life on stage, and proves there’s more to the story than meets the ears.
This musical relates the tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself in a life-changing journey, alongside a wise-cracking donkey and a feisty princess who resists her rescue. Throw in a short-tempered bad guy, a cookie with an attitude, and more than a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand — and his name is Shrek.
Schroeder said, “Shrek is a show with great music and catchy tunes, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. So many people tried out for this show that we had to have additional auditions, and choosing the cast was really an arduous process.”
Director Jennifer Kirby said “Shrek the Musical” presents a treasure trove of creative opportunities, including costumes, sets, and puppets, and it also promises a lot of fun for the entire family. She added that the show’s beautiful and funny music gives the characters more depth than was apparent in the movie.
Even though she has directed numerous plays in the past, “Shrek” will be the first time that Kirby directs a DLO musical production. With a background in dance and a college degree in theater, Kirby found this particular musical to be a good fit for her.
“I also had a job working at Disney World in costuming,” she said, “and the fact that ‘Shrek’ is a fairy tale fit my Disney experience perfectly.”
Kirby said some of the costumes for “Shrek” were rented or borrowed, but many were pulled together from existing costumes or else designed and sewn from scratch. “I’d like to mention Eleanor Peters and Cookie Morris for all the work they’ve put into sewing the costumes,” she said.
When asked if the actors object to wearing such outrageous costumes, Kirby said she made known her expectations for the characters even before anyone tried out.
“I told everybody that all the actors would be wearing full face makeup, padding, or even prosthetics on their face,” she said. “That’s because I wanted the characters in our show to resemble as closely as possible those in the first ‘Shrek’ movie, released back in 2001.
“I’m excited to be directing my very first musical,” Kirby said, “and I’m especially happy with how it’s all coming together and turning out.” She added that her group of very experienced and talented actors make her job as director a lot easier.
Gary Lickfett, who has done set design and construction for many years, feels that “Shrek” just might be his most challenging show of all time. “We’re trying to make our production as exciting as the movie so our audience won’t be disappointed,” he said.
Some of Lickfett’s greatest challenges were Shrek’s tree house, Fiona’s 16-foot tower and Lord Farquaad’s castle. Another challenge was to design a stained glass window for the cathedral that the dragon breaks through.
“I used cellophane for the glass window,” Lickfett said, “but the trick was to enable it to collapse without everything breaking around it.”
“Our dragon is 15 feet long and amazing,” he added, “and I feel sure the audience will gasp in delight when they see her. Also, some of the characters have to fly overhead to get on and off stage.”
Lickfett is retired from his regular job, so he did most of the construction work for “Shrek” by himself, with the help of several volunteers. He was quick to extend his appreciation to a couple of local artists, Roxie Reed and Brittany McDaniels, who painted much of the scenery for the show.
Cast members include Logan Edris as Shrek; Trish Ceader as Princess Fiona; Cole Huber as Donkey; Joel Shoemaker as Lord Farquaad; Jeanne Dunn as the Dragon/Wicked Witch; Ellis Mansfield as Young Fiona; Molly Smith as Teen Fiona; Brittany McDaniels as Gingy/Sugar Plum Fairy/Bluebird; Andrew Peters as Big Bad Wolf/ Guard/Knight 2/Pied Piper; Amanda Coutant as Fairy Godmother/Blind Mouse 2; Stephen Wolfe as Peter Pan; Sidnee Gordon as Ugly Duckling; Breely Arford as Mad Hatter; and Craig Krukewitt as Pinocchio.
Others in the show are Kelli Carlton as Humpty Dumpty/Blind Mouse 1; Pamela Adam as Elf; Nathan Powell as Grumpy/Young Shrek; Anthony Hughes as Papa Bear; Melanie Clark as Mama Bear/Blind Mouse 3; Chase Ogle as Baby Bear; Brittany Powell, Ashley Le Loup, and Ben Zuber as Three Pigs; Kelly Holden as Mama Ogre; Aaron Martin as Papa Ogre/Knight 1/Thelonious; Rick Welchans as King Harold/Captain; and Sonnia Schroeder as Queen Lillian. Isabelle Peters, Brookelyn Powell, Molly Smith, Kelli Carlton, Pamela Adam, and Sidnee Gordon are the Rats.
“Shrek the Musical” will open DLO’s 61st season. The upcoming dinner show will feature “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” and the classic musical “Little Shop of Horrors” will round out the season.
If you go
The DLO Musical Theatre will present "Shrek the Musical" at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday in Danville High School’s Dick Van Dyke Auditorium. Premium (blue) tickets cost $19 for adults and $10 for students. Standard (yellow) tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for students. Tickets may be purchased online at www.dlomusicaltheatre.com or by calling the box office at the Village Mall, 431-1660. Tickets also are available at First Savings Bank, 6 W. Williams St.