Randolph Central School To Perform ‘Shrek the Musical’

Randolph Central School will host a student production of “Shrek the Musical” from Thursday to Saturday. Shown are cast members onstage at the high school auditorium during a rehearsal: Standing, left to right: Haleigh Smith, Lavani Johnson, Jordan Dubuque, Chase Smallback, Elaina James, Corin Carpenter. (Kneeling, Aspen Hawkins. Laying down, Caliana Wheeler and Loganne Bushey.) Photo by Deb Everts

RANDOLPH — Students at Randolph Central School will present “Shrek the Musical” beginning Thursday in the high school auditorium at 7 p.m. The musical will run through Saturday.

Andrew Garvey, drama club director, said most of the original “Shrek” that everybody knows and loves is intact, but things have been added or changed to make the production better for the stage.

“Shrek the Musical” is a fairytale adventure based on the Oscar-winning film. The storyline follows the lovable, green ogre Shrek and his sidekick Donkey as they seek to rescue Princess Fiona in exchange for getting his swamp back. Just like the movie, the play spoofs many classic fairytale characters including the Gingerbread Man and Pinocchio.

Set in a mythical “once upon a time” sort of land, the musical is the story of a hulking, green ogre who, after being mocked and feared his entire life by anything that crosses his path, retreats to an ugly, swamp to exist in happy isolation.

According to Garvey, the show was selected in October when he sat down with pit band conductor Cory Derrenbacher and vocal director Colleen Hood to talk about show ideas. They decided to go with “Shrek” because they felt they had a cast that would be a great match for the roles, and it would really showcase their talents.

The cast includes students in grades six through 12. Garvey said the production includes a cast and crew of at least 35, and more may be added to the crew as needed in the next week.

“Our rehearsals began when the students returned from their Christmas break, so they’ve had a little over a month-and-a-half,” he said. “The shows are usually performed in March but, due to the school’s two-week spring break and some other scheduling issues, we were forced to go a little early this year.”

Costumes and props were lent to Randolph for the show by Panama, Southwestern, Maple Grove schools as well as the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown.

“It’s nice to be in a community where so many are willing to share what they have. Resources can get stretched pretty thin when you’re doing a big show like ‘Shrek,’ so being able to depend on these great schools, clubs, and organizations has made it a lot easier,” Garvey said. “Many other costumes were purchased from various retailers or handmade. Joan Waterman, a mother to one of our cast members, has been doing a lot of sewing for us, and everything has been turning out great.”

Garvey said Rudi Andalora is choreographer. He said the pit band is made up of a seriously talented group of local musicians from all around the area, including a couple of recent Randolph graduates, as well as a current student.

Garvey credits high school art teacher, Crystal Walters, and some of her art students for helping cast members and their families paint some of the props and set pieces that take the audience from Shrek’s swamp to Lord Farquaad’s castle, and back.

“Keith and Nicole Smallback have done an excellent job planning and building the set based on some ideas and sketches I sent them,” he said.

Garvey said many people are assisting behind the scenes including Nicole Smallback who has been instrumental in organizing parents and volunteers to help with various parts of the show. Others who have been helping out include Christine Bulich with makeup and prosthetics, and Joan Waterman with costumes.

“Really, all cast members’ parents have been assisting in many ways, whether it’s helping with rides to and from the school, bringing food to kids during long rehearsals, or helping shop for costumes and props,” he said.

Senior citizens are invited to the dress rehearsal on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Admission will be free with cookies and punch during intermission.

Garvey said he expects the show to run two-and-a-half to three hours, which includes a short intermission between Acts 1 and 2. The cost is $8 for adults and $5 for students. Children 2 years old and under will be admitted for free.