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Draper Journal

Draper Historic Brings Shrek to the Stage

Aug 22, 2016 01:10PM ● By Kelly Cannon

Shrek the Musical takes the movie to an even more ridiculous place.

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

In the anti-fairy tale of the ages, “Shrek the Musical” shows the power of being yourself even if you’re an ogre. The Draper Historic Theatre's production, which opened Aug. 5, brought together a strong cast of singing and acting talent.
Based on the Dreamworks movie, “Shrek the Musical” tells the story of an ogre who wants to be left alone in his swamp but is forced to rescue a princess in order to keep his home from being invaded by fairy tale creatures. With the help from a talking Donkey, Shrek learns not only how to open up and love others, but also the importance of being true to who you are.
The show was directed by Marc Navez, who said he was looking for lead characters who matched the movie personas.
“They had the characteristics, they looked them, they sounded like them and they acted like them,” Navez said.
Producing “Shrek the Musical” was a difficult task since the creators of the musical changed almost everything from the movie.
“They kept the plot and the story but then they wrote all new music. They wrote all new dialogue and introduced whole new characters,” Navez said. “It was difficult to try and continue and keep the movie in while not having the movie with us. So we tried to throw as many things as we could in that came to our mind.”
Navez also had the challenge of bringing such a large production onto the small stage at the Draper Historic Theatre.
“It was so big that we had to make this big show on our small stage and getting our scenery done on time,” Navez said. “We needed all the help we could get and then he had people quit so we had to figure it out and start all over. It’s stressful.”
Instead of having one person cast in the lead roles of Shrek and Fiona, Navez cast multiple people for the roles, having them play the part during one of the acts.
“I like to give as many people the opportunity here at the Draper (Historic) Theater to be able to perform roles that they’re either made for or to give them the opportunity,” Navez said. “With it being summer, a lot of people like to go on vacation so it’s nice to have multiple Fionas and multiple Shreks so they can still have a family life but still be in the show. You never know when they’re going to get sick. It’s always nice to have a backup plan.”
Patrick Brannelly is one of the actors who plays Shrek. Brannelly became aware of the production after his daughter saw an ad for auditions. Brannelly has been chasing the role of Shrek for a long time.
“I love being the character of someone who puts on a brave face but is a lot more sentimental and fragile than he lets on[AC1] ,” Brannelly said. “Then he gets to come out and be who he is. That’s kind of the message of the show, to show that we should be who we are and not be afraid of who we are. It kind of resonates.”
Hollly Anderson started out as the music director working with Navez but fell in love with the music and asked if she could audition. She later was cast as one of the Fionas. Anderson described the princess as a goofball.
“The musical takes the Fiona from the movie and takes her just a bit farther,” Anderson said. “She’s really fun, really playful, really lighthearted. She’s the kind of princess who would wear sneakers.”
Navez said he hoped audiences would reach the soul of the story, which he described as beautiful isn’t always pretty.
“Beauty comes from within,” Navez said. “No matter who you are or what you look like, true happiness can be yours.”