“Shrek: the Musical” tells students to let their freak flag fly
Northwood Theatre Arts presented the big, bright, beautiful world of “Shrek: the Musical” from Feb. 14-18, telling the story of the unlikely hero, Shrek.
In the musical, Shrek (senior William Chinn), a reclusive ogre, and his loudmouth sidekick Donkey (sophomore Ian Gibson) embark on an adventure to reclaim his fairytale creature-infested swamp. However, to do so, Shrek must rescue the cursed Princess Fiona (senior Katherine Paladichuk) from a tower guarded by a fire-breathing dragon and return her to Lord Farquaad (junior Calvin Calilung), the ruler of the kingdom of Duloc.
Along the way, Shrek and the rest of the Duloc characters learn the power of accepting one’s flaws and having the confidence to pursue one’s dreams. This idea is expressed through one of the musical numbers “Who I’d Be,” performed by Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona.
“‘Who I’d Be’ is a great song, and expresses the main theme—that you can surpass any faults you think you have and be whoever you want,” Chinn said.
Beloved characters such as Pinocchio (sophomore Caroline Candy) and the Fairy Godmother (junior Chloe Boulard) also make an appearance, each donning flamboyant costumes. But what is seen on stage is only a small part of the entire production.
Over 160 students were involved in the cast, the crew and the pit. Rehearsals began in Nov., as did the construction of sets, such as Fiona’s tower or Shrek’s murky swamp. By the time the musical ended, there was a strong sense of camaraderie within the company, according to Paladichuk.
For many seniors, “Shrek” is bittersweet, because it is their last musical production on the Northwood stage.
“It makes me very proud to think back on all the work that I’ve done,” said Paladichuk. “I think we’re all going out on a high note as seniors because it’s such an epic, large-scale production.”
Although the musical was set in the fantasy kingdom of Duloc, the production company hopes to spread the message of acceptance beyond the stage.
“In a time when boundaries and divisiveness have become more prominent than acceptance and embracing our differences, the show has a important message,” senior and stage manager Mansi Kalra said. “The moral is ‘what makes us special makes us strong’, which is a message that needs to spread, especially in the current political climate.”
Northwood Theatre Art’s next production will be “Peter and the Starcatcher,” coming this April.