J-M’s ‘Shrek The Musical’ takes the stage

Performances March 30 - April 2; tickets on sale now


SILER CITY — Everyone’s favorite ogre will take theater audiences on a fairytale journey into the swamp and beyond this month when Jordan-Matthews High School presents “Shrek The Musical.”

Performances of the Broadway musical are Thursday, March 30, at 7 p.m.; Friday, March 31, at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, April 2, at 3 p.m. There is no Saturday performance. General admission tickets are $8 each and now available online at JMArtsTickets.com. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door before each performance. No passes — including Chatham County Schools and senior citizens’ passes — can be accepted. Everyone entering the theater, regardless of age, must have a ticket. 

Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film, “Shrek The Musical” is a Tony Award-winning fairytale adventure, featuring all new songs from Jeanine Tesori — composer for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Caroline, or Change” — and a sidesplitting book by David Lindsay-Abaire. “Shrek” brings all the beloved characters you know from the film to life on stage and proves there’s more to the story than meets the ears.

“Shrek The Musical” opened on Broadway in 2008, receiving nominations for 12 Drama Desk Awards and eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. Its success launched a North America tour in 2010 and, since then, the musical has entertained audiences on London’s West End and all around the world.

Jordan-Matthews brings a huge production to the stage, featuring a 39-member cast and 15-member stage crew with students in art and carpentry classes building and painting scenery.

“This show is a huge growth for the musical theater program this year,” said theater teacher Sawyer Shafer, who directs the musical. “Not only do we have about twice as many kids involved as last year during ‘Oklahoma!,’ but we have really been able to see these kids shine in a whole new light thanks to the contributions of choreographer and dance teacher Tara Rooks. A lot of these students are now getting the full ‘spectacle musical’ experience for the first time, and I’m excited for audiences to come experience this show.

“It’s on track to be the best show of my short tenure as director here.”

Producer Rose Pate agrees, pointing out the huge number of costumes and even bigger dance numbers. Some students could be intimidated by such a leap in complexity, but Pate said everyone in this production rose to the challenge.

“I’ve seen a lot of student leadership throughout the entire preparation process,” she said. “I couldn’t be prouder of how our kids have stepped up to make this great show work. And our adult leaders are a real dream team as well.

More than 200 individuals and groups work together each year to bring the musical to life. Adults on this year’s ‘dream team’ include Elliott Peterson as assistant director and musical director, Cynthia Bredenberg as wardrobe supervisor and Heath Smith as hair and makeup supervisor. Several students also were part of the creative team, including Dylan Mendoza Huezos on set construction and Victoria Barlow on set design.

More information about “Shrek The Musical” and other arts events scheduled for this season is available online at jmarts.org/events.