Arts Council stages ‘Shrek’ at London High

Messenger photo by Pat Donahue
Rehearsing for the Madison County Arts Council’s July 27-28 production of “Shrek: The Musical” are: (from left) Krissy Hartman who plays Fiona, Brandon Boring as Shrek, and Ryan McMarty as Donkey.

(Posted July 19, 2018)

By Dedra Cordle, Staff Writer

Like many visitors to New York City, Brandon Boring had ‘See a show on Broadway’ on his list of things to do. However, at the time of his trip to the Big Apple, he was a college student and thus limited in funds.

Ss most people on a budget are apt to do, he searched for deals and discounts and came across a production of “Shrek: The Musical.” Having enjoyed the 2001 animated feature, he decided to take a chance on the stage adaptation and came away impressed.

“It was just a wonderful time,” recalled the graduate of The Ohio State University.

It also sparked a dream for the aspiring thespian to star as the loveable green ogre one day.

As the years passed, no opportunities at the local theatre level came across his way. Boring began to lose a little hope.

“I wanted to play Shrek because, like him, I am an ample gentleman and there are not a lot of leading roles out there for performers like me,” he explained. “With Shrek, I knew I fit the physical requirements and I knew I could portray his personality that is filled with humor.”

Recently, Boring’s luck changed when he the Madison County Arts Council announced its summer production would be “Shrek: The Musical.” Boring knew he had to audition.

In late May, Boring was one of 60 people to audition for at Brennan Loft in London and one of a handful for the role of Shrek.

Director Kevin Brown said Boring stood out right away and it had little to do with his height or body type.

“He just had a presence,” said Brown. “I knew he would do a great job portraying Shrek.”

Other casting choices for lead roles included Krissy Hartman as Princess Fiona, Ryan McCarty as Donkey, Troy Berry as Lord Farquaad, Ruth Peart as Dragon, and Tim Compsten as Pinnocchio.

Brown said the cast, as a whole, has true chemistry which has helped him tremendously as he navigates his solo directing debut.

“‘Shrek: The Musical’ is just this big, fun show with crazy costume changes and makeup, and it could have been a real mess for me,” he said with a laugh. “But all of the cast and crew have made this experience a real pleasure.”

Brown specifically called out music director Kent Brooks, choreographer Paul Smith, sound technician Jason Hanrahan and lighting designer Bowen Moss as being true marvels of their crafts.

“We have a lot of staging tricks in this show–and I’m sorry I can’t tell you what they are; I don’t want to spoil it for the audience–and these people have made something so special with their skill and expertise.”

Brown said he has utter confidence that the cast and crew have created something magical and that the community will find joy in this humorous, toe-tapping musical that features a message about friendship, love and acceptance of self and others.

“I think the community will have a great time,” he said.

Show times are July 27 at 7:30 p.m. and July 28 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Joyce Hildebrand Auditorium at London High School, 336 Elm St. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets are available at: the door; Wilson Printing & Graphics, 158 S. Main St., London; or by pre-order by calling (740) 852-5934.

Additionally, the public is invited to a pancake breakfast set for 10 to 11:30 a.m. July 28 at the high school. Visitors will get to meet some of the characters in costume. The suggested donation for breakfast is $5.

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