Audiences are being welcomed back to a familiar swamp.
Shrek The Musical is coming to the south Island for the first time, as Four Seasons Musical Theatre brings the loveable green ogre and his friends from Broadway to Langford starting Friday (May 22) for their biggest and greenest production to date.
“It’s a great honour to bring the show to our audience. It is by far one of the most ambitious shows produced by Four Seasons and one that I’m glad to be a part of,” said director Jim Goodman.
He looks forward to showing off the sights and sounds of a colourful fairy tale world at the Isabelle Reader Theatre, and points out that audiences are in for a some surprises.
“We’ve been keeping a number of our costumes, sets and props under a tight lock and key so as to not give away any of the show’s secrets.”
Despite a modest production budget, he said, the hard work and dedication of the cast and crew will be evident.
“One of the things that constantly surprises me when directing is the talents that people have,” Goodman said. “For some, it’s their first show ever. The talent that they bring to the production – be it performing in the show or doing things behind the scenes – that passion and dedication is phenomenal.”
A.J. Hildebrand plays the lead character, his first starring role with the all-ages theatre company. He looks forward to bringing the required layers to the affable ogre, with whom he shares some personality traits.
“It’s a unique opportunity to play something that is very close to home for me. He is a very stalwart, stoic character that doesn’t allow people in very easily,” he said. “By nature I’m quite an introvert, so it’s easy to slip into the method acting. Like Shrek’s quest, it’s a chance to step outside the comfort zone and challenge myself in the same way he gets taken out of his comfortable swamp and gets into the wind-swept adventure with Donkey, and eventually Fiona.”
Joining him on the adventure are Sasha Moriarty-Schieven as Donkey, Julie French as Princess Fiona and Nathan Black as the evil Lord Farquaad. They and the rest of the cast and crew have dedicated themselves to the project and each other, in a way Hildebrand hasn’t seen before.
“The best part of this process is the feeling of family,” he said. “These people are the warmest, most genuine people. Even if I were to go to a bigger budget (show), I would always come back (to Four Seasons) because I really love them. It’s the little things that matter, but they do it in a big way.”
Shrek The Musical runs May 22 to 31 at the Isabelle Reader Theatre in Langford. Tickets and show times are available online at fsmtheatre.ca or by calling 250-478-0329.