Photo Flash: SHREK THE MUSICAL Comes to SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre
Director Shawn M. Mortensen expects both adults and children to giggle through the musical "Shrek" at the SCERA Shell Outdoor theatre because, despite its thoughtful message underneath, the first objective is fun and laughter.
He especially likes the outdoor stage because it is possible have an expansive setting. "We needed to be especially creative, and I think we've succeeded. Our emphasis could be described as 'big.' Our tree is 18-feet tall, we've created a 15-foot dragon that will move throughout the stage, and Shrek by definition is big. The costume designer even ordered him 4 ½ inch platform shoes. It's an adventurous journey I suspect will keep our audiences happily engaged."
The Tony Award-winning musical is based on the Oscar-winning Dreamworks Animation movie using the beloved characters from a picture book by William Steig. When it opened in 2001, the film showed how entertaining a crazy parody of the fairy tale genre could be.
The story: A green ogre who must contend with fairy tale creatures who have been banished by the evil Lord Farquard. Added to the merry mix are a wisecracking donkey and a feisty princess named Fiona, who resists her rescue. "Who wouldn't love all that?" Mortensen asks.
"Shrek The Musical" will open June 8 and continue through June 23 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre, 699 South State, Orem, in the middle of SCERA Park. Performances begin at 8 p.m. and general admission tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children age 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Patrons can bring a blanket or rent a chair for $1.00 (limited quantities). Reserved areas with a free plastic lawn chair range from $14 to $16 for adults and $12 to $14 for children and seniors. They are available at www.scera.org, by calling (801) 225-ARTS, in person at main office of SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 S. State Street, open 10am-6pm weekdays and Saturdays from 12noon-6pm, or at the Shell box office one hour prior to each show. Non-profit or church groups of 20 or more may purchase non-refundable tickets in advance for $6 each.
Because the characters are so familiar, Mortensen's challenge has been to have them seem like the characters from the movie and have them animated enough that, as he says, "The audience will love the show and forgive us when we haven't cast Eddie Murphy. Those characters include a cookie with an attitude, Big Bad Wolf, Pinocchio, The Three Bears, Three Blind Mice and a dozen other fairy tale misfits.
Kyle Baugh, who has starred the last two seasons as Horton The Elephant in "Seussical" and Sebastian in "The Little Mermaid," will play Shrek, complete with a Scottish accent. Brittney Wallace has been cast as Fiona and Josh Needles is Donkey. "It is hard to hate Tanner Perkins as Farquard, because he is so funny, but remember, he is our short-statured, short-tempered villain," Mortensen adds. Perkins has been rehearsing on his knees for weeks, and knee pads have become his faithful companions.
Mortensen believes the premise that beauty is truly in the eye of the ogre applies with "Shrek" and says that because music is so good at moving a message, it is stronger in the musical than the movie. The 80's pop anthem "I'm A Believer," is an audience favorite, and the statement song and production number "Let Your Freak Flag Fly" brings the message home.
"People tend to judge you by looking at you. People see the ogre and that's all they see, and they don't give him a chance, "Mortensen explains. But he understands that beautiful is not what the world will tell you it is. When we worked the transformational scene where Shrek tells Fiona she is beautiful-if still an ogre-it was powerful."
Assisting Mortensen are some of his favorite colleagues: Sunny Watts, choreographer; Mark Ohran, lighting designer; costume designer Kelsey Seaver; hair and makeup designs by Will Prichard, Danielle Berry, and Kelsey Seaver; and music director, Brandalee Streeter.
Shrek is an unlikely hero, and of his journey it could be said: There is more to the story that meets the ears!
All photos by Rachael Gibson.
Kyle Baugh, Josh Needles. Brittney Wallace
Brittney Wallace, Kyle Baugh
Brittney Wallace. Kyle Baugh, Josh Needles
Kyle Baugh, Brittney Wallace
Josh Needles, Brittney Wallace, Kyle Baugh