2017-03-16 / Life in Leelanau

Break a leg!

Suttons Bay students team up for production of ‘Shrek the Musical’
By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff


FOURTH-GRADER Quentin Smith, who plays young Shrek, gets a little help with his ears from volunteer Jennifer Kohler, whose four daughters are in the play, and director Joel Hoard. FOURTH-GRADER Quentin Smith, who plays young Shrek, gets a little help with his ears from volunteer Jennifer Kohler, whose four daughters are in the play, and director Joel Hoard. Emma Grant and Maddy Porter went the extra mile to get into the Fiona character they both play in the Suttons Bay Schools production of “Shrek the Musical.”

Both students dyed their hair the same coppery shade of red.

Grant, a junior, plays Princess Fiona, while Porter, a senior, plays the ogre Fiona.

“Why not look the part?” Grant said. “I might keep it this way. I don’t know what my mom will say.”

In all, a cast of 60 students, including some from the Montessori School located on the Suttons Bay campus, are in the all-school musical, which takes the the stage at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday in the high school auditorium.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students.


RYAN MEMBERTO gets his Shrek on with a little help from sophomore Hanna Curtis, who is helping out with the Suttons Bay musical’s make-up. RYAN MEMBERTO gets his Shrek on with a little help from sophomore Hanna Curtis, who is helping out with the Suttons Bay musical’s make-up. In all there are four Fionas, with fourth-grader Mya Kohler playing young Fiona and ninthgrader Gwen Morris playing teen Fiona.

There are also young Shrek, grown-up Shrek and Shrek’s parents — all of whom are outfitted with the ogre’s signature tubular green ears.

“I love the community of Suttons Bay and when we do these musicals we open it up for all students from third-graders to seniors,” said director Joel Hoard. “It’s a great opportunity for the younger kids to see the seniors, to see the juniors, to see how they handle themselves.”

“Shrek The Musical” was written and scored by American composer Jeanine Tesori and playwright and lyricist David Lindsay-Abaire. It is based on the DreamWorks film “Shrek” and William Steig’s book with the same name, written in 1990.


JUNIOR EMMA Grant, left, and Mya Kohler, a fourth-grader, play Princess Fiona and young Fiona in the Suttons Bay production of 'Shrek the Musical.' JUNIOR EMMA Grant, left, and Mya Kohler, a fourth-grader, play Princess Fiona and young Fiona in the Suttons Bay production of 'Shrek the Musical.' The musical follows the now-beloved hulking green ogre who, after being mocked and feared his whole life, lives in a green swamp where he is happy to be left alone. That is, until Pinocchio, Cinderella and the Three Pigs show up, telling him they’ve been evicted from their homes by the vertically challenged Lord Farquaad.

Shrek strikes a deal with them, promising to get them their homes back if they will leave him in peace.

But Farquaad has ideas of his own, saying he’ll give the fairy-tale characters their homes back if Shrek rescues Princess Fiona.

Shrek obliges, finding something appealing — yet strange and different — about the pretty princess, though he can’t figure out why she runs off when the sun goes down.

Why Shrek?

Simple. Because it’s fun, Hoard said.

“It’s a fun show,” Hoard said. “The music is great and it’s got a great message behind it.”

That message is that everyone has layers, Hoard said, and what you see is not always what you get.

“That’s no different than everyday life and people you’re going to meet along the way,” he said.

Shrek is played by Ryan Memberto, a senior; Donkey is played by Will Faught, a senior; Dragon by Paty Nuño, a senior; and Gingy by Idalia Cuellar, a junior.

This is Hoard’s second year with the Suttons Bay drama department. One of the biggest challenges with this production was the costumes, he said.

“The Shrek costume in particular was a challenge, with all of the appendages and making sure that he looked like an ogre,” he said.

A squadron of parents and others have been working on the costumes, but Hoard has also hired Sarah Koontz, of Interlochen, who specializes in making costumes for Star Wars Cosplay (costume play).

Koontz was instrumental in getting the Farquaad costume right. The character is played by sophomore Jayce Konopka, who will be walking on his knees to give the illusion of being short, while artificial legs have been created and attached to the front of the costume. Konopka’s legs will be covered by a cape.

The orchestra pit is made up of parents, community members and students, all of whom are musicians. Music was coordinated by Kaylie Hutcheon, director of bands, and community member David Faught.

It’s the second year that the music is been underwritten by a member of the pit, Steve Gilbreath, whose late wife Lauren was also a musician. The Gilbreaths were long-time supporters of the school’s band program.

“We’re so fortunate to have so many people available to work for us and make it great for the kids,” Hutcheon said.

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