LUXEMBURG, Wis. (WFRV) – Luxemburg-Casco High School brought the swamp to the stage for three days at the end of February for a “pure magical fun” performance of Shrek the Musical.
Students were able to come back after a year’s hiatus of theater and perform on Feb. 25-27 in-person at the high school. Local 5 was able to snag multiple interviews with the cast and crew before their matinee performance on Sunday.
“It’s very fun to bring Shrek to life because he’s a character that people like, look to, and they relate to. And it’s really good to be able to personify that role and give it to little kids who aren’t familiar with theater and make them interested in it,” said Jordan Theys, who acted as the great green giant himself (Shrek).
Joey Thuecks, who got to play the iconic role of Donkey, agreed. “It’s so awesome playing Donkey because when we did the intermediate school performance, as soon as I stepped out on stage, you could just hear the kids yelling, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s Donkey!’ It was so cool.”
Speaking of intermediate school performance, the high schoolers promoted their show through a special performance for little kids and even paraded down the halls in all of the younger schools to show off the costumes and characters.
A large group of cast members also said all of those costumes, the quick changes, and makeup were a bit challenging for this production.
“Taking off makeup was difficult,” explained Burke Holzwarth, who played Papa Ogre and a Knight. “It’s very hard to get all of [the green] off.”
But that wasn’t the only challenge these high schoolers had to overcome. Jordan Theys said health was also fluctuating during rehearsals. “Probably when everyone got sick a few times,” he explained in character. “People got influenza, it passed through most of the cast, and then there was a little bit of COVID here and there. So that wasn’t fun.”
Even with these challenges, the cast said they still made some lasting memories.
“Opening night there was this little girl who came up to [Fiona and Shrek] after the show and gave us these little drawings. It was so cute! It was the cutest thing in the world,” explained Valerie Jeanquart, the actress behind the character of Princess Fiona.
“I think my favorite memory was getting in the dragon and rehearsing with her – opening night when the dragon came out, everyone was like ‘Oh my god, that’s so cool,'” added Ava Doperalski, who was the voice and spirit of Dragon.
“I definitely joined because it’s different than being on a team with sports because with sports you get close in a group of ten people but with this, I was able to get close with a lot of different people and really just be in a family,” explained Lilly Theys, who played Young Fiona, a Rat Tapper, and Sleeping Beauty.
The school is participating in the Fox Cities Performing Art Center’s (PAC) Center Stage program this year as well. Theater programs are able to get their shows critiqued by a team that gives feedback to directors and students leading up to the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Showcase event in May.
Margaret Meder, the director/producer, said this is the fourth year they have participated, but two of them were pandemic years, which added a bit of difficulty. However, she explained students have loved it thus far.
“Center Stage is a great organization offering outreach that we certainly appreciate. And I’d say we’re just beginning to explore the possibilities but certainly the things like the choreography workshops and the acting workshops are something just really useful for the students and something that they’re really interested in,” she said.
For more information about the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program, click here. And if you are curious about what’s next on the playbill for the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, click here.