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ShowKids Invitational Theatre to Bring SHREK From the Swamp to the Stage, 4/26-5/4


In a land not so far, far away, ShowKids Invitational Theatre (SKIT) brings SHREK THE MUSICAL from the swamp to the stage. Shrek is being presented on Saturday, April 26, at 7:30pm; Sunday, April 27, at 2:00pm; Friday, May 2, at 7:30pm; Saturday, May 3, at 2:00pm and 7:30pm; and Sunday, May 4, at 2:00pm. All six performances will take place in the Voorhees High School, Route 513, Glen Gardner, NJ. Tickets are $12 - $19, and can be purchased directly at or by calling the SKIT ticket line at (908) 638-5959.

SHREK THE MUSICAL, based on the Oscar winning DreamWorks film that started it all, brings the hilarious story of everyone's favorite ogre to dazzling new life on the stage as NJACT Perry Award winning ShowKids Invitational Theatre (SKIT) wraps up its 27th season with a heartwarming new production.

"I have not seen a cast and crew this excited about a show in a very long time!" "SHREK THE MUSICAL is so much funnier and endearing than the animated movie," says Carolyn B. Newman, SKIT's director and producer since the company's inception in 1986. "As much as I have enjoyed co-directing shows with my son, Joel Newman, I am especially excited that he missed acting enough to join what was already an incredibly talented cast to take on the title role for this production. SKIT audiences will love the songs, laughs and fairy tale farce of SHREK; and only through the magic of theater is the transformation from a small white guy to a lovable big green ogre possible."
Making this SKIT show even more exceptional is the special guest choreographer from New York who also worked with the cast of ANNIE this season. Ashley Eichbauer Newman, a New York University graduate with degrees in Theatre and History, was a semi-finalist who was flown to Las Vegas during the third season of the FOX-TV show So You Think You Can Dance. She is a member of the NYU faculty and teaches, choreographs, and judges dance throughout New York City.

"We are so fortunate to have Ashley working with these gifted young performers; her talent and enthusiasm is a valuable asset to our organization. The children look up to her because she is a young, professional dancer, and the parents admire the awe and respect their children have toward Ashley," Mrs. Newman points out.

Ashley's stage credits include West Side Story, Grease, Guys and Dolls (NJ's PaperMill Playhouse), Tommy, and Carousel. In addition, her other experiences include dancing with 98 Degrees and 'N Sync at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, being a dance master at Busch Gardens, and performing with Neil Goldberg's Cirque. She recently served as the Assistant Artistic Director to Chase Brock (choreographer of SpiderMan) and of the renowned professional dance company, The Chase Brock Experience.

In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre - not a handsome prince - shows up to rescue a feisty princess. Throw in a donkey who won't shut up, a bad guy with a SHORT temper, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you've got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there's one on hand...and his name is Shrek.

Full of all-new songs, great dancing and breathtaking scenery, SHREK THE MUSICAL is part romance, part twisted fairy tale and all irreverent fun for everyone!

This program is made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through funds administered by the Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission.

A time-honored Hunterdon County tradition, SKIT will be hosting its annual pre-show complimentary Senior Citizens Brunch on Sunday, April 27 prior to the matinee performance.

The lead role of Shrek is played by Joel Newman, of Hoboken, a SKIT veteran having joined when he and SKIT were in their infancy. In recent years, Joel has co-directed SKIT shows with his mother. When not directing or acting, Joel works as a Publisher Mobile Specialist for Google in New York.

Donkey, Shrek's loquacious sidekick, is played by the notoriously funny Andrew Plinio, 15, of Clinton Township. He also serves as one of three Voice Masters for the production. A freshman at North Hunterdon High School, Andrew is always an audience favorite and has previously received Perry Award nominations for his performances in Music Man and Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Two of SKIT's fairest maidens will be sharing the role of Fiona. Carly Mindel, 17, of Long Valley, is a senior at West Morris Central High School and appeared last season in Peter Pan in the title role. And Hannah Mehl, 17, of Califon was most recently seen as Star-to-Be, Mrs. Greer and Bonnie Boyland in SKIT's production of Annie, and as the Witch in Voorhees High School's production of Into the Woods. Both Carly and Hannah will also lead the cast as Voice Masters.

Young Fiona is played by Allisa Conover, 11, of East Amwell Township who just appeared as Annie with SKIT, and Abbie Griffin, 11, of Hillsborough. The role of Teen Fiona is shared by Gianna Porfano, 15, of Clinton Township and Natalie Mehl, 13, of Califon. Gingy is played by Sydney Kozakis, 14, of Lebanon. Dragon is played by Bryna Parker, 18, of Califon, and Julianne Grillo, 14, of Lebanon. Young Shrek is played by Owen Tabor, 10, of Lebanon Township. And Lord Farquaad is played by Andy Kapetanakis, 16, of Bethlehem Township. Anna Villegas, 17, of Phillipsburg, and Jared Parker, 14, of Clinton Township, are sharing the role of Pinocchio.

The menagerie of Fairy Tale Creatures are played by; Ian Mehl, 18, of Califon; Kirsten Maiwaldt, 14, of Clinton Township; Fawn Bartok, 16, of Glen Gardner; Kelly Hostler, 15, of Glen Gardner; Madeline Coronato, 15, of Hampton; Quinn Levy, 16, of Glen Gardner; Alyssa vanVeldhuisen, 14, of Flemington; Heather Birmingham, 16, of Clinton; Hannah Ferenci, 16, of Clinton Township; Courtney Voorhees, 15, of Clinton Township; Katherine Reese, 17, of Clinton Township; Paige Whitmore, 15, of Lebanon Township; Marilena Parker, 13, of Clinton Township; Sean Kane, 12, of Bloomsbury; Justin Lopez, 13, of Clinton Township; Luke Zengel, 16, of Clinton Township; Josie Whitmore, 11, of Lebanon Township; Jonah Lione, 13, of Clinton; David Reese, 12, of Clinton Township; Sara Alicea, 13, of Glen Gardner; Grace Postiglione, 14, of Stewartsville; Mia Parker, 9, of Clinton Township; and Sam Hostler, 11, of Glen Gardner. Other cast members include Ashley Gallagher, 15, and Jack Gallagher, 8, both of Stewartsville; and adult cast members Heidi Cimilluca of Glen Gardner, Dale Dabour of Stewartsville, Pam Dean of Clinton Township, Mike Griffin of Hillsborough, Lisa Postiglione of Stewartsville, and John Kozakis of Lebanon, appearing in multiple roles.

ShowKids Invitational Theatre (SKIT) is a non-profit, family community theatre group. Founded in 1986 to offer the children of Hunterdon County an opportunity to experience the joys of theatre and give the community professional quality children's theatre productions, SKIT has since blossomed into an organization that also provides families the opportunity to share quality time while providing an unending amount of wonderful memories. SKIT has grown from 11 members in 1986 to its present level of 150+ members. For more information, visit

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