CLUTE — Logs, swamp ferns and a menacing purple dragon are all spread out backstage at the Center for the Arts and Sciences, a collection of props that will be part of the latest show taking audiences through a magical fairy tale.
“Shrek The Musical” opens at 7:30 p.m. today and plays through July 21, offering seven opportunities to see the beloved characters at the Center for the Arts and Sciences, 400 College Blvd. The musical tells the story of Shrek, an unlikely hero who finds himself on a long journey alongside a sarcastic Donkey to rescue a princess.
Directors Cindy Gernand and Craig Fritz came on board after falling in love with the show’s smart material.
“It’s warm,” Gernand said. “It’s a children’s show, but it’s got some adult humor that’s a big edgy. The music is wonderful. It’s got really great music, great characters, has a full arc. This has got a really nice arc to it.”
It’s just an overall fun musical that can appeal to a wide collection of age groups, director Craig Fritz said.
“I think it appeals to young audiences and adult audiences,” he said. “People know it from the movie and all of the sequels. The musical was a hit on Broadway, too.”
It’s an elaborate production to put together and she’s glad to have Fritz’s help, Gernand said.
“We have 43 in the cast, playing 66 different roles,” she said. “We pulled together this really, really remarkable team. The choreography is wonderful. It’s so good and upbeat.”
He couldn’t be having more fun playing the wisecracking, positive Donkey, actor Jacob Aguilar said.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “I have been doing this here for a few years now. Getting to take on this lighthearted, happy character, it’s taught me a lot to just view life from a different perspective of optimism. I have learned a lot from him.”
He feels a responsibility to do the role of Donkey justice knowing people come to Center Stages productions to have a good time, Aguilar said.
The message of whoever you are, you are loved and good is something all children should hear, Gernand said.
“I think it says so much about acceptance and about if you’re different it’s OK,” she said.
Tickets are $22 for adults and $16 for students. Call 979-265-7611 or visit bcfas.org for information and show times.