Actors donned their costumes for the first time on Monday in preparation for Titusville Summer Theater’s production of “Shrek: The Musical.” According to music director Jerry Knickerbocker, this was the first of several dress rehearsals prior to the start of the show on July 11.
“We have two full dress rehearsals today and Tuesday to help us prepare,” Knickerbocker said. “Things have moved along well since we started rehearsing in back in May.”
Knickerbocker has been involved with TST for nearly 40 years as both a director and performer. Over the years, he said they’ve repeated many productions, but that Shrek was unique in nearly all facets of the show.
“There’s really nothing traditional about it,” he said. “There’s a lot of quasi-rock and unorthodox pacing to the music. I study a lot for all of my shows, but this one required some extra work by me and the cast.”
Ian Best has been cast as the show’s lead, taking on the role of Shrek himself. Best has received praise from his fellow cast members, and Knickerbocker said he’s been doing a great job getting into character and improving the show as a whole.
Best said he stumbled upon the role, hearing about it in passing from a friend of his.
“I was doing another show when I was approached to see if I was interested,” Best said. “I didn’t have much time to prepare, but I went into the audition confident that I could get the part and take on the challenge of portraying Shrek.”
Best said the hardest part of playing the big green ogre has been mastering his Scottish accent, first introduced in the 2001 animated film when the character was voiced by comedian Mike Myers.
“It started off pretty bad,” Best joked. “It was very vocally straining at first. My voice sounded Irish initially, and it’s slowly moved toward where I want it to be.”
The production is composed of adult and child actors portraying classical fairytale creatures like Peter Pan and the Mad Hatter. The original 2008 Broadway show was nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning for best costume design.
Best said while the show is based off the film, there are plenty of new plot points that audiences will enjoy.
“You’ll recognize a lot of stuff, but it’s more engaging in my eyes,” he said. “The music is all original, and it’ll keep you engaged right from the start. It’s definitely not a snoozer show.”
This sentiment was shared by Knickerbocker, who said he believes that it will resonate well with audiences of all ages.
“We’ve got a pretty good mix of children and adults in the cast, and they help bring each other along with positive energy,” Knickerbocker said. “I know it’ll be very popular with kids, but I think there’s a lot in the show for everyone to enjoy.”
“Shrek: The Musical” will run on July 11, 12 and 13 at Colestock Auditorium, at 7 p.m. each night. There is a fee for entry, and tickets can be purchased at the gate or by contacting TST on their website, titusvillesummertheater.com.
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