Grand Island High School will present a more modern musical when it stages "Shrek the Musical" for three performances Feb. 5, 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the new Grand Viking Theater at GIHS, 1100 Ransom Road.
Based on the DreamWorks animated comedy, the show toured the U.S. in 2010 and will represent the most modern theater presentation by the high school. Last year, the school presented Gilbert & Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance," a musical 130 years older.
As such, the music in the show represents many current musical genres and comedic themes.
"Of course, of course, it's DreamWorks," said sophomore Sam Sommer, who plays the Donkey. "It's mainly a parody of mostly Disney and Broadway itself. There's a scene where Lord Farquaad makes a 'Wicked' reference by singing 'Defying Gravity.'"
"It's just fun. There's all these characters and a huge ensemble cast," said Sommer, who is "the third wheel" to lead characters Shrek and Fiona, he said.
Jill Anderson is Princess Fiona, a more representative "Millennial" woman than the typical Mabel of "Pirates of Penzance."
"I think inside, she wants to be your everyday pretty, fairy tale princess, but she's not," Anderson said of her character. "She's obnoxious and loud and crazy. She tries to be the pretty princess she knows that she's supposed to be."
Shrek rescues her, "and at first she thinks that's her true love, the person she's supposed to be rescued by."
Much to her dismay, her hero is an ogre. "But throughout the journey, they actually start to have more connection than they ever thought they would," Anderson said.
Actors, especially Melanie Sweeney as the dragon, are belting out the songs in rehearsal at the new Grand Viking Theater with its improved sound and lighting debuting this year.
"It's rockin'," Anderson said of the music. "It's upbeat. It's a more modern musical, which is cool 'cause that's different than the things we've done here."
"This show is ogre the top," she said.
Sommer said a big cast has turned out for this year's musical.
"Going from 'Pirates of Penzance,' I guess everyone wanted to do something new and fresh," he said.
"It's just a lot of fun and I hope everyone can come see it," Sommer added.
Jared Eichel stars as Shrek, who was voiced by Mike Myers in the silver screen version.
"I would say this show is a lot of fun. It's just a really fun thing to see the movie come to life, really good for kids," Eichel said.
Ryan Allen plays Lord Farquaad, the ruler of Duloc.
"He's an angry little man who hates all the quote 'freaks' for ruining his kingdom, so he banishes them all" to Shrek's swamp, Allen said.
Allen said the costuming, a company secret before the show, is "over the top," as well.
"Each character has their own unique costume," Allen said. "Each character you're going to see has their own unique style."
The GIHS production will appeal to "just families in general. It's an all-age show. It's mostly a kid's show, but there are a lot of adult things in there," Sommer said.
"It doesn't matter how old you are. This show is going to be fun. There's references for all ages," Allen added. "You can find something relatable in each character."