Special to the Lincoln Parish Journal
Beginning Thursday, June 22, Ruston Community Theatre will be running its annual junior production, and this year, it’s Shrek the Musical, which is sponsored by a Pledge 10 Grant from Jonesboro State Bank.
The book and lyrics are written by David Lindsay-Abaire with the music by Jeanie Tesori. Dr. Steele Moegle will direct this show.
Deep in the middle of the swamp lives a hulking green ogre named Shrek who, after being mocked and feared his entire life because of his scary green face, has retreated to an ugly green swamp to exist in happy isolation. A gang of homeless fairy-tale characters raid his solitary life after being evicted from their homes by Lord Farquaad. Shrek strikes a deal to get their homes back, and in return to get his home back. Lord Farquaad also strikes a deal. If Shrek rescues the lovely Princess Fiona, Farquaad will give Shrek the swamp. Come see how it ends!
Ruston Community Theatre’s (RCT) production of Shrek the Musical JR. is Thursday, June 22- Sunday, June 25, at the Dixie Center for the Arts. Tickets may be purchased online at rctruston.org or at the door for each performance. There will be six performances, Thursday through Saturday at 7:00 pm, Friday and Saturday at 10:00am, and Sunday at 2:00pm.
Tickets are $15/Adults and $8/Students. Shrek the Musical JR. has a cast of forty-four, and 27 percent of the performers are newcomers to RCT.
Some of Shrek’s history is interesting to know as you prepare to see the performance. The word “Ogre” originally came from a French fairy tale published in 1697, and the word could also be translated as giant. The name “Shrek” means “monster” and is derived from the German language.
Shrek was based on a real human named Maurice Tillet, a Russian born wrestler who competed in the 1940’s and like Shrek, Maurice was treated like a monster. Shrek, the movie, premiered at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival and was released by DreamWorks Pictures in the United States in May of that year. Shrek grossed over $487 million worldwide and was widely praised by critics for its animation, voice performances, soundtrack, writing, and humor that catered to both adults and children. The movie was based on a children’s book from 1990 called Shrek. Shrek even has his own “Star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Director Moegle says that her favorite part of Shrek is that our fairy tale creatures give a realistic view of their life and their experience within their storybook world. There are also numerous modern cultural references throughout, such as Judy Blume’s book, Are You There God?, the movie Babe, and the musical Wicked. This is all housed within a hilarious script with clever music. The biggest challenge to Moegle has beenworking out the numerous ensemble roles with the many costume changes. Rebekah Heiden is the wonderful stage manager, and Moegle is so appreciative of her dedication to the show. Heiden says the most difficult part of being a stage manager is keeping up with all of the different facets of a performance, from the actors, stage crew, props, sound and lighting cues just to name a few.
Having acted in numerous RCT productions this is her second time to stage manage on her own. Moegle describes her costumer, Karen Pittman, as “truly amazing at what she does. She is wonderfully imaginative in her costuming. To have her help is invaluable.” Pittman says she is most excited about all of the fairly tale costumes she has created. She states her biggest challenges have been the Shrek costume because of all the make-up required, and the show’squick costume changes mean designing for ease of change.
Another challenge has been creating Farquaad’s legs. She is most grateful for the help of Kathy Shipp, Pittman said “without all of the alterations, adjustments and sewing of costumes Kathy does I could never accomplish what I do.” Pittman estimates there are 75 costumes in this show. Molly Foy, a home-schooled seventh grader from Dubach, is a newcomer to RCT. She loves how welcoming everyone has been, and she has been fascinated seeing how everything works. Gabe Garcia, an eleventh-grader from Ruston, will perform the part of Shrek. When asked why he liked being in RCT productions he said “I love the people and performing.”
Moegle would like to express a big “thank you” to her wonderful crew. In addition to those mentioned above, David Kaul, director of the Theatre program at Grambling StateUniversity, designed and built the set. David will also create thelighting design and run the lights for the show. The RCT publicity committee has worked to find innovative routes foradvertising the show through printed and social media and by securing local businesses to offer promotionals that advertise the play.
Forrest Moegle, local attorney, has taken on the difficult job of creating props for this show. Moegle said she never knew what a talented painter her husband is. Riley Moegle, also in RCT’s Cinderella, will run our digital props. Brent Gay, who serves as the Dixie Technical Director, will run sound. Member of the crew take on these jobs…..many volunteering untold hours. This group is instrumental to the success of each production and are much appreciated.
Purchase your ticket and join us for this enchanting summer production. See you at the theatre!