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Chichester students take their places in ‘Shrek’

  • Bridget Mercier, as Shrek, acts out a scene during a dress rehearsal of “Shrek: The Musical, Jr.” at Chichester Central School. ELIZABETH FRANTZ photos / Monitor staff

  • Chichester Central School students play their respective parts during a dress rehearsal of Shrek the Musical Jr at the school in Chichester on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Performances of the drama club production will be Friday at 6:30 and Saturday at 1 p.m. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Chichester Central School students Madelyn Pitman as one of the three little pigs helps Gracelyn Humphreys as Fiona prepare for a dress rehearsal of “Shrek: The Musical, Jr.”

  • Maya Marsden plays Lord Farquaad during a dress rehearsal of Shrek the Musical Jr at Chichester Central School in Chichester on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Performances of the drama club production will be Friday at 6:30 and Saturday at 1 p.m. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Leah LaCross, as Princess Fiona, sings a song during a dress rehearsal of Shrek the Musical Jr at Chichester Central School in Chichester on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Performances of the drama club production will be Friday at 6:30 and Saturday at 1 p.m. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • The fairy-tale misfits ensemble sings a song during a dress rehearsal of “Shrek: the Musical, Jr.” at Chichester Central School. Performances of the drama club production will be Friday at 6:30 and Saturday at 1 p.m. ELIZABETH FRANTZ photos / Monitor staff

  • Chichester Central School students as Lord Farquaad’s soldiers rehearse for “Shrek: the Musical, Jr.”

  • Bridget Mercier as Shrek and Piper Collins as Donkey act out a scene during a dress rehearsal of Shrek the Musical Jr at Chichester Central School in Chichester on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Performances of the drama club production will be Friday at 6:30 and Saturday at 1 p.m. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Jace LaCross as Pinocchio delivers lines during a dress rehearsal of “Shrek: The Musical, Jr.” at Chichester Central School.

  • Chichester Central School students play their respective parts during a dress rehearsal of Shrek the Musical Jr at the school in Chichester on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Performances of the drama club production will be Friday at 6:30 and Saturday at 1 p.m. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Bridget Mercier as Shrek and Piper Collins as Donkey act out a scene during a dress rehearsal of Shrek the Musical Jr at Chichester Central School in Chichester on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Performances of the drama club production will be Friday at 6:30 and Saturday at 1 p.m. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

  • Maya Marsden (center) plays Lord Farquaad during a dress rehearsal of “Shrek: The Musical, Jr.” at Chichester Central School. Performances of the drama club production will be Friday at 6:30 and Saturday at 1 p.m.



Monitor staff
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Students at Chichester Central School will take you on a chaotic romp through fairy tales with their production of Shrek: The Musical, Jr.

The kids have been rehearsing for two-and-a-half months to tell the story of an ogre named Shrek, played by Bridget Mercier, and his mission to save his home and a princess.

Co-director Kate Mara, a reading teacher, said Shrek is a good ensemble show, necessary when the cast can range from 30 to 70 students. Second-grade teacher Bea Douglas is also directing.

There are no cuts from the cast; everyone gets some role, Mara said.

“It’s an opportunity for kids that don’t fit in other places,” she said.

Everyone belongs. It’s a theme that carries into their show, where a reclusive ogre discovers people he cares about.

Shrek is sent away from home by his parents at 7 years old to make his own way in the world, with the just the warning that people won’t accept him because of his appearance, and they sing “Big, Bright, Beautiful World.”

Mara said the song is her favorite because it’s the first piece and the ensemble sings it together.

“I love when you get to hear kids become one voice,” she said. “It’s an amazing, powerful thing.”

Shrek goes on to live in a swamp alone until a gang of misfit fairy tale characters moves in after being kicked out from the kingdom by Lord Farquaad (Maya Marsden).

Shrek goes to Farquaad to reclaim the solitude of his swamp, is befriended by Donkey and is tasked with rescuing a princess for Farquaad to marry to become king.

Like Shrek, Princess Fiona (played by Gracelyn Humphreys, Olivia Berkeley and Leah LaCross) was sent away by her parents.

Shrek rescues her from the tower where’s she’s guarded by a fire-breathing dragon, and the two become friends and eventually fall in love, though they don’t express their feelings.

After a great misunderstanding, Fiona runs off to marry Farquaad. The wedding is interrupted and Fiona’s secret is revealed, along with a secret about Farquaad’s parentage.

And everyone lives happily ever after and sings the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer,” with which Mara said the kids have a lot of fun.

“It’s a program we’re very proud of,” Mara said.

She hopes through the show, the children learn to be part of a team, make commitments, look out for each other and self-manage.

The students will perform for their peers Thursday. Mara said the students are very excited and get a lot of confidence from the program.

“They’ll come in Friday morning (to school) like they are king of the world,” Mara said. “It’s so positive ... to watch these kids perform their hearts out.”

Public shows will be Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. at Chichester Central School. Tickets are $5 and seating is first come, first served. Doors open a half-hour before the show begins.