Two classes of ogre-ly talented Grade 5 students take to the stage June 6 and 7 as they bring Shrek the Musical JR. to the McPherson Playhouse.
The kid-friendly musical, based on the 2001 film of the same name and the Broadway show that spun from that, tells the story of a swamp-dwelling ogre named Shrek who heads off on an adventure to rescue a princess.
Months of hard work in rehearsals will pay off as our students get to experience performing in a professional theatre for large audiences.
The SMUSpaper sat down with four young performers – Matthew, Molly, Sophie and Gillian – who play lead roles in Shrek the Musical Jr. to chat about being in a SMUS musical.
Who do you play in Shrek the Musical JR.?
Matthew – I play Shrek. The thing with Shrek is he’s the hero, but he’s a hero who looks differently. He mostly likes to spend all his time alone because he gets judged by the way he looks. The whole purpose of his journey is to get these other fairy tale creatures out of his swamp so he can be alone.
Molly – I’m Fiona. She is somebody who has attitude but shows it off by being really smart. She’s a kind person and is really happy and joyful.
Sophie – Lord Farquaad is the villain in the musical. And the big thing you’ll notice about him is that he’s short – I go on my knees to play him. He commands the village of Duloc as a lord but he wants to be king. But to do that he needs to marry a princess. He’s not capable of doing it and makes it seem like he’s too important to rescue a princess so he gets Shrek to help him. It’s like being the villain because I don’t think I’m mean in real life so it’s really fun to be someone different.
Gillian – Being Donkey is probably one of the greatest experiences of my life because I get to be myself and also be somebody completely different from me. I’m fun and peppy and kind of out there, like Donkey, and he doesn’t really care about what he does. But we’re different because he tries to get his nose into everything and he’s not very brave.
What was it like finding out you got your part in the Grade 5 musical?
Sophie – We got an envelope with a little piece of paper in it that said our role. I was really nervous when I ripped the envelope open. I saw that I was Farquaad and I couldn’t even register how I was feeling for a minute – and then I was really happy.
Matthew – I was really scared to find out what I got. Did I get a minor role or a big role? But I was really hoping for a big role and was so excited when I saw that I get to be Shrek.
Molly – I remember my hand was shaking so much when I opened the envelope. And when I saw I was Fiona a tear rolled down my face.
Gillian – I was crying; I was really surprised! And then I was really excited to get to tell my family.
What’s the best part about being in a SMUS musical?
Gillian – I find it nerve-wracking and also really, really, really exciting at the same time because I’ve always loved drama and singing and choir. One of my dreams is to be an actress or a singer so I was really excited about going into Grade 5 and being in the musical. My sister does the SMUS musical (at the Senior School) every year and whenever I watch her I get so jealous because I want to do one so bad. Now I get to be on stage and hope to be as amazing as she is.
Sophie – I feel really fortunate to be at SMUS where we get to do a musical like this. Since Kindergarten I’ve been looking forward to the musical. I couldn’t wait for it and now I’m here. I just feel so lucky because the teachers all pitch it to make it a really good show and we get to feel what it’s like to perform at the McPherson Playhouse.
Matthew – I think the biggest honour is getting to perform. I’ve always loved the concept of going out on stage and performing. It’s been a dream of mine to do this since I watched one of the SMUS musicals and now I’m here.
Why should people come see Shrek the Musical JR.?
Matthew – They should see Shrek the Musical because they get to see kids really try their best and make you laugh, hear new songs and see us act.
Gillian – I think people should come because not a lot of people think that 10- and 11-year-olds can do something like this. If you see this, we hope to change people’s minds and show them that kids can do as much as adults can do.
Molly – You should come because it’s amazing to see how amazing we are in Grade 5. You should definitely come see how much work we’ve put into it!
Sophie – People should come see it because they can see what kids are really capable of. And I also think it shows that SMUS goes the extra mile to give kids more opportunities to pursue their dreams.
Shrek the Musical JR. runs June 6 and 7 at the McPherson Playhouse at 7 pm. Tickets and more information are available on the McPherson Playhouse website.