WENATCHEE — “I’m an animal and I have instincts and you were definitely digging on each other,” said Donkey (Jeff Heminger) to Shrek the Ogre (Vern Smith) and Princess Fiona (Maddy Atwood) at an April 26 rehearsal of “Shrek the Musical.”
This year’s Apple Blossom Musical by Music Theatre of Wenatchee plays at the Numerica Performing Arts Center with showtimes at 7:30 p.m. May 3-6 and 10-13, with 2 p.m. matinees on May 7 and 13. Tickets are $29-$39 at numericapac.org or by calling the box office at (509) 663-2787.
The original musical is based on the animated DreamWorks “Shrek” movies, with book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Jeanine Tesori.
The characters are from fairy tales, such as Pinnochio (Taylor Hewitt), Peter Pan (Kade Devereux), the Muffin Man (Ian Ross) and others who appear to Shrek in the swamp to complain of their banishment from the Kingdom of Duloc, by order of the evil Lord Farquaad (John Merrit).
David Williams directs a cast of 48 performers, which is larger than normal, with an ensemble playing multiple characters. Kristy Claire is the costume designer who has been “working feverishly” on 223 costumes, said Williams. The costumes include prosthetics and wigs, plus a dragon puppet.
Smith not only sings, acts and dances for the title role, he also constructed the set pieces.
Set designer Mike Locke was back and forth at the rehearsal between the technical booth and the backstage area to consult with the stage crew, which was managed by Michelle Littler.
Choreography is by Megan Allen, and includes a big tap number by dancing rats, an energetic romp by the knights and a trio by the Three Blind Mice with walking sticks that double as microphones.
Williams said he has probably exchanged more than 1,200 texts with producer Jill Sheets since starting with auditions and rehearsals in January. Sheets said kids will definitely like “Shrek” although there is adult humor they won’t get.
A burp-off between the ogres got plenty of laughs from the young performers, in the seats during rehearsal, while patiently waiting for their time to take the stage.
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