Quaker Valley prepares to put on a big show with ‘Shrek the Musical’

Monday, February 25, 2019 | 6:00 AM

Quaker Valley High School students are getting ready to put on a big show.

Everything in “Shrek the Musical,” which will take place at 7:30 p.m. March 7-9, will be just that: big.

There’s the 20-foot dragon that moves around on stage at the hands of five puppeteers, the large cast of 48 students and the grandiose sets. Even the acting will be “big.”

It’s all meant to wow audiences.

“We are hoping to put on a show like they’ve never seen before,” first-year director Austin Wolford said. “We’re trying to do this as over the top as possible. That’s the whole point of the show.”

“Shrek the Musical” follows the plot line of the popular 2001 DreamWorks animation film “Shrek.”

It’s a funny show for all ages about an ogre who finds his swamp overrun with fairy tale creatures.

But remember, not everything may be as it seems.

“It’s a goofy show and it’s funny,” said senior Ruby Sevcik, 18, who plays a lead role as Fiona.

While the show will keep you entertained, it also comes with an important message.

“Don’t be afraid of who you are. You need to ‘Let Your Freak Flag Fly,’ ” Sevcik said, referencing a song from the show.

“It’s a message that so many people can relate to,” she said.

Wolford, who took over as director of Quaker Valley’s high school musicals this year, said he wanted a production that would showcase the “massive amount of talent” that the cast has this year. Longtime musical director and middle school choral teacher Lou Valenzi retired last year. Wolford had worked as music director for the musical for the last two years.

With “Shrek the Musical,” there’s a lot of opportunities for students to showcase their talents on and off the stage, Wolford said.

If they don’t want to act, students can help behind the scenes with this year’s full prosthetic makeup, he said. Or, they can help design and paint the sets.

There are 25 members of the stage crew and 80 students in the school’s construction technology classes who helped build the sets.

For the first time, students will be a part of the orchestra pit, Wolford said. They will work alongside the professional musicians who are typically hired to perform for the shows.

“That’s a big thing that we’re trying to focus on is getting as much student involvement as possible,” he said.

This show not only is fun for the audience, it’s also fun for the cast to perform in, Sevcik said.

“Everyone in the cast is so close, we don’t have to struggle to make those connections,” she said.

In fact, she’s performing opposite of one of her best friends.

“We are a unit as a cast. I think that brings a lot of energy to the show,” she said.

But they can’t do it without the audience, either.

“We’re hoping they come out to watch this big, big show,” Wolford said.