Children’s Theatre tells musical tale of ‘Shrek’

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Lamont Pierce, 16, of Dover, plays the title role in The Children’s Theatre Inc. production of “Shrek: The Musical” coming to Dover’s Schwartz Center of the Arts for two shows this weekend. (Delaware State News photos/Dave Chambers)

DOVER –– Shrek, Donkey and Fiona are all coming to life this weekend as the Children’s Theatre Inc. performs “Shrek: The Musical” at Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts.

“After attending Milford High School’s production of ‘Shrek the Musical,’ last year, I knew this was the play for us,” said director Sharon Crossen.

“It had a large cast of well-known storybook characters, as well as Shrek, his family, the donkey, Lord Fraquaad, the Duloc performers, knights, and, of course, Princess, Fiona.”

Based on the hit film and subsequent Broadway production, the play starts off with young Shrek, an ogre, being sent away by his parents to find a swamp of his own to make home. When he reaches adulthood, his swamp is taken over by fairytale creatures that were banished from the Kingdom of Duloc by its ruler, Lord Farquaad.

Shrek then sets on an adventure to Duloc where he tries to convince Lord Farquaad to take back the fairytale creatures so they leave him in peace.

The kids started rehearsals soon after Labor Day; practicing four days a week in September and October and four

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Gianna Pierce, 16, of Dover, portrays the beautiful Princess Fiona. Tickets for “Shrek” are available by visiting www.schwartzcenter.com or calling 678-5152.

nights a week this month.

Ms. Crossen has been a director for the Children’s Theatre for 14 years working with kids from 8 years old to seniors in high school.

“One of the best parts for me is that I get to be a role model for the younger kids,” said Lamont Pierce, a Dover High junior, who plays the title role.

“They’re really energetic and fun and this musical is great because it has characters they’re all familiar with.”

Rose Slavin, a senior at Dover High, is a student director at the Children’s Theatre and choreographs all the dances for the musicals.

“The really little kids, who are only 8 in this play, are probably the hardest to teach but they’re also the most fun,” she said.

“There are a lot of ups and downs during rehearsals but I help them with acting tips and everything always turns out well.”

Andrew Roisland, a seventh-grader from Central Middle in Dover, plays The Wolf and is one of the newer actors in the performance.

“It’s a lot of fun because everyone’s so nice and accepting,” he said. “It’s pretty cool that it’s a musical too because I have about eight or 10 speaking lines and the rest is singing.”

The Children’s Theatre has 48 participants in this fall’s production, many of which are first-time actors. Ms. Crossen said the large group is a good mix of ages, talent and experience.

She aims to give as many actors as possible a role with some overlap characters like the Fionas; there is a child Fiona, a teen Fiona and an adult Fiona.

“I’ve been acting for seven years and started it because it was something my older sister was into,” said Gianna Pierce, a 16-year-old home-schooler from Dover playing the role of adult Fiona. “This musical is a great interpretation of the movie and everyone has a part and we all have fun since it’s a lot of song and dance.”

Playing adult Fiona, Gianna is rescued by Shrek from a tower guarded by a dragon. Shrek was assigned the task of

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Logan Williams, left, 16, of Smyrna, plays the role of Lord Farquaad.

rescuing the beautiful princess by Lord Farquaad in exchange for the return of his swamp.

As a student director, Rose has to know just about every part in the play and has stepped in for the role of Donkey only last week after the actor cast for the role dropped out at the last minute.

“It’s kind of difficult but I’ve been acting since I was 10 and worked with the Children’s Theatre for five years before going to Clear Space Theatre in Rehoboth,” she said.

At the first rehearsal in her new role, she already knew the blocking, choreography and almost all of the lines. She said the nature of the musical made it a bit easier to remember all the roles.

“This is a really new and fun performance and is a nice change of pace from the kind of shows we normally do,” she said.

“We typically stick to classic, older plays so this is something totally different for us.”

“Shrek” is the last of four shows the group has performed this year. Next year’s schedule includes “The Snow Queen,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “My Name is Rumpelstiltskin.” A fourth will be announced next year.

“Shrek” will be performed tonight at 7 and Saturday at 2 at the Schwartz Center, 226 S. State St., Dover.

At the Saturday show, audience members are invited to come dressed as a “Shrek” character and join a Shrek procession across the stage at intermission.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children and can be purchased by calling 678-5152, visiting schwartzcenter.com or at the door.

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From left, Caleb Bing, 17, of Wyoming, as Papa Ogre, Christopher Mandalas, 8, of Dover, as Young Shrek and Jane Allen, 16, of Clayton, as Mama Ogre in “Shrek: The Musical.”

 

 

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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