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Family Time: ‘Amazing’ cast of child actors features in ‘Shrek’

September 13, 2018

He’s green and he sings at Rochester Civic Theatre’s “Shrek the Musical.” On stage through the end of the month, the production features a familiar cast, but offers a twist on the movie storyline.

“Yes, the musical follows a different plot, but the message is the same as the movie, ‘It’s OK to be different, in a world that sometimes doesn’t want us to be different,” said Misha Johnson, show director. “And the show definitely includes the ‘Shrek’ characters you remember — Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, and the Gingerbread Man.”

The made-for-Broadway musical features 24 songs, 11 choreographed dance numbers, and 31 actors. Cast in late July, rehearsals began in August.

“I was surprised to see how many kids showed up at auditions,” said Johnson. “Our storybook characters are mostly kids under 18. I didn’t have to cast kids, but I did because they are amazing.”

In addition to its cast of traditional actors, the production features a nontraditional cast of puppets.

“Our Dragon is coming in from California and has a 16-foot wingspan. The Gingerbread Man is a puppet and Pinocchio’s nose really grows,” said Johnson. “The puppetry is incredible. In this production you will experience the true magic of theater.”

First in the lineup of Rochester Civic Theatre’s 2018-19 production schedule, “Shrek, the Musical” also features a non-traditional set.

“We’re marrying the world of traditional physical sets and the world of digital technology,” said Johnson. “Fiona’s tower is a physical piece, but the clouds floating behind are a digital projection. The two worlds tie together to create a very new world, very different than your traditional theater set.”

Tickets are $31 for adults, $26 for seniors and $21 for students and are available online or at the box office.

“Yes, it’s a kid’s story, but it’s also a story about friendship,” said Johnson. “And a very sweet love story.”

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