Blaine actors let their ‘freak flag fly’

For more than five years, Blaine High School theater director Cynthia Hess has dreamed of mounting the musical “Shrek.” Her dream has finally come true with a group of more than 40 actors bringing the tale of the loveable ogre to life.

Fiona (Alexis Wilcox) is appalled that Shrek (Jack Strub) had the gall to interrupt her wedding to the diminutive Lord Farquaad (Collan Simmons). Photo submitted
Fiona (Alexis Wilcox) is appalled that Shrek (Jack Strub) had the gall to interrupt her wedding to the diminutive Lord Farquaad (Collan Simmons). Photo submitted

“Shrek the Musical” runs April 27-29 at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on April 29.

“I love ‘Shrek,’” Hess said. “I love the music, the dialogue, the message of acceptance. It’s a perfect show for this cast, and I am thrilled to be bringing this family-friendly musical to our audience.”

The musical is adapted from the 2001 Oscar-winning animated film, which was based on a 1990 book “Shrek!” Shrek’s quiet and solitary life is interrupted by a group of fairy tale characters, banished from the Kingdom of Duloc by the nefarious Lord Farquaad (Collan Simmons). Shrek (Jack Strub) is forced into an epic journey to rescue Pinocchio, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Wicked Witch, and the Big Bad Wolf, among others, from their exile. Along the way, he is joined by a zealous Donkey (Erebi Nyenkan) and the untraditional Princess Fiona (Alexis Wilcox).

“We’ve been waiting to do this show for years now, and I’m so excited to perform in the lead role,” Strub said. “The whole show has such an amazing energy to it, and I can’t wait to just have fun in all my ogreness.”

Nyenkan, playing a lead role for the first time, echoes Strub’s excitement, adding that she is thrilled to be acting in a role usually portrayed by men.

“It’s so much fun playing the role of Donkey, especially being a female. I think it’ll be very interesting for the audience to see a woman playing the part,” Nyenkan said. “I wouldn’t have even gotten a chance to portray this character if it hadn’t been for our director, Mrs. Hess. She doesn’t look at your skin color or your gender when she’s thinking of casting you. She looks at your abilities and your talent. Which is one of the best parts of being a part of (this high school theater).”

Nyenkan added that playing to your strengths is a big part of what “Shrek The Musical” is all about.

“The message of this show is to be true to who you are, no matter what the world says. Don’t try to change just to please others. All of the characters are strange in some way, and they aren’t truly happy until they accept who they are,” she said.

Tickets for the musical can be purchased in advance at www.seatyourself.biz/blainehs or at the door before each performance.