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home : news : north central illinois   April 29, 2016

3/1/2014 5:01:00 AM
Crunch time for 'Shrek the Musical' in Mendota

Drew Knottnerus (left) as Shrek proves ogres are just as ungainly in love as in the rest of their lives as he attempts to woo Fiona, played by Bethany Wohrley.NewsTribune photo/Tamara Abbey
+ click to enlarge
Drew Knottnerus (left) as Shrek proves ogres are just as ungainly in love as in the rest of their lives as he attempts to woo Fiona, played by Bethany Wohrley.
NewsTribune photo/Tamara Abbey
If you go:
Show times are 7:30 p.m. March 14-15 and 2:30 p.m. March 16 in the Mendota High School auditorium. Tickets are $10 each for the show and the party.

Tickets are available at Sports-n-Stuff, 804 Washington St., Mendota or by calling the store at (815) 539-6354. All seats are reserved and previous shows have sold out quickly so there most likely won’t be any tickets available at the door.

Tamara Abbey
Mendota Bureau Chief

MENDOTA — There’s a little stress in the fine arts department at Mendota High School as one snowstorm after another delayed rehearsals and preparations for “Shrek the Musical,” this year’s selection for the biennial musical production.

The department stages a major musical every other year, but Lori Schrock, choral director, can’t recall ever facing this type of crunch as they head toward show time.

“We lost 40 hours of rehearsal this year,” she said. “The kids are feeling (the stress) too. We’ve never had to rehearse on Saturdays before.”

This will be co-director Jenn Masini’s first time assisting with the musical production. She’s no stranger to the stage, since she also directs the school’s drama department and has been involved in numerous community plays and musicals.

But it is one of the largest productions she’s had to direct since there are 70-80 students involved, whether it’s on stage or behind the scenes.

Schrock said anyone in the choir is required to participate. Then there are the leading roles that demand students who can sing, dance and act the roles of the musical’s assorted ogres, animals and fairy tale characters.

“Working with this many kids, this isn’t the only thing they’re involved in,” Schrock said.

A final cast list has been difficult for some of the smaller roles because it wasn’t just rehearsals that were re-scheduled due to the weather. She said sports, band and other extracurricular activities also were rescheduled and coordinating rehearsal with other activities has been challenging. And then there’s winter illness that has taken its toll on the entire production team, Masini added.

It’s been challenging, but not impossible. Schrock and Masini both said the show will go on but the cast could use some of those lost 40 hours to fine tune the final performance.

“I think we’re ready to see it come together,” Schrock said. “There’s a lot of choreography in our shows, but this one has number after number.”

Schrock said they didn’t settle on producing “Shrek the Musical” right away since it only recently became available. Now the costumes are rented and the sets nearly built.

“It’s a very involved set,” Masini said. “We have a lot of set changes, lighting changes, costume changes.”

Schrock said staging a musical this size can get expensive, which makes them grateful for all the volunteers who have been working on the elaborate set pieces.

“We had a marathon set building over Presidents Day weekend,” Masini said. “We’ve had a very talented group of volunteers.”

The musical shares the same characters with the movie series, but Schrock said members of the audience will be treated to a lot of new music that won’t be familiar to them.

The music and the overall message is what led to Schrock and Masini choosing it this year.
The musical celebrates the uniqueness of every individual — be they human or ogre — and shows how wrong things can go when a character becomes too judgmental.

“The message was a big reason,” Schrock said. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

The music also celebrates those differences with titles like “Freak Flag,” and “This is my Story.”

“The songs further those messages,” she added.

The upbeat music, dialogue and overall message delivered by familiar characters should appeal to the whole family.

“To me, it’s a show that’s going to hold everyone’s attention,” Masini added.

Party in the swamp
Along with the musical, the cast will offer a “Party in the Swamp” for children 1:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15 in the school cafeteria. Cast members will be in character and costume as they serve up “snothers” (actually peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) and other Shrek-themed refreshments. The party is for children only; parents can be in the room, but not at the tables. Children will interact with the characters and receive a Shrek coloring book.

“The kids in the show are really excited to interact with the children while in character,” Masini said. “It’s an improve opportunity for them.”

Tamara Abbey can be reached at (815) 539-5200 or

Shrek the Musical Cast

Papa Ogre                                        Eric Masini

Mama Ogre                                      Autumn Schimmer

King Harold                                      Ryan Stohr

Queen Lillian                                    Samantha Masini

Fiona                                              Bethany Wohrley

Ogre Fiona                                       Savanna Sondgeroth

Teen Fiona                                       Gillian Brown

Young Fiona                                     Faith Anderson

Shrek                                             Drew Knottnerus

Young Shrek                                     Matthew Grenter

Donkey                                           Tony Escatel

Farquaad                                         Payton Gehm

Dragon                                            Lydia Hill

Dwarf                                             Erik Grenter

Farquaad Head                                 Cale Wise

Bishop                                            Cale Wise



Fairy Tale Characters

Pinocchio                                          Relaina Bodmer

Gingy                                              Dell May

Pig #1                                             Dell May

Pig #2                                             Ryan Stohr

Pig #3                                             Eric Masini

Wolf                                                Nathanael DeLong

White Rabbit                                     Emery Stewart

Fairy Godmother                                Madison Myers

Peter Pan                                          Caitlyn Tucker

Elf                                                   Anna Aughenbaugh

Sugar Plum Fairy                                Autumn Schimmer

Wicked Witch                                     Savanna Sondgeroth

Ugly Duckling                                    Melissa Wohrley

Mama Bear                                       Lydia Hill

Papa Bear                                        Ethan Wade

Baby Bear                                        Nicki Baughan

Humpty Dumpty                                John Hernandez

Mad Hatter                                       Monica Leonard


Cast also includes: Erik Grenter, John Hernandez, Mitchel Humphrey, Nicki Baughan, Lacey Johnson, Anna Aughenbaugh, Monica Leonard, Hannah Corey, Ethan Wade, Caitlyn Tucker, Eric Masini, Daniela McConville, Dell May, Melissa Wohrley, Ryan Stohr, Mateo Escatel, Maya Martin, Luke Jackson, Madison Pappas, Jacob Stohr, Sam Masini, Cale Wise, Hope McDowell, Nathanael DeLong, Annah Scholl, Juan Balcazar, Madison Myers, Erik Aguilar, Samantha Masini, Gillian Brown, Autumn Schimmer, Emery Stewart, Liz De Los Reyes, Hope McDowell, Ambria Sumner and Audrey Stewart.

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