A princess, a donkey and a big green ogre are among the characters who will tell their story on the Woodstock Opera House stage when TownSquare Players presents “Shrek the Musical,” Nov. 3 to 19.
Based on the DreamWorks Animation motion picture and the book by William Steig, the show at the Opera House, 121 Van Buren St., will feature memorable songs and dazzling, energetic dance numbers. The cast of 25 is under the direction of Roger Zawacki.
The role of Shrek belongs to Woodstock native Colin May. A familiar face in many TSP and WMTC productions, May described playing the character as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“It’s a dream role for me …. It fits my voice” he said.
In learning the role, May said he found his character was much deeper than he thought, as Shrek goes on an emotional journey.
Chicago television and film actor Brandon S. Lewis said ever since he saw “Shrek the Musical” in 2013 he searched for somewhere he could play the role of Donkey. When he learned about the TSP production, he auditioned and committed to making the trip out from the city for rehearsals.
“I love performing for children,” Lewis said. “It brings me great joy.”
In addition to a fantastic cast, producer Karen Cook praised the beautiful set pieces for enhancing the show.
Lead set constructor Brent White, technical director Tiffany Matras and a large crew of volunteers have created a set fit for a princess, including a castle tower with stained-glass windows and a forest of hand-carved trees. White credited the talents of the set painters with bringing his building projects to life.
Compared to all the previous productions, White said this is the biggest project he’s done. In order to accommodate the physical scope of the set design, work began in August in a Bull Valley barn instead of at the warehouse where the sets are usually built.
“We knew going into our 50th season that we wanted to go big,” said Mantras. “It’s worth it. … The cast is talented but this will make it a work of art.”
White, an experienced carpenter and wood sculptor, began working on set building with theater groups shortly after moving to Woodstock. “I was new to Woodstock, and Tiffany [Mantras] grabbed me. Since then I’ve had a hand in every production except ‘Addams Family.’”
In addition to building beautiful sets, White has built many friendships and found a family volunteering alongside his fellow theater people. “I’ve been rewarded in abundance,” he said. “Pretty much all my friends are here, and I wouldn’t have known them otherwise.”
The crew has received additional backstage help from students who have come to them as part of Project Mentor, a program open to high school students, families and children, to work on set building, lighting, sound and promotions. Matras encouraged anyone interested in Project Mentor to visit TownSquare Players website TownSquarePlayers.org.
“Shrek the Musical” will be presented at 8 p.m. Fridays, Nov. 3, 10 and 17; 2 p.m. Saturdays, Nov. 4, 11 and 18; 8 p.m. Saturdays, Nov. 11 and 18; and 2 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 5, 12 and 19. Additionally, on Sunday Nov. 5 and 12 a “Mud Pie Party” featuring Shrek, Fiona and Donkey will follow the show.
Ticket prices are $25 for A seating, $20 for B seating and $15 for C seating, plus $5 per person additional for the party.