Shrek the Musical: From Big Screen to Live Stage

Cast and Crew Prepare for the Musical


Claire Benson, Lifestyles Editor

Before the lights turn on, the music begins, and the actors sing, the crew and cast of Shrek the Musical are busy at work preparing for the upcoming show. The show, a comedy set in the medieval time period, promises entertainment, humor, and music that appeals to every age. From everyone interviewed about the show, it seems as though the cast is striving towards creating a performance unparalleled by any other in RHS history. The crews have been working for months in order to get everything ready for the show. Each has been meeting since mid-September, but during the week(s) leading up to the show, cast and crew had been at the school until about eight to ten p.m. each day.

Makeup and Hair Crews
The makeup for this musical is different from past performances in the history of RHS because most of the characters they create are not human, but ogres and other mythical creatures.
The makeup in use extends beyond normal products, to foam latex, face paint, and creme face makeup in order to sell the illusion. The Shrek head and nose in particular are made up of foam latex.
One of the more difficult aspects of the show is the transformation of Fiona from a human to an ogre in between scenes in the show. The actress rushes backstage to have her face painted green to complete her change.
The makeup and hair looks are a crucial part of the show, and their respective crews have worked hard to get them right.
“I’m really excited to see the show come together,” senior Ashley Alt, head of hair crew, said. “It’s been really fun creating looks for the show because everyone’s character is so unique.”

Stage Crew and Set Design
The preparation of the sets has been a long process as well. Stage crew has been working tirelessly for more than a month in order to bring their set ideas to life. These elaborate sets were planned by members of the crew, cast, and Mr. Gollon, the RHS theatre director, in order to translate the iconic movie scenes onto a live stage. The scenes created include Shrek’s swamp, Lord Farquaad’s castle (outside/inside), a cathedral, the dragon’s keep, the woods, Fiona’s tower, Duloc, and a campsite in the woods with a barn.
“It is a very long and complicated process,” Senior Anna Konno, executive board and cast member, said. “We build and paint all of our set pieces from scratch, which is why we have Saturday set builds where all crew and cast comes and helps build the shows set.”

Props Crew
Although the sets have a definite wow factor, one of the most notable aspects of the show is the large dragon prop that makes several appearances throughout the show.
“The dragon puppet was rented from a company in New Hampshire and it’s very large and very heavy,” senior Brendan Eaton, the stage manager, said. “Weighing over 100 lbs, we need to have seven student crew members operate the dragon during the show. I think it looks amazing, and I’m ready for the audience’s reaction.”
The props crew is also working on a myriad of other objects for such a large-scale performance.
“Shrek the musical is probably the biggest performance we’ve really put on yet when it comes to props because there’s a lot of big props and a lot of small ones with intricate details,” a props member said.

Cast and Pit Orchestra
The cast has been practicing the songs and dances since auditions in late September. The music and choreography have been a good challenge for the cast, inspiring them to work together. Molly Zaleski, the choreographer, and Ms. Lykins, the choir teacher at RHS, have been working with the cast.
“There are some very layered harmonies, and we’ve definitely had some difficulty grasping it, but I’m really excited to see how it is going to turn out,” senior Roshni Veeramachaneni, cast member, said.
There is one song, “Story of my Life” that seems to be a cast favorite as it incorporates many of the characters in one song, showing not only the personality of each character, but how they fit together.
“Lots of work has gone into this show, and we are so excited to share the final
product with everyone,” Veeramachaneni said.
From the perspective of the pit orchestra, the students are very excited to take on the sheet music written for the musical.
“One of my favorite parts about the pit orchestra is being able to contribute to a larger effort,” senior Maya Shih, pit orchestra member said. “While your one or two notes might not be significant by themselves, they mean a lot to the overall performance regardless. Seeing all of these different instruments and voices come together for every musical number is really cool,
especially when I get to be a part of it.”
The music has been fun to bring to life because of the nostalgia that it invokes in students, teachers, and kids alike.
“Shrek the Musical is really different from the shows in the past because it’s based on a movie that a lot of us have watched before, especially when we were young,” Shih said.” Seeing the musical with this in mind is like having the characters you know and love come to life.”

Lighting and Sound Crews
The lighting and sound crews have many jobs throughout the duration of the musical. These crews are crucial to creating the atmosphere. For example, senior Connor Jordan, head of sound crew, said that the sound effects highlight the comedic elements in the musical. Senior Talia Bowes, head of lights crew, detailed how the lights help to set the scene.
These crews are mainly self-sufficient and allow students to get the feel of a professional theatre with opportunities such as coding their own lights.
Jordan has had similar experiences in sound crew.
“During the show, I manage the soundboard, and I turn microphones on and off and make sure that everything is balanced and sounds good,” Jordan said. “We also have people backstage changing people’s microphones and following through in the script to make sure we play all of the sound effects that we need.”
The lighting and sound equipment is better than ever before. The district pooled money to buy a new sound board for the sound crew to ensure that the show ran smoothly.
Additionally, the lighting is more advanced than it has been in previous years with more LED equiptments and lights that move on their own.

Costumes Crew
Costumes has been working hard since the end of September to create costumes for the large variety of characters and was still creating new looks until the week of the show in order to accommodate the large variety of characters that appear in the show.
“Last year’s show there were still a lot of people, but less than this,” sophomore Joey Zieman, head of costumes, said. “Maybe not more people, but more costumes. Some people play around four characters.”
The costumes department has been busy not only making pieces with the help of Mrs. Goble, their sponsor, but also buying little parts of costumes and borrowing pieces from Stoney Creek High School and Adams High School.
They are very excited to contribute to the show and help bring the feel of the big screen to the RHS theatre.