Little Chute High School has a history of putting on wonderful musical performances. Last year’s heartbreaking “Aida” and the previous year’s hilarious “Urinetown” are remembered to this day for their incredible storylines and talented performers. With such high expectations for this year’s show, the students had a lot on their plates. However, with a well-known story and incredibly dedicated students, we can now add “SHREK: The Musical” to the list of performances to remember.
The show was performed at 7:00 p.m. on November 9th, 10th, and 11th in the LCHS auditorium, though those involved in it had been planning and practicing for months. When an audience member first entered the auditorium, he or she received a program listing all the cast and characters of the show. Members of LCHS’s Key Club then ushered the guests to their seats, where they waited in anticipation for the musical to begin. The seats filled quickly, and soon the room was packed with students, staff, family members, and community members eager to watch “Shrek” take life before their own eyes.
As the lights went down, all talking from the audience stopped. Finally, after months of waiting, the time had come. After a polite auditory instruction from a few cast members to turn off all cell phones, the musical began. The opening scene was heartbreaking, drawing the attention of each individual even more. Shrek’s parents kicked him to the curb at just seven years old, and everyone developed a deep sense of sympathy for the poor, green ogre. The musical then fast-forwarded many years ahead, depicting Shrek in his adult years where he lived alone in his swamp. As if the audience wasn’t already intrigued with Shrek’s sorrowful story, then the real magic began. Shrek, played by senior Jon Spaeth, began to sing. He sang of his misfortune and misery; he sang of the torture of being alone. The tone of his voice fit the role perfectly, and all children, teenagers, and adults alike witnessed one of their favorite Disney characters come to life.
As the musical continued, the audience met Lord Farquaad, portrayed by senior Jonah Hammen. Once again, the casting choice proved phenomenal. Jonah’s confidence on stage really shone through his role as the bizarre, petite villain. Lord Farquaad heard news of the beautiful princess Fiona who had been locked away in a tower for the past 20 years and was determined to make her his wife. However, fearing the fire-breathing dragon that guarded Fiona’s castle and all other possible perils of the journey, he sends Shrek to save the princess and bring her back to him. Shrek agrees on one condition; if he can rescue the princess and bring her back to Lord Farquaad, then, in turn, the villain must allow back into the kingdom the fairy tale creatures who had been banished to the swamp. Shrek reluctantly agrees and begins the long, difficult journey to find the princess.
It is at this point in the story where we meet a fan-favorite character: Donkey. Played by sophomore Kani Johnson, his remarkable voice, appealing humor, and unarguable charm captivated the audience. Donkey met Shrek near the beginning of his journey, and he proved to be a loyal companion along the way. Duets between the two characters were arguably some of the most amusing moments of the entire show, complete with funky dance moves and hilarious lyrics. Shrek dislikes Donkey when they first meet, but he later finds that there is no friend as loyal as him.
While Shrek and Donkey forge ahead, the musical brings the audience all the way to Fiona’s castle, where we get our first glimpse of the beautiful princess. Senior Kelsey Weidman enacted this role, and it fit her to a tee. Before she appeared, however, two younger Fionas dazzled us with their superb voices. This song they performed, titled “I Know it’s Today”, was split into three parts. Each part was sung by a different Fiona in order of age to give the audience a sense of just how long the princess had been stuck in the tower. After young Fiona and teenage Fiona sang, Kelsey’s character took her turn on stage. She mesmerized the crowd from the first note. Besides her outstanding voice, Kelsey displayed the traits of the princess in such a way that the audience could not help but become enthralled with her character. From her quirky facial expressions and dance moves to her natural charisma, Fiona was not your typical princess. She was one with which the audience could relate to and laugh with, and everyone no doubt felt extremely sympathetic for the princess because of the situation she was in. However, even though Fiona had been locked up for 20 years, she possesses an overwhelming amount of hope and positivity. She knew her knight would come, and, as the audience would soon learn, she was not disappointed.
Against all odds, Shrek eventually makes it to the tower. Donkey stays back while Shrek searches for the princess. When Fiona sees her rescuer, she is overjoyed. She had been secluded from the rest of the world for all her life, and now she was free. As Fiona begins talking about marriage and the incredible future she and Shrek will have together, the ogre reveals his true form by taking off his helmet. Fiona is shocked, but this feeling of surprise soon dissipates as Shrek tells her that her real husband-to-be is Lord Farquaad. Kelsey, Jon, and Kani play their characters with such marvellous precision and personality in these scenes. The three do not miss a beat.
Next, Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona begin the long journey back to the kingdom. The princess is fascinated with everything she sees: the trees, the flowers, the birds. Along the way, Shrek and Fiona grow close. They discover that they are actually very similar in that they both had troubling childhoods and even share the same taste in food. The audience knows that they are falling in love. One night, however, Donkey learns a truth about Fiona that she does not want anyone to know. At night, the princess transforms into an ogre. Donkey is shocked, and the princess explains that she is cursed and must find true love in order to break it. She forces Donkey to keep his lips sealed.
Just when Shrek is going to tell Fiona his true feelings for her, he hears the princess talking about a hideous ogre. She is really talking about herself, but Shrek obviously doesn’t know that and thinks she is talking about him. He runs away, flower in hand, and keeps his feelings inside. The trio soon makes it back to the kingdom, where Fiona and Lord Farquaad prepare to wed. However, when Shrek learns the truth about Fiona, he interrupts the wedding. The two share a kiss, and their future together is sealed.
This completes the story of Shrek. Fiona and Shrek find true love, Donkey makes a new friend, and the fairytale creatures get their lives back. Complete with amazing music and the classic “happy ending”, Shrek is a fantastic fairytale. Little Chute High School impressed us all with their stunning performance. From the performers in the spotlight to the set crew and makeup artists backstage, a huge number of students and teachers worked together to put on an unforgettable show. Though most of the audience already knew the story of Shrek before attending the musical, its performance was so extraordinary that the entire show felt new and exciting. Everyone involved in the production of the musical can say that it is an awesome experience. Star Kelsey Weidman sums this up perfectly. “The musical is always such an amazing opportunity to be a part of,” she shares. “You get all these amazing, talented kids in one room and build such a strong connection on and off stage. Even through the rehearsals can run long into the night, the experience you get out of it it worth it. It’s something I’m going to miss a lot when I graduate.”
While it is impossible to compare this year’s musical with past years’ performances due to differing storylines and performers, it is definitely safe to say that “SHREK: The Musical” will go down in Little Chute High School history books.