“Shrek the Musical’ takes center stage once again

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What do a big, green ogre who lives in a swamp and a talking donkey who falls in love with a dragon have in common?

 They both will be on stage for Stratford’s upcoming spring musical.

Theatre director Ms. Sylvia Haynie said the seasonal show is usually presented between November and December. The last time this musical came to life was in 2019 at Macon Little Theatre. 

This year will be the first time it is at Stratford, involving around 100 cast members from seniors to faculty and lower school students with diverse and unique roles such as fairytale creatures and guards with swords. 

      These are kids that will stand side by side with somebody who’s graduating this year. For the next 18 years, there’ll be somebody on this campus that did a play with someone 18 years from now will be married and bringing their own kids to go to school here.”

— Ms. Sylvia Haynie, theatre director

“Of course that’s what the story of Shrek is all about, that your uniqueness is what makes you special, that we’re all different, but we’re all an important part of the greater whole. And I think that’s the message that I wanted to be able to share, to remind people that we’re all different, but we’re all important” Ms. Haynie said. 

The age gap between some of the cast members “does create a legacy of kids, and it becomes a little family,’’ she said.

 She explained how the younger kids will remember that one show, the seniors who were involved. They’d have stood “side by side with someone who’s graduating this year. For the next 18 years, there’ll be somebody on this campus that did a play with someone 18  years from now will be married and bringing their own kids to go to school here,” Ms.Haynie said. The idea is to create memories.

Ms. Haynie is still recruiting additional faculty who want to participate. Head of Upper School Mrs.Theresa Ferrari, and science teachers Coach Ross Bridges, and Mrs. Candace Bridges have already signed up.

Additionally, she is pleased to work with the dozens of new faces and group of students from first to fifth grade as they solidify the future of the theatre program.

“These are kids that will stand side by side with somebody who’s graduating this year. For the next 18 years, there’ll be somebody on this campus that did a play with someone 18 years from now will be married and bringing their own kids to go to school here,” Ms. Haynie said. 

While for the most part everyone has been staying healthy and rehearsals have occurred as necessary, there have also been challenges. Scheduling rehearsals has been a struggle as students are involved in extracurriculars, outside of school activities, and carry a heavy academic load. Nevertheless, Ms.Haynie made a rehearsal schedule that is not too demanding yet students are well prepared.

She believes the set will be the biggest challenge as it will be put up and taken down in days. The theatre department made arrangements with a local artist with an entire set of costumes including Humpty Dumpty and a 20-foot long puppet for the dragon that takes five people to operate, a highlight of the show.

Although there are recurring students in this Spring’s production, one in particular, Elinor Fenimore, who will be playing Princess Fiona in this upcoming production, has in fact been in past Shrek musicals at Macon Little Theatre.

“Elinor Fenimore, I believe, played baby bear in 2014, the first time I did it. Then she grew up and she played one of the tap dancing mice” Ms. Haynie said. “She may be the only person that will have done all three of them.” 

Shrek will premiere on Saturday, February 26, and will run until Monday, February 28. “I think it would be worth coming to see the show to see how we put that in the context of an academic environment, and still keep the humor, but also stay within the boundaries of an academic setting,” Ms.Haynie said.