If ogres are like onions, according to the cast, “Shrek: The Musical” is like a parfait.
Like Donkey says, everyone likes parfaits, and the Kenai Performers’ show, which opens Friday, the play is sure to bring laughs and good cheer.
“It’s a happy play,” said Audra Faris, who plays Princess Fiona in the musical. “There’s no sadness in this play at all. It’s full of fun and laughter.”
The show is directed by Terri Zopf-Schoessler and conducted by Kent Peterson, with a cast made up of people from across the community, from students to teachers, musicians to attorneys.
“When I auditioned, we had 90 people come out,” said Zopf-Schoessler. “I have never had that many qualified people. I’ve got some amazing voices in this. It’s just fun, you get done with it and you’re happy.”
Bill Taylor, a local defense attorney, is playing the short statured Farquaad as well as the Pied Piper. For those familiar with the movie, though, it may be hard to imagine how Taylor portrays a character defined by his lack of height.
“I want it to be a surprise,” Taylor said at rehearsal. “Every group of kids we’ve done a preview for asked if I was really that short, or if donkey was really a donkey.”
The costumes for each of the fabled characters bring the show into another world, and allow for surprises like Taylor’s or the ogre-ness of Shrek. Some of the costumes are rented, while others were made by the cast and crew.
“We recycled everyone’s Safeway grocery bags and the dragon’s tail is stuffed with grocery bags,” Zopf-Schoessler said. “We needed to plump up her rump a little bit. We got wigs and props and I have thousands of volunteer hours into the costumes.”
Some of the characters, though, will continue to put effort in each show.
“It takes a while to put on,” said Ian McEwen, who plays the green-faced Shrek. “I’m not wearing all the make-up tonight, even though I need to start getting used to wearing it more. Let’s just say, I always enjoy taking it off. We have the green go down and over my neck to work with suspenders, so it can be hard to turn my neck, but it’s worth it for the look.”
Audience members will recognize the dialogue of the musical, but the songs are new and unique to the play.
“The story line and the characters are the same, but all of the music is originally written just for the shot,” Zopf-Schoessler. “The only song that is the same is ‘I’m a Believer,’ which is at the end.”
Just like watching a movie a second time through, people should see it twice, Zopf-Schoessler said. If theater-goers save their ticket stub, they can use that to see the musical again for $15.
“It really does take a couple of viewings,” Zopf-Schoessler said. “There is so much going on, so many great puns.”
The musical runs Feb. 23, 24, 25 and March 1, 2, 3 and 4 with showings at 7 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays in the Renée C. Henderson Auditorium at Kenai Central High School. Tickets are available at Curtain Call Consignment in Kenai, River City Books in Soldotna, The Flats Bistro on Kalifornsky Beach Road or at the door. They are also available at kenaiperformers.org.
Tickets cost $25 for general admission and $20 for children, students, seniors and military. A processing fee is included on all credit card transcastions.
“I cannot thank the level of talent and the generosity, everyone is volunteer,” Zopf-Schoessler said. “The orchestra is all volunteers and it is as close as I will ever come to working with a professional orchestra. I want to thank Kent Peterson and the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra.”