Arts and Entertainment

Curtain! Shrek the Musical Wraps Up Production

By: Xinyan Zheng (284)

This school year, the theatrical community and art enthusiasts at Central celebrated the return of live theater with Shrek the Musical. The last completed theatrical production was Dirty Rotten Scoundrels back in the Fall of 2019, but in 2020, Central students began developing The Wind in the Willows before COVID-19 sent all into lockdown. When extracurricular activities were shut down indefinitely, half of the student body was not even attendingCentral! Shrek the Musical marked the first theatrical production that 283 and 284 had the pleasure of taking part in and viewing. Where did it all begin, you ask? To learn about Central’s theatrical roots, I interviewed the head of production, Mr. Blazer, and Ms. Gruzwalski.

Auditions for the musical opened in October of 2021, though the deadline was extended to December 13 after a minimal turnout; the final cast was announced in early January. Since then, the actors and actresses worked up until the performance, at least 2-3 days a week for several hours after school. While the gifted thespians appeared to put on a seamless performance, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Mr. Blazer recounts some of the many problems the cast faced during rehearsals: constant recasting, the stage ceiling falling, scheduling conflicts for use of the auditorium, and blocking (placement of the actors on stage).

However, they were not the only ones who worked hard on production. Costume Design and Stage Crew started planning as soon as word of the musical dropped. As a member of Costume Design, I remember spending several months rifling through old costumes, planning, designing, measuring, cutting, and sewing. Being backstage was arguably one of the most stressful, but exhilarating experiences I’ve encountered – kudos to my fellow members who were backstage for multiple shows. I spent the duration of the show hanging costumes on racks, helping the Dulocs change in as little time as possible – praying that everyone’s shoulder pads would stay on – 

running up from the dressing room to backstage, looking for missing pants, and failing to attempt helping an actress out with her makeup. 

Nonetheless, it was well worth it. While havoc wreaked backstage, the audience sat back and enjoyed a spectacular performance. Some of the most beloved and memorable moments of the show were inarguably the iconic True Love’s Kiss, Caleb Nathansor (283) immaculate portrayal of Lord Farquaad – whose luscious hair my friend was greatly enamored by – and the unforgettable second half of Dragon. Savannah Sandhaus (284), who played Pig #3, a Duloc citizen, and a Rat recalled, “my favorite part was probably performing in front of a live audience again after 3 years without it due to the pandemic. The audience really makes performing all the more worth it. And of course, the cast and the building moments. Theater is truly where you meet the best people and create such tight bonds so easily.” 

Congratulations to all the actors, Stage Crew, Costume Design, makeup artists, music performers, and faculty advisors for their involvement and for putting on an incredible show. I believe I speak for everyone when I say, I cannot wait for next year’s show.

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