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'Shrek: The Musical': Opening night for CHS musical is just two weeks away

  • Theater director Brenda Coop shows off the banner advertising the upcoming production of "Shrek the Musical," alongside Army National Guard Recruiters CPL Anthony Carter and SFC Dane Patterson. The Army National Guard marketing office in Springfield made the banner.

    Theater director Brenda Coop shows off the banner advertising the upcoming production of "Shrek the Musical," alongside Army National Guard Recruiters CPL Anthony Carter and SFC Dane Patterson. The Army National Guard marketing office in Springfield made the banner.
    Jim Beers photo

  • The cast of "Shrek" breaks from rehearsal long enough for a photo.

    The cast of "Shrek" breaks from rehearsal long enough for a photo.
    Jim Beers photo

 
By Jim Beers
Contributing writer
updated: 3/3/2020 4:52 PM

After months of preparation, the opening night of "Shrek: The Musical" is only two weeks away.

Tickets are $8; or $5 for students.

"This will be a fun musical with tons of great music and dancing," said Brenda Coop, Chester High School theater director who is in her 12th year. "It will be a very entertaining family friendly show. I hope to see a huge crowd on hand each performance."

Roughly 100 members of the cast, crew and production crew are in full swing with rehearsals, set-building, costume-making, ticket sales and everything else related to getting a musical of this magnitude on the stage.

The curtain opens Thursday night, March 19. Shows are at 7 p.m. March 19-21 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, all on the Juergens Gymnasium stage at Chester High School.

On Saturday night, prior to the curtain, the 25 children of the 2020 CHS Kids Theater camp will perform.

Most of the cast was set in September. "Shrek" has five lead roles: Blake Zappa as Shrek; Melody Colonel as Princess Fiona; Wes Carpenter as Donkey; Brayden Ridings as Lord Farquaad; and Destiny Williams as Dragon.

Besides the leads, the musical has a huge ensemble cast of 51 singers and dancers -- 15 coming from the elementary school. The ensemble cast is: Chelsea August, Jenna Bierman, Trent Bierman, Adeline Blechle, Max Blechle, Logan Brace, Hunter Brunkhorst, Andy Bryant, Levi Caldwell, Noah Colonel, Elseah Congiardo, Aiden Davis, Bea DeGuzman, Oddessy Flores, Gianna Gearhart, Breanna Hammel, Jessica Handel, Maddie Hasemeyer, Lydia Heck, Alex Hennrich, Grace Irose, Lexus Iverson, Ashtyn Jany, Lily Koch, Jocelyn Landeros, Karim Landeros, Kaylee Luckhaupt, Cesar Marquez, Aden McFarland, Alana Meyer, Elyzabeth Mitchell, Maria Nickle, Rilee Owens, Ryn Petrowske, Kaleb Rehmer, Christopher Schwier, Katie Shinabargar, Lily Smith, William Smith, William Sorto, Logan Springston, Grace Stec, Cordy Stirnaman, Brianna Surman, Ariel Throop, Mallary Vasquez, Allison Venus, Julia Venus, Deborah Wills, Connor Wolff, and Megan Zimmer.

Three students also have important roles: The director's assistant is Mallary Vasquez; Nate Raines is the music technician and Jaci South is coordinator of lighting.

The set and prop crew for "Shrek" has 21 members: Kailyn Absher, Brendan Baughman, Abby Bollman, Prop Manager; Emma Bryant, Jerald Copple, Haleigh Cowan, Jacob Cowell, Taylor Cartwright, Rinoa DeLay, Taylor Hennrich, Co-Stage Manager; Lily Lochhead, Xander McDermott, Kira McGhee, Addyson Mitchell; Brendan Murphy, Avry Owens, Caleb Parker, Alyssa Place, Co-Stage Manager, Ashley Roberts, Ally Rowold, and Mikayla Straight.

There are another 25 artists handling the extensive hair and makeup, led by hair co-directors Kayla Bert and Lydia Heck and makeup director Molly Rowold. They are Juliette Abernathy; Taylor Cartwright, Peyton Clendenin, Ashlyn Colvis, Rinoa DeLay, Madison Dillman, Tonya Endicott, Oddessy Flores, Kayla Garniss, Savanna Guebert, Arianna Harstick, Alex Hennrich, Kennedy Herrell, Audrey Hopper, Lexus Iverson, Josie Kattenbraker, Avery Miers, Mabry Miles, Chloe Page-Keim, Elyzabeth Mitchell, Mariah Powell and Cayla Sibley.

Chester pitches in

"We also have a fantastic production crew of mostly adults from the community, that has been working for months," Coop said. "Without them, I don't know what I would do. I am very fortunate to have them and am thankful to have such a hardworking, dedicated production crew."

The adult crew leaders are Coop, Technical Director Mark Coop, Assistant Technical Director and Sound Director Mike Lutz and Susan Lutz, production manager and manager of set design. Coop and Lutz are also set painters and mural painters are Ted Mueller and Dianna Mueller. James Beers is coordinator of publicity. Shirley Stegmann is supervision director, Mary Ann Heberlie is fundraising director and Lila Zeigler is usher director. Carolyn Gray is concessions director.

"Shrek" demands 182 different costumes, most of which are made by five costume co-directors and seamstresses: Mary Liefer, Carolyn Venable, Mary Long, Sharon Ohlau, and LaVerne Misselhorn.

The huge set was built primarily by Mark Coop, Mike Lutz, Mark Surman, Ron Meyer, Kevin Weber and Brian Roberts. It took four adults to design and build the dragon: Monica Bert, Kevin Weber, Mark Coop and Carolyn Venable.

Without ticket sales, there could be no show. The adults primarily responsible for this are Rich Clasen, Jonelle Evers and Crystal Tindall.

Shrek The Musical

March 19-22 at Juergens Gym, Chester High School. Seating is available on the gym floor and in the bleachers.

Shows: 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets: $8; $5 students. A child who sits on an adult's lap gets in free.

Info: (618) 826-2302.

'Shrek'-related gear for sale: "Shrek" T-shirts for sale now and during performances; ogre ears for kids (and adults) will be sold at the shows.