Once upon a time, in the land of Far, Far, Away in the province of Duloc a middle school adventure began in a swamp inhibited by an ogre named Shrek and invaded by a group of fairy tale characters who were forced to leave their homes because they did not quite fit in…
Cathy Berghahn, (middle school musical director), tells the story of the middle school musical, Shrek the Musical, Jr.
On November 9, 10 and 11 the middle school musical cast and crew presented Shrek the Musical, Jr. to sold-out crowds. The enthusiastic and talented cast included students in grades six through eight, who entertained audiences with humor filled acting, singing and dancing.
Shrek, played by Micah Bailey, grade 8, was sent out by Lord Farquaad (Nio Kwan, grade 8) to rescue Princess Fiona (Maika Takahashi-Kushner, grade 8). Shrek along with his new sidekick Donkey (Gregor Rolls, grade 7) encountered a few challenges—the least of which a fire-breathing dragon (Keiko Tani, grade 8).
Once Shrek rescued Fiona audiences found out they may have a few things in common—including Fiona’s curse, which turns her into an ogre at night. Laughs and fun were had as the fairy tale creatures including Pinocchio (Mari Ishii, grade 8) and Gingy (Katherine Mendoza, grade 6) taught Shrek about being himself and taking on Lord Farquaad to win Fiona’s heart and learn that love is not “only true in fairy tales”.
The show had a real ensemble cast who played multiple roles acting and singing throughout the show and all gave excellent performances. The understudy team of Ella-Rae Prairie (grade 8), Matthew Turner (grade 7) and Lyla Sowder-Yuson (grade 7) provided additional support. Behind the scenes work included a great crew and dragon operation team led by student stage managers Lizzy Rekate (grade 8), Libi Savion (grade 7) and Ella Dreke (grade 8).
Don Cosgrove (middle/high school teacher) brought harmony as the show’s music director. Glenn Hoskins (middle school teacher) built the set. Miki Katsuda (alumni parent) acted as our artist/painting and dragon designer. Ed Gilmartin (theater manager) led lighting and sound design with a skilled team of high school students including Samantha Walker (grade 11), Kouta Miners (grade 11) and Meguna Okawa (grade 12) as team leaders. Middle school teachers Andrea Johnston and Kathleen Nickle led the prop design team and the backstage crew. Costume design fell under the direction of Naomi Hoff (alumni parent) with a wonderful group of parent volunteers who created extra flare for each character in the show.
A special thanks goes to Anita Gesling (middle school teacher) for organizing the front of house and ticket sales, and Friends of the Fine Arts (FOFA) for help with concessions, supervision and many production details, especially our FOFA representatives Ikuko Schrepfer and Mayuko Kanai.
On behalf of the whole team, I would like thank our wonderful audiences and support from the middle school team. We hope you left as “believers” and are able to let your own “freak flag fly”. If you missed Shrek the Musical, Jr. or would like to revisit the show, you can view the performance on ASIJ TV.