Lights, Camera, Shrek!


The cast of this year’s Upper School musical during the finale, “This Is Our Story.” (Latin School of Chicago)

The Latin Upper School’s production of “Shrek The Musical” takes the audience on a journey filled with humor, sadness, and dazzling performances. As someone who wasn’t initially a fan of “Shrek,” the show was pleasantly surprising with the talent and creativity showcased on stage. From the impressive costumes to the energetic dance numbers, every aspect of the production had audience members on the edge of their seats.

Freshman Ehren Curry, who saw “Shrek The Musical,” said, “The energy each actor brought to the stage kept me captivated from start to finish, allowing me to be invested in each of the characters and sympathize with what they were going through.”

Shrek, played by junior Ajay Singh, and Princess Fiona, played by senior Makenze Humphrey, open the show with a simultaneous storytelling of each of their lives. Ajay’s confident and humorous personality and Makenze’s powerful singing and acting created the perfect opening scene that left the audience wanting more.

Ajay approached the stage with trepidation, but the hours of hard work and diligent practice paid off. He said, “The most amount of pressure [I felt] was right before I went on for the first song, and the second I finished, all the pressure disappeared.”

The remainder of the musical follows Shrek’s quest to locate Princess Fiona and bring her back to Lord Farquaad, played by junior Finn Deeney whose amazing facial expressions stole the show. In exchange, Farquaad promises to spare Shrek’s swamp from being overrun by fairy tale creatures.

After over three months of work, the cast finally put their hard work onto the stage. (Latin School of Chicago)

Finn had his work cut out because of the eccentric props he had to use and be in. Finn came out on a throne pushed by two guards with two tiny legs attached to the costume to mimic Lord Farquaad’s short stature. “I didn’t know how to use the chair prop until the opening performance,” Finn said. He also had to walk on his knees throughout the performance to remain small compared to the other actors towering over him.

During the journey, Shrek meets his energetic sidekick, Donkey, played by senior Nadia Rivera. Nadia captivates the iconic role of the donkey through her interactive facial expressions. “I already knew how to act the character from preexisting knowledge,” Nadia said. “Whenever I was in conversation on stage, I would think to myself, ‘What would an idiot say?’”

When Shrek and Donkey reach the castle to escort Princess Fiona to Lord Farquaad so the two can get married, they encounter the formidable dragon, portrayed by talented senior Eliza Lampert, whose electrifying voice mesmerizes the audience.

As Shrek and Fiona’s friendship grows into love, Donkey insists, with the help of the Three Blind Mice, that Shrek should gather his courage and tell Fiona how he really feels. The song “Make a Move” urges Shrek to confess his love. Shrek, finally beginning to come out of his protective shell, tries to find the words to explain his feelings to Fiona during “When Words Fail.”

Makenze played Princess Fiona with grace and beauty. “Having an animated character allows for so much interpretation and allows me to put my spin on Princess Fiona,” Makenze said.

The show ended with all the fairy tale creatures coming out on stage and singing “I’m A Believer.” which got the audience applauding and some even dancing. From the audience, you could see the relationship these actors have built with one another and how hard they worked on this production for the past five months.

“Having such a dedicated cast is why we were able to accomplish this show in the first place,” Makenze said. “What you saw on stage today was a group of 26 immensely dedicated actors who wanted to create an experience the audience will never forget.”