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The Nestline

The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

Singing Shrek Steps To The Beat


A tall, blonde boy is clad in a gray fur suit and has his arms drawn into his chest so that he appears much like a T-Rex. He trots along the stage out onto a bridge that draws him away from it and towards the crowd staring intently at him. He begins to sing, and the leaves and trees behind him begin to rustle, opening up to an entire new world. It’s Shrek, the Musical, coming to Tompkins Feb. 2 through Feb. 5.

“We knew that people would go in with some expectation of how the characters should be portrayed from seeing the film. However, most of us found that in the musical, surprisingly, there is a lot more to each character than in the movie. The best way for us to get into our characters comes from the way we move and carry ourselves, from there the characters just come to life. Each of the actors has made these iconic characters their own, while still staying true to what made them memorable from the movie and original Broadway cast,” said senior Ryan Kearton, actor playing Donkey in Shrek.

When Shrek was introduced to the stage, it was transformed into a musical. It has 20 separate musical numbers and two solely orchestral pieces.

“It flows pretty well, unlike other shows that we have done. It does not feel formulaic with a song, then the set up for the next song, then the song,” said Kearton. “It is pretty much just the story of Shrek, and then the songs are placed perfectly so that it just kinda flows into it.”

The theater company has been busy working to create the complex set for Shrek. The stage has been raised multiple feet to incorporate a treadmill directly into the floor and a walk around has been made over the first four rows of seats for actors to walk out onto.

“Anytime there is a scene change, or at least with most of the scene changes, the actors will walk out onto a bridge and then do the scene there on the walk around we have. Then, the scene is changed behind them, so it flows pretty well with that and then by the time the actors get around there will be a different set there,” said Kearton.

The actors have practiced their pieces almost every single day, except for Sundays, since their last performance. They have been practicing large group choreography and individual pieces as well as the musical as a whole. There will be multiple songs involving the almost the entire cast and a few solos and duets that showcase the lead actor’s impressive vocal range and ability.

“It is very amusing to watch. There is a lot of variety to it. Some of the dancers from the little toy box in Duloc is a sort of dance that’s very robotic and unison, then there are big crazy dance numbers with the fairy tale creatures that are very different from that. There is good variety,” said Kearton.

This musical will be submitted for competition in the Tommy Tunes Awards. A part of this is the creation of all of the distinctive characters in Shrek, including all of the animals and memorable creatures from fairy tales as well as Shrek himself.

“The Tommy Tunes Award show is a Houston-area event that is an award show that is very grammy-esque. We have a judge come and judge the performance one night and based on our performance we can be nominated for best orchestra, best musical, best actor/actress, best costume, so it is a lot of making sure that we put on the best production possible and maybe we can be nominated,” said junior Samantha Hening, stage manager for Shrek.

Tompkins has previously won two awards and been nominated for more.

“Two years ago when we did Into The Woods, we were nominated for four Tommy Tunes awards. We won best orchestra and best lighting,” said Hening.

The theater company is hoping to take home some more awards for Shrek the Musical. However, for many of the company this will be their last show in high school, and if they do not pursue it after high school, it will be their last full performance.“This is probably my favorite choice as a last show because this is my favorite show that we have done before. It’s gonna be hard,  many of us are doing UIL, a one act play after this, but it is not the same. You do not perform for the people of Tompkins, you go out and compete, and its not as fun. It is more down to the wire and constantly focused. Then, with this show it is always a blast because the shows fun, it’s Shrek. It is a good choice for a last show, and I think that people will look back and think it was worth it, being their last show,” said Kearton.

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