by Susan Mikula Campbell
There's a green ogre lurking at Niagara-Wheatfield High School, both literally and figuratively. There's also four young princesses with long red braids, sometimes they're green and sometimes not.
The ogre is senior Beau Bradshaw, who is starring as Shrek this weekend in N-W's production of "Shrek, the Musical."
The redheads are led by senior Jenna Montesanti, starring as Shrek's true love, Fiona.
Lots of laughter and a chance to see some real talent lie ahead for those who attend performances at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings or the matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the high school auditorium on Saunders Settlement Road in Sanborn. Tickets are only $9.
" 'Shrek' is a fantastic show!" said Bradshaw, who relishes his role to the point that he often finds himself slipping into the ogre's Celtic-like accent in everyday life.
"The music is so upbeat. I listen to it on a daily basis; I love the soundtrack!" said Montesanti. She fondly remembers seeing the Toronto production of "Shrek, the Musical."
Junior Andrew Zuccari said N-W's "Shrek" is special, because the chemistry and fun so obvious onstage extends backstage, as well.
While Bradshaw is challenged by being almost constantly on stage and the sheer number of lines he had to memorize, Zuccari has to spend most of his time shuffling around on his knees with fake short legs dangling from the front of his costume. He's the vertically challenged Lord Farquaad.
"He's the villain. Everyone loves the villain," said the actually tall Zuccari. "It's not every day I go out there looking like a small cross-dresser...that has its own challenges."
N-W audiences have seen Bradshaw and Montesanti acting as a pair before. Last year, he was Phantom and she was Christine in "Phantom of the Opera."
"It's very exciting that we get to perform our last show as a duet again," said Bradshaw.
Both he and Montesanti hope to continue acting in college. Bradshaw plans to make a career of it. He just finished sending out applications to some of the top acting schools in the country, including his personal top two in Pittsburgh, where he hopes to not only hone his craft on campus, but also land some acting gigs in the community.
He's been acting since he was in sixth grade. Before that, he was a dancer. It was tap that grew his interest in performing and he's been involved in acting not only at N-W, but as far away as the Lancaster Opera House.
Montesanti's most recent outside role was in Theatre in the Mist's production of "Les Misérables."
So, come, bring the kids and grandkids, to visit with Shrek and Fiona and all their fairy tale friends, as well as a pretty awesome Dragon.
As Montesanti said, "Who doesn't love a good musical, come on!"
'Shrek' cast list
Shrek, Beau Bradshaw
Fiona, Jenna Montesanti
Donkey, Douglas Moore
Farquaad, Andrew Zuccari
Also, Pinocchio, Robert Privitera; Sugar Plum Fairy, Lindsey Clark; Gingy, Natalie Hilts; Peter Pan, Josh Ranney; Elf, Mikayla Townsend; Wicked Witch, Gabrielle Iacona; Fairy Godmother, Christine Oliveri; Ugly Duckling, Jessica Schurr; Wolf, Sally Rozumalski; Humpty Dumpty, Noah Poczciwinski; Dragon, Lindsey Clark; Mama Bear, Alexis Watters; Papa Bear, Kyle Padin; Baby Bear, Nick Weber; Young Fiona, Cierra Mt. Pleasant; Teen Fiona, Danielle Scholl; Mama Shrek, Victoria Rance; Papa Shrek, Noah Poczciwinski; Baby Shrek, Michael Bubar.
Also, Queen Lillian, Jennifer Johnson; King Harold, Paris Ventry; Ogress/Fiona Double, Katie Colby; Three Little Pigs, Matt Anderson, Chad Jeacoma and Kody Ploetz; Three Blind Mice, Troy Smith, Harley Fleckenstein and Emma Asklar; Magic Mirror, Josh Ranney, Captain of the Guard/Pied Piper, Paris Ventry; Thelonius, Billy Gerst; White Rabbit, Marissa Kendall; Mad Hatter, Jaylee Mettler; Greeter, Elaina Spendio; Little Bunny, Paige Kohnke; Cow, Amber Carls; Dish, Danielle Kaminski; Spoon, Grace Stewart; Spinning Antelope, Greta Littman; Dwarf, Dominic Pulli; Bishop, Billy Gerst.
Ensemble: Ashlyn Allen, Molly Brady, Gina Brown, Janine Brown, Timicah Capton, Amber Carls, Julia Delorimiere, Amber Fleischman, Kimberly Holas, Brittany Price, Mara Scive and Heather Stahlman.
Dancers: Amanda Casamento, Lindsey Clark, Angelee Clause, Meghan Cloutier, Tara Fleming, Jamie Hagerty, Gabby Iacona, Jennifer Johnson, Emma Knotts, Avery Mannex, Samantha Mort, Christine Oliveri, Megan Seefeldt, Troy Smith, Erin Tierney, Jillian Wagner and Lexy Watters.
Pit Orchestra: Sarah Herr, Alexis Garabedian, Francesca Bove, Steve Herr, Nicole Lundberg, Alana Svensson, Jon Poczciwinski, Mike Manth, Allison Plunkett, Jake Schoelles, John Janese, Cassie Travers, Jack Buddenhagen, Stephanie Cartwright, Mary Kate Ells, Matt Ells, John Taylor, Cullen Dwyer, Steve Pregmon, Josh Maroney, Maggie Maxwell, Eddie Foucha, Ken Fick, Robert Hull and Kyle Licht.
Stage Crew: Alicen Ambrosia, Adam Belote, Emily Belote, Andrew Canada, Hannah Carrier, Crae Contangelo, Joe Corio, Katie Connell, Katie DeRose, Connor Drury, Alyssa Jeacoma, Regan Johnson, Avery Mannex, Miranda Mona, Tommy-Lynn Piernik and Zak Prohn.