PITTSBURG — Pittsburg High School’s production of “Shrek” is big, loud, green and delightful.
It takes 80 students to pull off the show, with many of the 40 actors performing as several different characters, but the PHS theatre program more than accomplishes the job.
“This is a fantastic extravaganza,” said Greg Shaw, director. “It’s big, bright and I think it’s a nice show. It’s a nice story. It’s got some comedy in it for us to belly laugh, but it’s also just a good story about looking further than skin to find what’s important.”
The production is based on Dreamworks’ 2001 hit animated movie of the same name, but takes audience members deeper into the story with new music and character-revealing solos that accompany the irreverently hilarious storyline.
Shrek (Jack Warring) begins the story by remembering when as a young ogre (Xavier Huffman) he was abandoned in a swamp by his parents, who assured him that there are no happy endings for ogres.
He makes the swamp his own until it one day is disturbed by the mass relocation of fairytale creatures, who convince him he is the correct one to take on the unusually short Lord Farquaad (Jared Wilde, who performs the entire play on his knees) and his edict banishing all of the magical creatures.
Along the way, Shrek meets the energetic and fast-talking Donkey (Will Jewett) who becomes his sidekick as Farquaad sends Shrek on a mission to rescue Princess Fiona (Makayla Bockover) from a fire-breathing dragon (voiced by Maddie Weidert).
Unknown to Shrek or Farquaad, Fiona was locked in a tower at a young age because of a curse of her own, but grew up believing that one day she would be rescued. (Fiona is portrayed at different ages by Joy Lee, Olivia Joy and Bockover.)
Through it all, the talented PHS cast, crew and musicians pull off the show like pros, demonstrating a depth of talent within the theatre program that shines brightly through the costumes, wigs, makeup and other accents that take the production over the top.
This year’s production features the talents of designer/stylist John Hollan, of Stage Face and Hair out of the Kansas City metro area, who is spending hours helping Warring and other cast members with hair, makeup and prosthetics.
“There’s a magic moment for me, doing this,” Hollan said. “The magic happens the first time they see themselves in their wardrobe and makeup and hair.”
He said in that moment, the actors see themselves transformed into the character, and it brings a new burst of inspiration.
“The more fantastic we can make it look, the more people are going to buy in,” Hollan said.
On Tuesday, the cast gave teaser performances to students from other schools in the district, and Warring said the younger students were won over by the effects, with some eager to hug him following the performance and others shying away out of fear.
Warring and Bockover both are seniors and said the show was a fun one for one of their final opportunities to grace the stage as PHS students.
“It’s been really fun getting to do this show since it’s such a big show,” Bockover said.
“I think it’s going to be a fun show,” he said. “It’s very entertaining.”
The play runs at 7 p.m. Feb. 17-20, and the cast also will perform a 2 p.m. matinee Feb. 20. All performances are at Pittsburg's Memorial Auditorium and tickets may be ordered at www.memorialauditorium.org.
Cast members are (in alphabetical order): Gabe Abarca, Guard, Duloc Greeter, Jack Frost; Julian Archuleta, Guard, Prince Charming; Alli Baden, Duloc Lead Performer, Rat, Little Red; Maddie Baden, Duloc Dancer, Rat, Jasmine; Cassidy Bayliss, Villager, Little Pig 2, Choir; Makayla Bockover, Princess Fiona; Amanda Bourbina, Villager, Sugar Plum Fairy; Katy Brown, Villager, Alice, Choir; Derek Brumbaugh, Pinocchio, Knight, Duloc Dancer; Matthew Buck, Duloc Dancer, Guard, Tweedle Dum; Jon Commons, Duloc Dancer, Knight, Thelonius, White Rabbit, Dwarf; Alexis Daniels, Duloc Dancer, Rat, Blind Mouse, Mama Bear; Karlie Ellis, Duloc Dancer, Choir, Mary Poppins; Maddy Emerson, Duloc Dancer, Little Pig 1; Macy Frasco, Duloc Dancer, Pied Piper, Shoemakers Elf; Liz Graham, Villager, Humpty Dumpty, Choir; Morgan Grotheer, Duloc Dancer, Ugly Duckling; Natalie Harris, Villager, Little Pig 3, Choir; Xavier Huffman, Young Shrek; Cassie Hurt-McLarty, Duloc Dancer, Queen Lillian, Blue Bird, Wicked Witch; Ethan Jewell, Guard, Backstage Crew Head; Will Jewett, Donkey; Olivia Joy, Teen Fiona, Gingy/Tinkerbell, Duloc Dancer, Rat, Blind Mouse; Josh Lee, King Harold, Duloc Dancer, Knight, Alladin; Joy Lee, Young Fiona; Aspen Lloyd, Duloc Dancer, Peter Pan; Andrew Ortolani, Captain of the Guards, Big Bad Wolf; Katie Painter, Villager, Fairy Godmother 3; Alex Perkins, Villager, Tooth Fairy, Choir;Taylor Redd, Duloc Dancer, Rat, Goldilocks; Lupita Sanchez, Villager, Pocahontas, Choir; Will Schindler, Duloc Dancer, Knight, Mad Hatter; Dominic Stefanoni, Guard, Baby Bear; Gracie Terry, Duloc Dancer, Villager, Tweedle Dee, Choir;Coral VanBecelaere, Duloc Dancer, Rat, Fairy Godmother 2; Ivan Walter, Papa Ogre, Duloc Dancer, Knight, Papa Bear; Jack Warring, Shrek; Maddie Weidert, Mama Ogre, Dragon, Blind Mouse, Meleficant; Jared Wilde, Lord Farquaad; Lydia Winters, Duloc Dancer, Fairy Godmother.
Members of the pit orchestra are: Cooper Neil, Susan Laushman, Jess Frasher, Andres Munguia, Daniel Munguia, Reyna Valenzuela, Kristen Geiger, Amanda Hoffman, Izzy Lunday, Lauren Valenzuela, Ryan Amick, Kayte Keller, Kiel O’Neal, Luke Warford, Nicole Konopelko, Justin Garrison, Zach Uttley and Ethan Ortiz.
— Sarah Gooding is a staff writer for The Morning Sun and may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com