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The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

VAPA brings fantasy to reality with ‘Shrek: the Musical’

On March 21, VAPA welcomed everyone to their swamp—Brown Auditorium—for the 2024 spring production of “Shrek: the Musical” with an ogre-sized roar.

“Shrek: the Musical” is a lyrical version of the DreamWorks movie “Shrek.” The fantasy tale focuses on an ogre who makes a deal with the evil Lord Farquaad and hopes to live the rest of his life in peace in his swamp.

The unlikely hero journeys to rescue the beautiful princess Fiona from her tower and bring her to Lord Farquaad to be his bride. On the journey to Duloc, where Fiona will marry Lord Farquaad, Shrek and Fiona fall in love.

While watching the musical, you can see how much work went into the production. From colorful backdrops to intricate costumes, the musical truly embodied the whimsy of the original movie.

“Part of the directors and actors’ job is to bring the character and story to life,” director Justin Havard said. “That involves lots of creative choices: line delivery, costuming, lighting, choreography, set design, musical style. There are a thousand other ways that we make this story ours. That’s the fun of it.”

Shrek, played by James Wright, joined his princess Fiona, LeAnn Hammons, in bringing the iconic ogre couple to life. Shrek and Donkey, played by Braden Tucker, portrayed a hilarious duo that kept the audience laughing.

Putting on such a well-known musical production excited many cast members, such as sophomore performance art major Alissa Smith.

“I first watched ‘Shrek: the Musical’ for the first time when I was twelve years old, and Pinocchio was instantly added to my dream list,” Smith said. “‘Shrek: the Musical’ is a huge show, but this is only the beginning of what our performing arts students can do.”

The dragon brought down the house and made the audience go wild. Da’Jah Taylor, a freshman vocal music major, played the dragon. Her bold singing paired well with a life-sized beast prop held up by four stagehands.

The dragon also included strings that moved its wings and a rod that directed its mouth. These features helped it appear to sing and dance alongside Taylor.

From beginning to end, the musical had the audience cheering and chuckling. One moment that had the entire theater in comical tears was when Lord Farquaad, played by Preston Anderson, came out on his knees to match the short king’s stature.

“The play was so much more than I expected,” junior biology major Agnes Ugokwe said. “The whole cast really did their thing: Lord Farquaad, Donkey, the dragon, and Pinocchio stole the show for me.”

The musical even kept some of the most iconic lines from the movie. Gingy, played by Sophomore Addison Mitchell, delivered the iconic line: “Do you know the muffin man?”

“Shrek: the Musical” was a breathtaking display of theater that genuinely made you feel like you were watching the movie again. The cast, crew and audience members will remember the performance for years to come.

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    Braden TuckerMar 26, 2024 at 9:14 pm

    This is so nice! So much love for my ULM family, the audience for coming out to see us, and this beautifully written article!