Ruth Street Players' 'Shrek the Musical' a comedy of acceptance
PRESCOTT - Nearly everyone knows what it feels like to be an outcast at some point in their life, which explains why "Shrek" continues to be a hit among fans old and young.
The story of the grumpy, lovable ogre - as told in the book by William Steig and the subsequent DreamWorks Animation films - never fails to find an audience.
Shrek's popular story will now be live on stage, thanks to the Ruth Street Players at Prescott High School, with performances of "Shrek The Musical" beginning tonight and running through Saturday at the school's Ruth Street Theater, 1050 North Ruth Street.
Senior Austin Olsen plays the part of Shrek. Like the big green ogre, Olsen said he too knows what it's like to feel out of place.
"Shrek is a big ogre who stays alone on his swamp. He's different from the rest of the world and everybody hates him. He accepts that he's a big ugly beast and wants to be alone," Olsen said. "I'm feeling this character deep down. There have been points in my life where I felt alone in my life in a couple of ways, so I'm really feeling Shrek and the message that it's okay to be different."
Freshman Rebeca Adam is playing Princess Fiona. Like Shrek, the princess also knows loneliness, Adam said.
"Most of her life, for 20 years, she was locked in a tower. She has the belief that you need to be pretty and you need to be perfect in order to have a happy life, but also turns into an ogre at night. She knows what it's like to be a misfit," Adam said. "She later realizes that love is blind and that a person doesn't need to look like the stereotype she's been taught and brought up with."
While Shrek's story often deals with important social issues, fans of the films know there's plenty of humor to be had. That includes the character of Donkey, played here by senior Ronnie Petkovich.
"Donkey is the ultimate tag-along," Petkovich said. "He's the third wheel. But he, as well, is a misfit. He's an ass that talks. He can really get inside Shrek's head and feels what he feels too. He bonds with Shrek and brings out Shrek's character a lot by being there with him."
Eighth-grader Wesley Bradstreet is playing the part of Pinocchio the puppet. He'll wear a prosthetic headpiece during the show that will allow his nose to grow when he's not telling the truth.
"Pinocchio is a guy who hates who he is and would do anything in the world to change who he is," Bradstreet said. "I'll be wearing a suit that makes me look like I'm made out of wood."
"Shrek The Musical," directed by Louisa Nelson and Matthew Kiesling, kicks off tonight at 7 p.m., followed by shows at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16. Tickets prices are $10 for general admission. The box office opens at 6 p.m. before each show.
Follow reporter Patrick Whitehurst on Twitter @pwdcourier.