BWW Interview: SHREK Is More Than Just Another Show for Its Cast, The Mosley Family
Lisa Andres, the director of the Pleasure Guild's SHREK THE MUSICAL, knows the final days before the opening of any show can take the toll of the cast. Her cast had four days to erect a massive set before beginning their show's March 7-9 run at the Palace Theatre.
"Getting everything ready in four days is the biggest challenge but ultimately, it's so much fun," says Andres, who has directed the Pleasure Guild fundraiser five out of the last six years. "It gets crazy around tech week with people needing their costume fixed and making sure they have this and that."
Amidst all the chaos and confusion, Andres says it's good to have someone like Lauren Mosley around. Mosley, 7 and a student at Sycamore Creek Elementary School in Pickerington, serves as a reminder to the cast and crew of why they are doing shows like this one.
Mosley, who plays one of the Happy People in the production, lost her big brother Branden, 14, to a brain tumor July 3, 2013. Proceeds from SHREK's four performances will go to the pediatric hospice and palliative care program at Nationwide Children's Hospital to help families like the Mosley's.
"That's one of the things we've done over the last couple of years to really bring home the message to the cast," Andres says. "Besides all the fun of being in the production, everyone gets to work with and to know a child (who has been touched by the hospice program) and their story.
"(Being around Lauren) brings everyone together and reminds them what they're doing this for. It brings a whole new energy and excitement to the whole cast."
Since 1958, The Pleasure Guild has raised more than $4 million to help Nationwide Children's Hospital. Recently, most of the guild's contributions have gone to support the Hospice and Palliative Care Program.
Lauren's mother, Angela, says their family relied on the hospice program during their time of need.
"At the start, I didn't know much about that team of people," Angela says. "Now I look at the members of the hospice team as being friends with expertise (of helping families through medical crises).
"They were there for us. They came out to our home when Branden could no longer go to the hospital. They included (Branden's siblings) Nicholas and Lauren in activities that distracted them from what was going on. Even after Branden had passed, they were still there helping us."
One of the activities the Pleasure Guild provided was inviting the Mosley family to attend last year's production of PETER PAN. Branden was too ill to attend the show, but the performance made a lasting impression on Lauren and Nicholas, 11 and a student at the Diley Middle School.
"That was the first Broadway-style show they'd ever been to," Angela says. "It was amazing and beautiful. It was something they talked about for a while afterward."
This year's show, which is based on the 2001 animated movie, hopes to follow in that tradition. Taking over the lead roles will be Keith Robinson (Shrek), Kaitlin Descutner (Fiona) and Ryan Patrick Jones (Donkey). Jonathan Collura (Farquaad), Jessica Hirsch (Gingy/Sugar Plum Fairy), Ryan Kopycinski (Pinocchio) and Alex Lanier (Dragon) also head up a large cast.
"SHREK is amazing. It's a show for children and adults alike," Andres says. "It follows pretty close to the first movie but there is something in it for everyone."
The show has given Lauren a sense of healing. Through Lauren's involvement with the show, Angela says her daughter has begun to understand all of the things the Pleasure Guild did for their family.
"(Being in this play) is not just exciting and fun and a way to make new friends, but it's a way to enable the Nationwide Children's Hospital's hospice program provide services to people who are in similar situations to ours," Angela says. "She's happy to be giving back."
Andres hopes the show affects others the way it has helped the Mosley family. To get ready for the three-day run, the cast held a preview performance on March 2 at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Hospital staff also filmed the musical and showed it live to in-house patients who were too ill to see the show in person.
"In the past, it was always sad because the patients were the ones we are doing it for and they never got a chance to see it," Andres said. "The last two years we've gone to the hospital to (bring the show to them). The cast gets very emotional. It reminds them this is why we're doing it. It brings the show to a different level."
SHREK will be performed 7 p.m. March 7; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 8; and 2 p.m. March 9 at the Palace Theatre (34 W. Broad St in downtown Columbus). Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com or the CAPA Ticket Office at 614-469-0939.