By: Zachary Thornburg
When I think about musicals, Shrek isn’t exactly the first show to come to mind. Having only seen the movie, I had trouble picturing a giant dragon chasing a talking donkey, while breathing fire on stage. To be honest, a lot of people including myself were skeptical and didn’t know what to expect. But, week by week as we put together an entire new stage and set, I became more and more intrigued by the show. Around that time, I started listening to the soundtrack of the Broadway version of the show and it didn’t take long for my view of the show to make a full 180. The next week, I got to hear the choir rehearse for the first time, and I had to do a double take because it sounded so similar to the Broadway recording. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to see the show come alive on our stage.
Rehearsal week was insane. We were building scenery and hanging backdrops all the way up until the day before opening night. One can only imagine how those rehearsals looked the first few nights. Calling cues for a show was an unfamiliar experience for me so the first couple rehearsals were a bit slow at times. Towards the beginning, the crew was all rather timid and uncoordinated with one another, not to mention the orchestra wasn’t there for the first few days. As the week went on, we saw more and more of the costumes, scenery, props, and backdrops. Everyone began to look more confident and comfortable in their roles as the week progressed and by time we got to Wednesday, the night before the opening performance, the show had really started to take form. The choir sounded great and the entire crew had their jobs mastered. However, even with a strong rehearsal under my belt, going to bed that night wasn’t easy. I continuously ran through the show in my head, stressing over the minutest details.
Despite that, anyone who showed up to the opening performance can vouch for me when I say, it was spectacular. After a full day of practicing and listening to the music, I felt ready for the show. Opening night was a blur, but it was an amazing experience that I will never forget. The feeling I got from calling a live show in front of over a thousand people was inexplicable. It didn’t stop there, every night just got better and better, to the point that we had a nearly perfect show. Now, all those show nights were very late nights, but it didn’t matter because showing up to school the next day and hearing all the great things people were saying about the show made all the difference.
Even now, people are still walking the halls humming to the tune of all the great songs from Shrek. I can say with complete confidence that Shrek was my favorite show and possibly the best show to ever come to the Westlake Community Performing Arts Center. That being said, I can’t wait to see what the choir chooses for next year. It will be a tough one to beat!