Fractured fairy tale comes to the stage

MANSON – Manson’s musical will be a little green this year.

Manson Northwest Webster will present “Shrek The Musical” starting Friday at the high school.

The fractured fairy tale was picked for its appeal to all age groups, said director Aaron Fitzgerald.

“As this is my first year at Manson, I wanted to do one everybody would be familiar with,” Fitzgerald said. “The costuming and set design are really fun and expansive.”

The colorful costumes were rented from a community theater in Minnesota, he said. Learning to work in them has proved to be a challenge for some actors, as has creating the set of Shrek’s fantasy world.

“With a small, 2A school, you’re always going to have challenges with presenting a set that’s worthy of a show like this production. We’re using the resources we have to the best of our ability,” Fitzgerald said. “We just have to be innovative about the ways we’re approaching building our set, and our lighting scheme, and all that.”

In addition to the angry multilayered ogre, the fast-talking donkey and the princess with an “ugly” secret, the musical adds in even more fairy-tale creatures than were found in the movie – such as the Mad Hatter, the white rabbit and the pied piper.

It also provides scenes from Shrek’s and Fiona’s childhoods, and reveals Lord Farquaad’s father.

“As far as the fairy-tale creatures, they’re all creatures we’ve seen in the film. It’s just now we’re accenting their own personal stories,” said Fitzgerald.

“The fairy-tale creatures have a number where they talk about the story of their life, and the struggles they’ve endured, being kicked out of Dulac and into a swamp.”

Fitzgerald enjoys those scenes a lot, he said.

“I think there’s such a large variety of students that I’m working with. Some of the students aren’t in choir,” he said. “Some of them have never been involved with dance or any fine arts group, and yet they’re coming into it and bringing a unique perspective and unique experience.”

This is Fitzgerald’s first year with MNW, where he directs the junior and senior high choir. Last year he taught vocal and general music for pre-k through 12 at Moravia.

“It’s nice to be more focused on specific grade levels. I’ve always been more interested in the junior high and the high school,” he said. “This has been a good opportunity for me to focus on those upper grade levels, where I’ve wanted to teach all along.”