Behind-the-scenes of ACMO’s upcoming ‘Shrek The Musical’

Nate Curry

Contributing Writer

Taking place in a far far away fairy tale swamp and kingdom, “Shrek The Musical” is an All Campus Musical Organization (ACMO) musical that is based on the original film, “Shrek,” with some added musical flare.

ACMO’s “Shrek The Musical” will run March 19-22 in the VPAC.
ACMO’s “Shrek The Musical” will run March 19-22 in the VPAC.

Participating in both “Legally Blonde” in Spring 2013 and “AIDA” in Spring 2014, Director and Vice President of the ACMO board Justine Hilbert, a junior at Millersville University, will add what she calls, “the vision,” to the whimsical tale. The musical will tell most of the story seen in the film but add the elements of music and dance routines.

Hilbert thinks that the show will draw a lot of people in. She also said that the musical will incorporate great music from the movie that we know and love.
The musical is still in pre-production and auditions were held Nov 17 – 19. The callbacks for it will be on Nov 24. Actors will go through a challenging audition process that includes singing, acting (reading a monologue from Shrek), and (in a separate audition) dancing.

Most of the actors, who were interviewed, said that they were excited about auditions, as is the director.

“I cannot wait for my cast,” says Hilbert.

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Tatiana Urusow, special effects and prosthetic make-up artist, for the production said she is looking forward to creating the prosthetic applications for the actors, which will transform the actors into ogres and fantasy creatures. After the auditions are complete and the show has a cast, she will create plaster molds of the actors’ faces to make prosthetic pieces that will fit each and every actor.
When deciding how “Shrek The Musical” will play out, Hilbert says she likes to keep the original source in mind. “Those first childhood memories of Shrek help inspire my show,” says Hilbert.

The musical is not all about the vision, but also, how the play is presented. Costume designer Shelby-Lio Feeney who worked on “Bare: A Pop Opera,” “AIDA,” and assisted with the design for “RENT,” takes the director’s vision for the characters and applies it to how the actors appear. She is influenced from the costumes in both the digital film and Broadway versions of the show.
“All the fairy tale creatures in the movie version are an inspiration on how these characters should be portrayed,” said Hilbert.

There is a two-month process for designing the costumes of the musical.
The costume design process can be complicated. The steps include:

• Determining what each actor is going to wear during different scenes
• Locating the appropriate costumes
• Tailoring to fit the actor
• Making sure that the actors can get into the costumes

“It’s an exciting challenge,” says Feeney. “I make clothes for imaginary people.”
Another important aspect of the musical is the makeup that helps transform the actors into live fairy tale creatures. Urusow says that it takes her staff and herself about two hours to convert her entire cast into the characters from Shrek.
“The most time consuming makeup transformations will be Shrek, Princess Fiona when she is an ogre, and Shrek’s ogre parents,” says Urusow. “These actors will be acting the entire show with facial and head prosthetics so it’s crucial that they are adhered correctly before the curtain opens.”

There is a lot that is happening in the pre-production process and the musical seems to be making good progress for its Spring 2015 performances.
The musical seems like a challenge for everyone involved with this interpretation of “Shrek.” It also will change the way we think about our childhood ogre.

“Shrek The Musical” will begin showing on Millersville Campus on March 19, 2015.
For more information about tickets and availability go to the Student Services Ticket Information Website: