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St. Columban Drama tests comedic chops in 'Shrek the Musical Jr.'

A feisty princess stumbles across the odd pair of a stubborn ogre and a sociable donkey on the way to the happy fairy tale ending she hopes will be hers in the St. Columban School Drama Club production of “Shrek the Musical Jr.,” from March 23-25.  

The show features 56 cast members and 13 crews in grades 4-8 in a high-energy change of pace for the club. 

“We have great singers, and I wanted to challenge their acting abilities with something comedic,” said director Kristin Laufersweiler, who also teaches music at St. Columban. “This is also just a fun, silly show.”

This marks a big change from the club's more dramatic productions of “The Sound of Music” and “The Lion King” the last two years.

Favorite storybook characters in search of their own happy endings feel the burn of life’s cruel detours in one of the show’s funniest numbers, “Story of My Life.” A shorter version of the full-length Broadway production based on the hit DreamWorks Animation motion picture “Shrek” and the book by William Steig, this modern musical is ultimately about accepting yourself for who you are.

Audiences familiar with the film will recognize the songs “Welcome to Duloc” and “I’m a Believer,” a sing-along-worthy tune that ends the show.

“The show’s humor and connections made to other popular Broadway shows have made this production particularly enjoyable and sure to entertain audiences,” said assistant director Pam Kallmyer. “It will be like a scavenger hunt to find all the hidden connections, but my favorite is the nod to the musical ‘Wicked’ in one of the songs.”

Eighth-grader Frankie Haas goes for big laughs as Lord Farquaad, the evil ruler obsessed with conformity, who seeks Princess Fiona’s hand in marriage to secure himself as King of Duloc.

“He’s very excessive and loud,” said Haas, “which is my favorite type of comedy character to play.”


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