Edwardsburg High School students to perform ‘Shrek the Musical’

Published 9:18 am Thursday, March 14, 2019

EDWARDSBURG – “Beware OGRE,” reads a sign on the stage, moments before a big green ogre enters onto the scene.

Set in a fantasy world of swamps, royalty, feral fairytale characters and ogres, Edwardsburg High school will perform “Shrek the Musical” at 7 p.m. Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

Under the direction of Kyle Rehnlund, students have been busy transforming the Performing Arts Center into an ogre-worthy swamp, a forest full of fairytale creatures and a castle fit for a princess.

Rehnlund chose the musical because of its familiarity and the challenge that the show — and its music — brings to the students. The show will be accompanied by a pit orchestra, made up primarily of high school students.

Rehnlund also said that he hopes to sell out all three shows.

More than 70 students auditioned for the 36 roles that were cast in the two-hour production. Spectators can expect to be dazzled by life-size puppets, digital projections and a larger-than-life dragon that takes five students to operate, Rehnlund said.

“Shrek the musical” tells the story of an ugly, green ogre named Shrek, played by Cody Adkins, who has been evicted from his swamp by Lord Farquaad, and travels to see his royal highness with the hope of getting his swamp back.

Lord Farquaad, played by Thomas Oppman, strikes a deal with Shrek to return his beloved swamp land if he rescues the Princess Fiona, played by Natalie Rarick, and returns her to the castle to wed Lord Farquaad. Shrek sets off to find the princess with his trusty pal Donkey, played by Grant Gilmore, at his side.

While Rehnlund admitted that choosing the cast was not an easy task, he feels the students are going to shine in their roles.

“Adkins makes the perfect Shrek.  He has a big personality – and Shrek needs a big personality,” he said. “Rarick was born to play the role of a princess, this is Gilmore’s first-ever performance, and he is perfect for the role and Oppman loves being the most-hated vertically-challenged person in the show.”

Their adventure in rescuing the princess and what happens next will keep the audience entertained and wanting more, according to the director.

One of the best parts of this production, Rehnlund said, is transforming the characters into their fairytale-like beings.

“We’ve had a lot of training on the makeup, we’ve done the research and they [the students] are doing it themselves,” he said.

Rounding out the cast are the following students: Emily Andrina, Khynin McLeish, Bridget Hilgendorf, Noah Guernsey, Tyler Dahms, Elliana DiMarzio, Delaney Baker, Isabelle Lewis, Quinlan Carrick, Nathan Hunsberger, Austin Kirkland, Caitlin Wyant, Ruth Wadzinski, Collin Bohn, Isabella Jackson, Ellie Stankiewicz, Elizabeth Nass, Braden Balding, Tony Guarino, Loryn Bartley, Sophia Georgeoff, Chloe Hildebrand-Leng, Alexa Lace, Ashlend (Lizzey) Light, Laura Mikel, Emileigh Paulus, Delaney Stacey, Alexis Swihart, Gabrielle Wilcoxson, Zoe Roark, Brooke Schaap and Kyleigh Yonker.

Rehnlund is assisted by Catherine Wood and technical director Chelsea Rehnlund,

Reserve tickets for the play online at edwardsburg.ticketleap.com/Shrek or in person from 6 to 9 p.m. March 19-21 at the Performing Arts Center ticket booth. Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for students/senior citizens.