“Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Do you get it? We both have layers.” – Shrek the Musical
From October 4-6, the Robert B. Gaw Theatre was jam-packed with audiences attending the High School’s Performing Arts showcase, Shrek the Musical. The beloved animated film was brought to life in the musical, which follows the adventures of Shrek, the grumpy but lovable ogre, as he embarks on a journey to rescue Princess Fiona from a dragon-guarded tower. Along the way, Shrek is joined by an unlikely group of friends, including a talkative Donkey and a motley crew of fairytale creatures.
When asked why they chose “Shrek” as their musical this year, Tina Casey, the HS/IB Theatre Teacher and Performing Arts Director, explained that she had several criteria in mind. Firstly, she needed to find a show with a full pit orchestra that was suitable for all ages and could be licensed in Malaysia. Additionally, the show needed to appeal to HS students and make them want to be a part of it.
Casey admits that she was initially reluctant to do Shrek as she knew the production side would be challenging. “It’s a well-known fact on Broadway that this musical is one of the most demanding ones to produce because of the costumes, the makeup, the set, etc. But we had a great team of people to assist in this, especially parent Susanne Fisher, who stepped up to do the costumes for us. That was a real game changer regarding how the show came to be visually,” says Casey. The production team even went above and beyond to ensure the authenticity of the costumes and props for some of the characters. They even went as far as to purchase the headpieces and makeup for Shrek and Fiona and Pinocchio’s famous nose when traveling to the US this past summer.
From the moment the curtains went up, a rollercoaster of laughter and heartwarming moments left the audience thoroughly entertained and enthralled. The colorful and whimsical set design transported the audience to the magical world of Shrek, where every detail was meticulously crafted.
The lead actors who played the roles of the much-loved characters Shrek, Donkey, Fiona, and the villainous Lord Farquaad came to life with their impeccable performances, perfectly capturing their quirks and personalities. The ensemble cast’s unique vocals and awe-inspiring energy were genuinely outstanding, accompanied by the incredible sounds produced by the musicians in the Pit Orchestra. At the same time, the choreography and dance numbers were spectacular, adding an extra layer of excitement to the whole production.
Witnessing the size of such a massive production as Shrek the Musical reinforces the sentiment that “it takes a village” to put on such an incredible and professionally run show. Thirty-nine talented students in the ensemble cast brought their unique skills and personalities to the performance. Twenty-five students and faculty in the Pit Orchestra provided the perfect musical accompaniment to complement the actors’ performances. In addition, over 43 dedicated students, faculty, and staff in the Production Team worked tirelessly behind the scenes, and numerous other individuals in the ISKL community volunteered their time and contributed to making this production an outstanding success.
But it didn’t stop there; the support of the audience, the ISKL community, and everyone involved in bringing this fantastical tale to life was equally important. The production was genuinely entertaining and reminded us that the results can be awe-inspiring when a community comes together with passion and dedication.
Shrek the Musical was not just a show but a testament to the power of celebrating differences, collective effort, shared artistic expression, and Panther spirit. Casey adds, “Shrek is not your stereotypical type of fairytale, and the story holds a beautiful message that speaks to our students that yes, we are all different, and we should be proud of our differences.”
Thank you, everyone, for creating beautiful memories for our school!