Liberty High's 'Shrek' is a monster effort

It takes seven people to make Dragon come to life. The love of Donkey's life took Alexandra Ward, 17, three months to create, a lot of trial and error and a failed first attempt.

Total appearances for the 25-foot long puppet during Liberty High School's production of the musical, "Shrek?"

One scene.

"It's a really, really dramatic scene," said Ward, a senior, adding that Dragon would also appear in the finale.

Based on the popular movie "Shrek," the school's musical production features a cast and crew of 120, more than 160 costumes, singing, dancing and lots of humor, according to director Tony Cimino.

It opens Nov. 9 at the school on Bartholow Road with performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

"Everybody is just going to love it. It's just funny," Cimino said.

It is also exhausting, he admitted. For a while, he and 11 members of the "Shrek" cast were also in rehearsals for "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," a play Liberty's drama club produced earlier in the school year.

"They love being here and being in theater. They love telling stories," Cimino said of his cast. "Musicals are a lot more involved. Plays are more acting. Musicals are more of a spectacle."

To be a princess is every girl's dream, admits Ann Devine, 17, a senior, but an ogre, too?

Devine couldn't resist.

"What's so awesome about Fiona is she's a different type of princess," Devine said of her character. "Try to be a princess when you're an ogre."

This is Christian Zeitler's first role in a theater production, and he couldn't be more pleased with his role as Donkey, Shrek's sidekick.

"I decided to give it a whirl. I didn't have any experience," said the senior. "The show itself is just really out there. Lots of room for messing around and a lot of improvising."

He is a little worried about his costume, however. While he finds it "cuddly," the costume may steal the show.

"With every step, I go from 450 to 8,000 degrees," Zeitler said. "I'll try not to pass out on stage. Maybe it will happen at a really funny moment."

To become Shrek, Carter Johnson, 17, had to sit for three hours in makeup the first time to properly color and fit the latex mask.

While the mask fits perfectly, Johnson is still adjusting to it.

"Everything you say and do echoes around in (the mask)," Johnson said.

The production is completely done by students, Cimino said. At a recent rehearsal, while the cast rehearsed on stage, outside, crew members sawed and painted scenery and props.

"Everything you see is student designed and driven," Cimino said. "It's a lot on students to do."

As a tennis player, Alex Dangel, 18, always missed performing in the club's spring musical production. A veteran of fall productions, he was excited and nervous to perform in his first musical this fall.

"I was surprised myself, that I was able to sing," said Dangel, who, as the character Lord Farquad, has to perform on his knees.

"I pride myself on my dance moves," Dangel joked.

Cimino encourages purchasing tickets in advance as 2,000 of 7,000 tickets already have been sold.

'Shrek the Musical' will be performed Nov. 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 at 7 p.m.; Nov. 9 and 1 at 2 p.m. at Liberty High School, 5855 Bartholow Road, Sykesville. Tickets are $10 in advance; $12 at the door. 410-751-3560.


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