Never before has Clearview Regional High School’s theater department performed “Shrek The Musical.”
For last year’s spring musical, the department performed “Footloose,” based on the 1984 film of the same name. Paul Sommers, the school’s director, considered it not as much a children’s production since a lot of kids don’t know the movie.
But now, Sommers is excited to see the response of the younger community with a story and characters they all know.
“I’m most excited about seeing the children’s faces when they come,” he said of “Shrek The Musical.” “We would love to show the younger generations and get them excited to come to Clearview and build off that for the future of the program.”
The show has about five lead roles, while the rest is an ensemble of singing and dancing. Viewers will see the same familiar characters beloved by fans: Shrek, Princess Fiona, Lord Farquaad, Donkey, and yes, even the dragon.
The school has a 15-foot dragon costume that will be held up by five people occupying the stage through many of the musical’s main songs.
“We just got the dragon and it’s huge,” Sommers enthused. “We’re very excited about that.”
The dragon performs in four scenes and in one major song, which means the five students who carry the heavy prop will have to do so for just over 10 minutes. The show’s directors are recruiting students to carry the dragon throughout the musical.
The willing participants will not just have to withstand the weight, but will need to know the songs in order to synchronize the dragon’s mouth with the lyrics.
“The dragon is singing, so they have to time that up,” Sommers explained. “That’s probably the hardest part.”
The version of the musical the school is using is the same as that of the national tour. It is based on the 2001DreamWorks Animation film “Shrek,” along with elements from its sequels: “Shrek 2,” “Shrek Forever After” and William Steig’s 1990 book “Shrek!”
Senior Gavin Smith has been a part of the school’s theater program since seventh grade. With leading roles in the past, he’s happy to continue that in his final show, playing the lead character of Shrek.
“It’s kind of unbelievable that it’s my last show,” said Smith, who hopes to continue theater while he pursues a communications and broadcasting degree at Widener University. “The most exciting thing is hanging out with these people every night and getting ready to put on a show.
“It’s great to see all of the young people see you as the characters that you play on the stage.”
Junior Devon DiVerniero, who played Cinderella in the fall play, considers her role as Donkey to be a big challenge.
“Going from playing a very sweet and innocent girl to playing the most crazy, highest- energy character is a big jump, but it’s a lot of fun,” she said.
DiVerniero explained that for her, the most exciting part of the show this year is the camaraderie that results from the team’s hard work.
“When the entire group is here working until the dead of night, it really starts to feel like a family,” she said. “Even more than putting on a show, it’s just fun to be with everybody and the community that comes out.”
General admission seating for the show will be available for purchase at the box office. The lobby and box office will be open 90 minutes prior to show time. The first of four shows, from Thursday to Saturday, is on March 19 at 7 p.m. Visit www.crhsd.booktix.com for tickets.