Featuring a host of local youth, the performances will begin at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 11-13, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 14 in BC’s Harman Chapel Auditorium. Admission for each performance will be $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Members of the BC family will be admitted for free.
With a score by Jeanine Tesori and a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, Shrek the Musical is based on the children’s book by William Steig and the 2001 Dreamworks animated film starring Mike Meyers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz. The stage musical opened on Broadway in 2008 and tells the story of the ogre, Shrek, who lives in a swamp and is feared and reviled by everybody in the neighboring kingdom of Duloc.
But then one day his swamp is invaded by a band of refugee fairytale figures who have been banished from Duloc by Lord Farquaad, the trumped-up ruler of the tiny kingdom. Shrek sets off on a quest to get the fairytale interlopers out of his swamp and back on their own turf. To do this he must rescue Princess Fiona, a beautiful but slightly bipolar princess being held hostage by a dragon. If Shrek can free the princess so she can marry Lord Farquaad, making him King Farquaad, then he can have his swamp back.
Shrek sets off on the quest accompanied by a very talkative donkey. Together, they slay the dragon — romantically, not literally — and free the princess. But, complications — and magic — ensue when the beautiful princess falls in love with the hideous ogre instead of the handsome prince.
As part of a huge cast of local youth, Brian Fisher plays the role of Shrek in the Bluefield College Youth Theatre production, while Sarah Minnix fills the role of the beautiful Fiona. Their very talkative companion, Donkey, is played by Jacob Stowers, the diminuitive Lord Farquaad is played by Christian Barham, and the dragon is played by Lyndsey Brown.
Other Bluefield Youth Theatre cast members include Sarah Jacobs as Pinocchio, Hannah Minnix and Rachel White as the adolescent and child Fiona, Aaron Sudderth as the Big Bad Wolf, Alexandra Stout as the Wicked Witch, Zoe Hodge as the Gingerbread Man, and Jocelyn Pruitt, McKailyn Corner and Kate Sheets as the Three Little Pigs. Emma Donchetz plays the Sugar Plum Fairy, Payton Rice plays Humpty Dumpty, Emma Miller plays the Ugly Duckling, Samantha Anderson plays the Fairy Godmother, and Clayton McChesney, Jeanna Anderson and Elise Jacobs play the Three Bears.
Additional cast members include Ginny Bird, Ashley Burton, Carrington Shelton, Halea Fowler, Madeline Surles, Lexi Sturgell, Nina Young, Emma Blevins, Kylie Bowers, Jessie Davidson, Josiah Denton, Claire Fisher, Io Neo, Kimberly Turner, Emily Ward, Erin Wellman, Christian Yates, Chloe Bowers, Zachary Bowman, Sara Brown, McKenzie Corner, Abby Dolan, Emma Claire Mullins, Jayanna Cooper, A.J. Donchetz, Isabelle Douthat, Sophia Goldsworthy, Miles Munique, Noah Munique, Axella Neo, Margaret Rieger, Finn Smith, Elias Stout, Aiden Stout, Maggie Ward, Grant Webb, Ella Webb, and Bear Woodard.
“With 60 cast members this is without question the largest production we’ve ever put on at Bluefield College,” said Charles Reese, associate professor and co-chair of the Theatre Department. “It’s also one of the most elaborate productions we’ve ever done with specialty makeup, special effects, and beautiful scenery. I think audiences are going to be blown away when they come to see Shrek the Musical.”
Joining Reese in directing the production is Rebecca McCoy-Reese, assistant professor and co-chair of the Theatre Department. Music direction and choreography are being provided by Bobby Hall and Ashley Burton. Madeline Surles is serving as stage manager and technical director, while Jan Minnix is serving as scenic artist.
Bluefield Youth Theatre at Bluefield College began in the fall of 2007 when dozens of local youth responded to a call for auditions for the production of Treasure Island, a performance that would become one of BC Theatre’s largest and most popular ever. From that event, the vision was born to create a theatre company designed specifically for training and performance experience for the youth and children of the two Virginias.
In December of 2007, the concept came to fruition with The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, the pilot production of Bluefield Youth Theatre. Today, more than 100 local youth have performed in Bluefield Youth Theatre for audiences of more than 20,000. Shrek the Musical will be the group’s 22nd production, following two repeat performances of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; The Adventures of Robin Hood; Oliver Twist; Charlotte’s Web; Arthur at Merlin’s King’s Academy; A Christmas Carol; Jungle Book; Aladdin; Peter Pan; Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Mulan; The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree; The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian; The Little Mermaid, Jr.; [email protected]; Beauty and the Beast, Jr.; Annie, Jr.; and The Hiding Place.
For more information, contact the Bluefield College Theatre Department by phone at 276-326-4244 or by email [email protected]