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Winnetonka High School's Shrek Selected Reviews

Libby Bastow
Lee's Summit West High School

Submitted for publication to KC Star Online


Picture a murky, rancid, isolated swamp and its crude, foul-smelling inhabitant. Add some catchy music, comical supporting roles, and some fairy-tale characters and you have SHREK THE MUSICAL, as it is performed by Winnetonka High School. The show adds a touching musicality to the original 2001 movie while still capturing the irreverence and hilarity that made the film a cult classic.

When a ogre's swamp is overrun with fairytale characters, the reclusive Shrek must find a way to force them out. After discovering that all "misfits" and "freaks" have been ordered out of the nearby town of Duloc by the short-tempered Lord Farquad, Shrek sets out to convince him to move them somewhere else. Not long into his quest, Shrek runs into the enigmatic Donkey. Although the two are polar opposites, they become an amiable team who are determined to rescue Princess Fiona for as per Lord Farquad's wishes in order to earn Shrek's swamp back. Throughout their journey, the pair and other characters learn important lessons about beauty, love, and friendship.

In the title role of Shrek, James Long sings his way from a grumpy hermit to a happily-in-love ogre. Long's vocal prowess effectively encapsulates the gruff character while remaining expressive and in tune. Elevating his performance is the prosthetic face the makeup team, led by Adelia Haines and Jaelee Pittel, uses to create the gruesome visage of an ogre. Alongside Long is Miyon Roston as Princess Fiona. Roston's strong singing voice and self-assured demeanor compliment Long's gruffness, resulting in a captivating and believable relationship.

Although there are times when the ensemble lacks energy and confidence, several members bring captivating energy to the characters they portray. Memorable roles include the bold Peter Pan, depicted by DeSean Harrison, who stands out on stage for his confident and graceful mastery of the choreography. Additionally, Logan Overturf, in the role of Pinocchio, demonstrates a smooth proficiency with his character accent, which adds enormously to the overall magic of the show.

Throughout SHREK THE MUSICAL, the technical work is up to par with the cast's work. The abundant set, which features a rotating tower, is utilized effectively throughout the show to depict the rolling expanses, tall towers and dark caverns of the musical. Although there are times where the lighting is contradictory to the mood of the scene, overall, the work of Rae Miller, Marissa Colvin and Emma Mercer adds atmosphere to the show. One of the most phenomenal aspects of the show is the Dragon, voiced by Alyna Mathews. This behemoth of a puppet is operated by the movement crew, who not only worm their way across the stage but also cause the eyes to blink and wings to flutter menacingly. This combination of vocal prowess and technical mastery creates the highlight of the show.

Winnetonka High School's SHREK THE MUSICAL is a commendable adaption of the beloved film, with many wonderful nods to the original.

Gracie Heath
Lee's Summit West High School

Submitted for publication to The Pitch


With the perfect blend of the famous movie and some catchy tunes, the audience is brought back to the simpler times of their childhood after watching Winnetonka High School's SHREK THE MUSICAL.

SHREK THE MUSICAL is based off William Steig's book and Dreamworks Productions' movie of the same name. The musical itself is written by David Lindsay-Abaire. The story follows an ogre who, albeit reluctantly, saves a group of fairytale creatures that are being exiled from Duloc. Shrek strikes a deal with the ruler, Lord Farquaad, where if Shrek saves a certain princess, the fairy tale creatures will be removed from his swamp. The trouble comes when Shrek starts to fall for the princess he was supposed to rescue.

James Long portrays the iconic Shrek. Long constantly keeps the famous Shrek accent, all while providing the rich tone of his voice. During the song, "Build a Wall", his powerful belt makes the song so emotionally powerful the audience cannot help but be entranced. Long also shows the comedic side of Shrek's "Dance like Nobody's Watching" attitude. His mannerisms and vocal choices make it nearly unbelievable that Long is still in high school, for he shows professional maturity far beyond his years.

Other characters that draw your eye are Donkey, played by Jordon Prince, and Princess Fiona, played by Miyon Roston. Prince's comedic timing is terrific. During his song, "Make a Move", Prince serenades Shrek while making hilarious gestures. The combination of that and his killer dance moves make that song to be one of the best in the show. Roston really emphasizes Fiona's sassy outlook on life. During the song, "I Know it's Today", she utilizes subtle movements and vocal changes to stress how secretly fed up she is with being trapped in a tower.

The technical work is also stunning. The lighting, designed by Rae Miller directly corresponds with the tone of the scene. For example, during the dragon's song in the castle, the red LED lights illuminate Donkey and the prisoners, creating a beautiful and terrifying scene. Another stellar technical design was the sound by Macy Goetz. They balance not only the actor's mics, but the orchestra too. Plus, almost no cues are missed thanks to the stage manager, Mason Byrd.

Throughout the entire show, the actors show great emotion, but some important details were overlooked. However, it does not take long for the audience to get sucked back in because of the intense emotions radiating from the stage.

Overall, Winnetonka pulls off an extremely complicated and high energy show. The show is engaging and entertaining. Even if there were a few problems, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Ultimately the show leaves the audience with that warm and fuzzy feeling in their heart and song stuck in their heads. It can easily be said that they performed far beyond just medi-ogre.

Shanna Sinow
Lee's Summit West High School

Submitted for publication to The Courier Tribune


Push past the auditorium doors. Step into the performing arts center and take in the scene. Streamers of yellow and green can be seen draping across the proscenium of the stage. Audience members mingle about and tingle with excitement for the show to come. Winnetonka high school's production of SHREK THE MUSICAL gives viewers a chance to see a fan-favorite childhood film brought to life.

Based on the original Dreamworks Production, SHREK THE MUSICAL brings to life the story of an ogre named Shrek who, while on a quest to regain his swamp, falls in love with the cursed princess named Fiona. Fiona is forced to "lower" her expectations when she meets her groom-to-be, Lord Farquad.

Shrek is a character with extreme dynamic growth, which is not an easy thing to pull off. Luckily, Winnetonka is blessed with actor James Long. Long's portrayal of Shrek's slow fall into love connects the audience to the story and helps them become lost in the music. His strong characterization paired with amazing vocals make him the perfect choice for this iconic character. But, who is Shrek without his Fiona? Miyon Roston flounces onto the stage with princess-like energy in her interpretation of Princess Fiona. Her light and airy soprano mixed with Long's much more masculine tone blend beautifully and create a sound that is pleasant to the ears. Her smile brings plenty of energy to the show and lights up the stage around her.

A good show is not only made up of the leading man and woman, without strong supporting characters, the story would not be brought to life. Jordon Prince makes light and laughter bounce across the auditorium with his hilarious portrayal of Donkey. Prince also showcases amazing tenor vocals. Kyle Villaverde's portrayal of Lord Farquad also leaves the audience rolling with laughter. Villaverde keeps his facial expressions energetic and lively which aptly show his abilities onstage. The ensemble should not go without mention. The fairy tale creatures constantly make sure the show is moving at a fast pace and keep things lively.

With simply one look at the stage, it is obvious how hard the set crew worked. The most impressive being Dakotah Crispin, Adrian Craigmiles, Mason Byrd and Ky Musselman's rotating tower set. It showcases three beautiful sides in order to accommodate the three talented Fiona's. Another hardworking group would be the members of the props crew. This show contains many props and the crew heads, Katie Chumley and Madison Coonce, do not miss a detail on a single one.

While there are a few slip-ups with vocals, the actors quickly move past the mistakes and cause the audience to forget it ever happened.

This is a wild and wacky show with plenty of twists and turns. Lucky Winnetonka's production of SHREK THE MUSICAL really lets its freak flag fly!

About the Author

Rackers, Brad

Rackers, Brad

Chair - FY20 Season


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