Waukee High School to present ‘Shrek the Musical’ Friday-Sunday

Allison Ullmann
Dallas County News
Arden Phan, as Donkey, and Ethan Elsbernd, as Shrek, rehearse a scene from Waukee High School's production of "Shrek the Musical."

Audiences will be able to enjoy Waukee High School’s production of “Shrek the Musical” without having to leave their house. 

“It’s great to actually be on stage, it’s great to be singing, it’s great to be dancing, it’s great to have all the elements that you would expect from a live show that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home,” Director Nathan Jorgensen said. 

Waukee High School will present “Shrek the Musical” at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday via livestream. 

He is looking forward to being able to put on a musical again as last year’s was canceled because of COVID-19. “Shrek the Musical” is a different show than last year’s production and Jorgensen said they decided to start fresh with a new show and cast.

Practices have looked different as mitigation strategies have been followed. Jorgensen said students have rehearsed in smaller numbers, are wearing masks at all times and are socially distanced where possible.

Waukee High School students rehearse a scene from "Shrek the Musical."

Even with the changes, the cast is excited to be back on stage.

“It’s really fun getting to do what I love every day,” said sophomore Caitlin Como. “I’m really grateful that we can even have this opportunity.” 

“One of the main reasons I do theater is because I’ve developed so many wonderful relationships with so many people and just being able to spend that time (together) makes me happy and makes me feel like things are semi-normal,” senior Keaton Kelly added.

Kelly plays Lord Farquaad and said he has been enjoying getting to play a villain role for a change.

Como gets to play both sides as she’s taking on the roles of the Fairy Godmother, Farquaad Squad and Three Blind Mice.

Waukee High School students rehearse a scene from "Shrek the Musical."

I always think it’s fun to play multiple roles because there’s so much more of the story that you get to be in,” she said. “And they’re all different in their own way because Fairy Godmother is more on Shrek’s side, but then Farquaad’s Squad is more on the villain side and I think it’s fun to play contrasting roles in the show.”

Stage Manager Avery Johnson has gotten a front-row seat to seeing the cast take on their roles and refine their storytelling skills.

“So far what I really enjoy as a stage manager is getting to see the whole process unfold,” the junior said. “Once you get going and you get more and more built on you start to see it all come together as one show.”

Johnson has also enjoyed seeing the set come together as platforms were built and moving set pieces have been incorporated into the show.

“I would say it really adds to the experience plus it makes it a lot more eye-catching when you have those big things that the actors get to play with as well,” she said of the moving pieces. 

Waukee High School students rehearse a scene from "Shrek the Musical."

Also adding to the experience will be the stage lighting.

“I think the audience will really be impressed by our lighting crew and how much they’ve been putting into the show and how crazy some of the scenes are going to be. As well as how realistic we’re trying to make our swamp scene,” Johnson said.

Tickets for Waukee High School’s “Shrek the Musical” are $10 for individuals, $20 for pairs and $30 for families. To purchase tickets, visit showtix4u.com/event-details/45305. For more information, visit sites.google.com/view/whsshrek/shrek.

“I just really hope that everybody does their part in supporting all the hard work that we’ve put into the show,” Kelly said.

Jorgensen added that audiences will enjoy the performances put on by the cast.

“I really think that people are in for a dynamic show full of energy and laughter,” he said. “It’s kind of the uplift that we all need right now.”

Waukee High School students sing "This Is Our Story" during a recent "Shrek the Musical" rehearsal.