Area Stage Presents a Talented Young Cast in SHREK THE MUSICAL, JR.

Area Stage Presents a Talented Young Cast in SHREK THE MUSICAL, JR.

The fractured fairy tale about a grumpy ogre learning to believe in his unique self is back with a new cast of youthful actors at Area Stage Company. In ASC's Conservatory production of Shrek the Musical, Jr., twenty plus student actors, ages 11 to 18, perform this irrepressible show July 20 to 22 at the troupe's Coral Gables theatre.

Shrek the Musical, Jr. is a condensed version of the Broadway production for youth actors, based on the hit Dreamworks animated movie and the novel by William Steig, with score by Jeanine Tesori (who also composed the Best New Musical Tony winner Fun Home) and book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire.

Director Carolina Ordonez will incorporate some elements, including the set and innovative shadow puppetry, from ASC's professional production of Shrek the Musical, directed by Giancarlo Rodaz, which drew rave reviews and full houses during its run this spring. But she'll focus on showcasing the spirit and creativity of these particular students first. (Choreography is by fellow ASC faculty member Rebecca Ashton, who led the charming Stage II production of Thoroughly Modern Millie.)

"I love working with kids because they are so eager to learn," says Ordonez, a Miami native with a BFA in musical theater from New World School of the Arts and an MFA in directing from Sarah Lawrence College, who teaches at ASC. "They're respectful, they're eager, they have imagination, they don't have attitude, and they're not burned out."

The beloved show tells a modern fairytale story of a grumpy ogre who champions a group of fairytale misfits terrorized by the undersized bully Lord Farquaad, and rescues the feisty princess Fiona with the help of a wise-cracking donkey. Shrek's wickedly irreverent humor, and its themes of challenging conformity, valuing individuality, and staying true to yourself, resonate powerfully with adults, children, and this production's teenage cast.

"The message of the show is great for kids - especially teenagers, because it's such a difficult time," says Ordonez. "This is about having resilience and the courage to be yourself, to be unique, and not to shut yourself off because you're different."

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