“Shrek the Musical,” featuring “everyone’s favorite ogre,” opens on Friday at Napa Valley College for a two-week run, Nov. 3-12.
Olivia Cowell and Aimée Guillot direct a multi-generational cast in this collaborative production of Napa Valley College Department of Theater Arts and Cafeteria Kids Theater.
“We chose to produce joyful plays this season and I am so grateful we did,” said Jennifer King, artistic director of Napa Valley College Performing Arts. “Given the recent wildfire events, ‘Shrek the Musical’ will offer an opportunity for child and adult audiences alike to laugh and marvel at the extraordinary fairytale world Cafeteria Kids Theater and Napa Valley College Theater Arts students, teachers and staff are creating for our community.”
“It is easy with a musical like ‘Shrek’ enjoy the quick wit, large scale song and dance numbers, and hysterical creatures created by playwrights David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori.”
Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film, “Shrek The Musical” is the story of a young ogre, sent out into the world by parents who warn him that, because of his looks, he cannot expect a happy fairy-tale life; and he ends up living alone in a swamp until his solitary life is interrupted by a band of fairy creatures.
“Lying not so far below the surface however are many strong themes prevalent in our world today,” King said. “Some include a woman battling with how society thinks she should be versus what she really is, a power-hungry ruler, and a slew of characters forced from their homes onto a resettlement facility, and finally characters striving to find self-acceptance.
“In working with a youth, teen and college age cast, I am always curious to see how the actors will feel while navigating the subject matter with Aimee and me. Not too surprising, the actors were able to work through the themes and find the heart of the story with the utmost sincerity.”
“Professional actors are often the mentors for our college students,” King added. “It is wonderful to see our students step up to become mentors for the Cafeteria Kids Theater young actors” King said. “This is our pilot project and we look forward to deepening our relationship through future collaborations.”
“We are tremendously excited about this new partnership with the Napa Valley College Theater Arts Department”, said Guillot, Cafeteria Kids Theater founder and co-director. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity for our students to work alongside college students, and to rehearse and perform in the beautiful performing arts facility on campus.”
Olivia Cowell was a theater arts student at Napa Valley College and is now a theater arts instructor at the school. “I participated in as many theater productions as I could during the two years I spent at NVC,” she said. “Now looking back, it truly is incredible how much of my future was shaped during those years, professionally and personally. I even married an actor I met on the NVC stage.”
After grad school, Cowell moved back to the Napa Valley. Returning to Napa Valley College as a director and instructor “has been a remarkable full-circle journey for me,” she said.
The large cast includes: Charles Jaeger (Shrek, and Papa Ogre), Jaaziel Satten (Donkey), Kaylee Barker (Dragon), Lucy Harrington (Fiona), Michael Conte (Farquaad), Anna Harrington (Young Fiona), Jacob Madsen (Young Shrek) and Hudson Pickett (Duloc Greeter), Josie Goldfarb (Teen Fiona), Jason Celaya and Dayton Ochoa (King Harold), Diana Gonzalez (Queen Lillian), Kaylen Lehman (Mama Ogre), Dayton Ochoa, Olivia Nichols, and Joey DeNatale (Dungeon knights), Olivia Nichols, Juan Puentes, Araceli Martinez, Shayley Zaccone, Maeve Roberts, and Cozette Calderon (Duloc dancers), Dominic Doctor (Thelonius), Shane McGrath (guard captain) Everett Goldfarb, Donovan Messner and Sean Ryan (Duloc guards) Julien Mclaughlin and Abigail Langhoff (Bluebird), Joseph Pharr, Lena Randall, Connor Cleland, Noah Goldman, April Shaw, James Gott, Tessa Mello, Eliza Wicks, Ben Mickens, Stephanie Sabre, Erin Smith, Fiorella Garcia, Talulah Finkelstein, Diana Gonzalez, Ashley Zavagoza, Isabella DeNatale, Sadie Carpenter, Sophie Heflebower, Jacob Madson, and Jason Celaya (fairytale creatures), Cat Indelcato, Meghan Goleno, Harper Hughes, Sophia Morales, Julia Bui, Nicki Haubold, Sofia Richart, Quinlin Gallagher, Camden Gilgallon, Gus Ringenberger, Elizabella Sanchez, Dylan Zapolski, and Gemma Roberts (villagers).
The artistic team includes Vivian McLaughlin (music director), Ariel Loraine (scenic designer), Freya Marcelius (costume designer), Theo Bridant (lighting designer) Tim Holtslag (scenic and properties artisan), Matthew Cowell (technical director) and Harry Miller (stage manager).
“Shrek The Musical” will run for two weekends, Nov. 3-12. Evening performances are at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, Saturday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 11. Matinees are at 2 pm. on Saturday, Nov. 11, Sunday, Nov. 5, and Sunday, Nov. 12. All performances will take place at the Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center Main Theater, 2277 Napa Vallejo Highway Napa.
Two costume contests take place at the 7 p.m. shows on Nov. 4 and 11. On Nov. 4, the kid or teen winners of the Most Creative Costume will receive two tickets to Disneyland. On Nov. 11, the theme is “Best Shrek-Inspired” costume for two tickets to Disneyland.
To purchase performance tickets, call the box office at (707) 256-7500 or go to napavalleytheater.org.