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Yorkville

'Shrek the Musical' aims to enchant audiences at WCC

Fox Country Players to bring storybook characters to life

SUGAR GROVE – "Shrek the Musical" tells the tale of an ogre and his adventures with an enchanted princess, wisecracking donkey, vertically challenged villain and love-smitten dragon in the Fox Country Players production playing one more weekend at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove.

The music is by Tony Award-winning composer Jeanine Tesori. The book and lyrics for "Shrek the Musical" are by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire. Directing the production for the Yorkville-based theater company is Christopher Roe.

In the title role of "Shrek" is Patrick Stinson of Oswego, formerly of Plano, a professional director and vice president of the nonprofit Fox Country Players, the resident theater company at Waubonsee.

"I think the music is gorgeous in the show," co-producer Stinson said, noting he primarily directs for the community theater troupe.

"Every once in a while, something comes along I want to do [and am] hoping to be cast in," Stinson told Kane Weekend Editor Renee Tomell. The following is an edited version of the rest of their conversation.

Renee Tomell: What drew you to the role of Shrek?

Patrick Stinson: He is struggling with being an ogre on the inside. He's been taught since he was a little kid that people are bad and no one is going to like him and he needs to be a certain way. The journey with this character is overcoming that and finding that even though you may be hideous on the outside, there can still be a beauty within. And finding that beauty in yourself and other people. I think that's the best part of the role for me – finding where those moments are.

Tomell: Is there a target audience?

Stinson: I think the kids will like the fairy tale aspect of this – the princess and all the different [storybook] characters in the show. Kids will like the basic story of that and I think the parents will like the dialogue. That's very true in the movie. There are double entendres and jokes kids won't get, but they'll laugh because the situation is funny. It's really good for the whole family.

Tomell: How elaborate is the makeup that transforms you into the ogre?

Stinson: I am unrecognizable. We're doing full prosthetic makeup. My head is covered in a cowl and my face is covered by foam latex prosthetics. You'll see my eyes and my mouth. The rest is all fake. It doesn't look like a mask. It looks like an ogre.

Tomell: How has the dragon in love with Donkey been visualized?

Stinson: We have a huge dragon that will be on stage. It's a puppet. It's really neat and interesting.

Tomell: What's the age range for the performers?

Stinson: In the cast, we have an array of ages. Our youngest is 7 or 8 years old. People in the show [range through] seniors. I think it's really fun for the kids to work with the adults here and kind of see how we put together our characters. It's fun for us to see how they play and how they create.

Tomell: Fox Country Players offers a theater training program for youth?

Stinson: In the summer, we do a theater arts academy … with the college. For first through eighth grades, and we have a teen program as well. They work as mentors in our camp. We bring in professional theater people to work with the kids and they put together a show in two weeks.

Tomell: You have a new choreographer for "Shrek?"

Stinson: Jeni Donahue is a known choreographer in the area. She does some professional things [and] works with a lot of show choirs. She's done a great job.

Tomell: The troupe has been performing at Waubonsee Community College for a while now?

Stinson: It's a really nice space. I really enjoy working with the college. We're very lucky to be back there.

Tomell: The 40-year-old Fox County Players plans a winter benefit?

Stinson: We do a kind of cabaret fundraiser. There's a couple of us that work in the theater profession. We get a hold of our friends – "Can you come out and do a song or two for our benefit?"

Cast members

Local faces include Julie Martin of Montgomery as Fiona; Layla Bohl of Yorkville, teen Fiona and Fairy Godmother; Marilyn DiCola of Yorkville, Wicked Witch; Kiersa Downs of Oswego, Elf; Oliver Downs of Oswego, young Shrek and Baby Bear; Linda Johnson of Somonauk, Mad Hatter; Savannah Johnson of Yorkville, Pinocchio; Robyn Lycan of Montgomery, Blind Mouse; Aidan McGarry of Plano, Three Little Pigs; Meg McGarry of Plano, Dragon and Tap Dancing Rat; Rosie McGarry of Plano, Tap Dancing Rat and Tinkerbell; Abi Munar of Plano, White Rabbit; Sarah Ramos of Aurora, Peter Pan; Allison Scigalski of Aurora, Blind Mouse and Tap Dancing Rat; Jacob Teeling of Yorkville, Papa Ogre, Guard and Knight; Nola Tellone of Yorkville, Young Fiona and Sugar Plum Fairy; and Michele Wade of Somonauk, Mama Bear.

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IF YOU GO

WHAT: Fox Country Players presents "Shrek the Musical"

WHERE: Waubonsee Community College Auditorium, Route 47 and Waubonsee Drive, Sugar Grove

WHEN: 7 p.m. Oct. 12 and 13, and 2 p.m. Oct. 14

COST: $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors

INFO: waubonseetickets.com; to learn more about the troupe, visit foxcountryplayers.org

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