By Pam Johnson
The Jonesborough Repertory Theatre is delighted to bring “Shrek The Musical” to the stage March 5 – 22. Many will remember the entertaining characters and splendid storyline from the popular 2001 movie, but the musical incorporates songs and dances that take this comedy to a different level, making it a high-energy, hilarious, and even more memorable show.
“Patrons may be familiar with the movies about Shrek,” explained Kyle Mason (Pinocchio), “and how he must overcome obstacles with an eclectic band of characters who help him achieve his goals. This play expands that idea and shows us how other characters interact and overcome obstacles as well. All of the characters will draw you into their stories and make you rejoice each time they are able to drive a little closer to their goals.”
“Shrek The Musical” introduces an ogre, Shrek (played by Josh Baldwin), who is enjoying his peaceful life when a crowd of evicted fairytale creatures are forced to live in his swamp, irritating the self-declared hermit. Thus Shrek is launched on an unwelcomed journey with Donkey to save Princess Fiona and bring her to Lord Farquaad (Lucas Schmidt)—the despicable ruler of the land—so Farquaad can marry her and give Shrek back his swamp. However, as with most fairy tales, things don’t go according to plan for either the hero or the heroine. But along with the laughs, the misunderstandings, and the ups and downs of their journey, there are deeper messages of self-discovery, acceptance, and forgiveness.
“Shrek the Musical is special to me for a few different reasons,” Alex Campbell (Donkey) said. “First and foremost is the main theme of the show: Loving who you are and accepting yourself in spite of the ‘flaws’ that society places upon you. It’s not only loving and accepting those things about yourself, but also in other people.”
Lorrie Anderson (Fiona) agreed. “‘Freak Flag’ is a song about embracing your ‘weird’ and being unapologetic for it. And I think it’s great having a whole song—or a whole show really—that tells everyone, ‘Hey! You might think you’re a freak, but that’s okay! Because that’s what makes us special.’ The world would be so boring if we were all the same cookie cutter version of each other. This show really helps people see that, and I think that’s really awesome.”
“This show roots for the underdog, the outcast,” said Brittany Whitson (the Dragon), “and it’s a great reminder that even if life hasn’t always treated you fairly, you can still persevere, love others, and ultimately find your own version of happiness.”
People of all ages will enjoy this enchanting show. Not only is there the charm and allure of thirty fairytale creatures singing and dancing, along with an ogre and a donkey and a dragon, but the overriding and universal theme of acceptance is significant for everyone.
The director, Jennifer Ross-Bernhardt, said this: “The big appeal of this show is the message that you are wonderful just the way you are. Don’t judge people because they’re different. Embrace our differences. We’re all different, and that’s okay because that’s the way we were made. And always remember, beauty on the inside is the most important thing. Are you a good person? Are you kind? Do you treat others the way you want to be treated? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then you are beautiful.”
Shrek The Musical is written by David Lindsay-Abaire, with music by Jeanine Tesori. This production is directed and music directed by Jennifer Ross-Bernhardt, assisted by Karen Elb, and choreographed by Heather Allen. It is sponsored by Gary & Alexis Burkett, Ignacy Fonberg, Heather Gilreath/Lance Klosterman/Bob & Brenda Phillips, Sonia King/Mary B. Martin, Law Offices of James R. Wheeler, and Wolfe Development.
Rounding out the cast are Heather Allen, Eric Beatty, Vanessa Bushell, Stephen Cradic, Hollyn Dixon, Trinity Dixon, Parker Dugger, Emma Garber, Shawn Hale, Kage Harrold, Emily Horvath, Rebekah Knisley, Charles Landry, Randi Lappin, Bennett Little, Daniel Matthews, Tiffany Matthews, Tabatha Oliver, Taylor Phillips, Elliott Price, Kellie Reeves, Brooke Shelton, Jessica Shelton, Rheagan Shelton, Sharon Squibb, Christopher Tester, Millie Williams and Ansley Wilson.
Shows run March 5 – 22. Please check the ticketing site or call the number below for the days and times. Tickets are $17 general admission, $15 for students and seniors. There is also a special group rate for parties of 15 or more.
(An interpreter will be provided for the deaf on Saturday, March 21, at 7:30 p.m.; tickets for these select seats must be purchased by Feb 29.) To purchase tickets, call the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center at (423) 753-1010 or go online to jonesboroughtheatre.com. The theatre is located at 125.5 W. Main St., Jonesborough.