What our patrons are saying about "Shrek"...
Thank you for directing such a great performance! We all LOVED it.
Lori Craig - Amarillo
I was able to bring 200 middle school students to a school production of "Shrek" -- for many this was their first time to see a live production -- and they were blown away!! Several could not believe that they were watching other students from Amarillo and kept asking if the singing was recorded. Jason and company have done it again, given us theatre that inspires.
Kim Shreffler - Amarillo
What enormous talent we have in our community! ALT's Academy production of Shrek the Musical is a monster of a success. Following the basic storyline of the popular movie, this version featured fresh new music, brilliantly designed costumes, and none other than Amarillo's brightest young stars-- 96 of them in total! Don't miss Prince Farquod's vaulted ego, Donkey's unconditional friendship, Fiona's multifaceted personality, and all the loveable layers of Shrek's heart.
Jason Hudson - Amarillo
I saw ALT Academy's Shrek the Musical last night, and I was completely blown away. Between the incredible talent, the amazing costumes, and the brilliant direction of so many young actors, everyone involved should be so proud! What a fantastic evening you gave us. I'm so amazed and inspired!
Annika Johansson - Amarillo
The stars were out in Amarillo on Friday October 18th...Not just the heavenly bodies in the sky but also the ones shining brightly on the ALT stage for the opening night of Shrek. Each and every actor lit up the stage through their amazing acting ability, adorable costumes, and overall stage presence under the genius direction of Jason Crespin. It was a true joy to see the faces of all the parents, other adults, and kids sitting in the audience beaming with delight throughout each act. Bravo to ALT Academy, Jason Crespin, and all the actors in between! Keep Calm and Duloc On!
Cindy Singleton - Amarillo
The ALT Academy never ceases to amaze me! Shrek the Musical was phenomenal. It showcased the students' talent so perfectly, and made me so proud of our Theatre and the kids in this community. I belly laughed throughout the show, and left amazed by the strength of the voices and the way the difficult music was performed. This is a can't miss production!
Brett Spalding - Amarillo
Amazing. Captivating. Fun. Inspiring. Shrek: The Musical is all of those things, and so much more. The talent of the cast and crew bubbles to the surface in this swamp-stomping romp of a musical that takes us on a journey with Shrek and Donkey as they rescue Princess Fiona and help the displaced fairytale characters defy the villainous Lord Farquaad. The acting, the singing and dancing, and the well-timed crew who set the stage for this production have truly transported us deep within Shrek: The Musical's message of how we should all embrace our uniqueness.
Now, on with the show!
I will say that Harrison Stringer's portrayal of Lord Farquadd nearly steals the show because of Harrison's comedic timing and devotion to making this villainous character so downright despicable. His musical numbers left the crowd in tears from laughter.
Shrek and Princess Fiona, played by Hagen Hall and EmElise Knapp, respectively, make you think you're inside the animated film itself. The makeup and costume for Shrek, and the voice of Hagen Hall who nails the impression perfectly, and the way Hagen moves and gestures in a Shrek-like manner throughout this production, well…it's as if Shrek IS right there on stage. EmElise Knapp expertly performs Princess Fiona with all the quirky, determined, and excitable fervor that you expect from a female lead in this musical. After the show, when I spoke with Hagen Hall who was still in full costume and makeup, he couldn't break character throughout our conversation because, he said to me, "Being in this costume, and with this Shrek face, I seriously FEEL like I am Shrek. I can't stop." *tip of the hat to Amanda Fike, Makeup Design Tech.
Ben Knight stars as Shrek's faithful steed (err, umm…I mean, his faithful DONKEY) who haplessly falls in love with Dragon, played by Taylor Elsey. Ben owns this role from start to finish, voicing and acting the role in a way that pays proper homage to Eddie Murphy who of course voiced Donkey in the animated film. Hagen, EmElise, and Ben embark on their journey to find acceptance, and family, despite the challenges each face with their own set of unique personalities and challenges.
The fairytale characters are simply another strong collection of talented ALT Academy students who blew me away in their musical numbers. Each character, be it Sean Jones as Pinocchio (my favorite) or the "three wild and crazy pigs!" (Steve Martin and Dan Akroyd would be proud here) and big, bad wolf, among many, many more characters I can't name in one space here, are given such quality treatment in their song and dance routines that I wondered if there ever existed another group as individually strong and yet collectively cohesive in their performances as this group proved to be in this production. One of the early musical numbers, "Story of My Life," builds and builds with the fairytale characters to the point that you want to stand in ovation when it concludes. It's simply that good. And then much later in the show, the group gathers again to sing "Freak Flag" where Molly Martindale, who stars as both Gingy and as Sugar Plum Fairy, vocally soars through her solo portion of the song. It's jaw-dropping.
The ensemble of this production, which ranges from 4-to-18-years-old, combined with the cast of characters, makes this the largest Academy cast to date. We're talking 96 kids total! The ensemble roles act, sing, and dance their way in and out of virtually the entire production, drawing ooh's and ahh's from the audience along the way. The crew? Students, as well. That's right, this production could stand toe-to-toe with any grown-up theater in any of part of the country as far as I am concerned. Which leads me to the ALT Academy's leadership.
Jason Crespin directs the show, and once again he impresses. The vision for how this show is presented to us, the meticulous preparation of Jason and his staff and volunteers, and the casting of each character and ensemble member, it's not too much to say that Jason Crespin has once more proven that a ticket purchase for an ALT Academy production is money well spent. His production assistants, Ryan Sustaita and Drew Grimes, and assistant director Jorden Whetstone, obviously had a Shrek-sized hand in this production's success. And lastly, we have got to mention the hours and hours of hard work put in by Wendy Blankenship and Laurie Stockard, Costume Coordinators, as well as Gregg Dunlap, Tech Director/Lighting, and Tana Roberson, Set Design, and finally Jacob Kuker, Asst. Tech Director. Bravo to all of these members of the team who shaped and guided the Shrek: The Musical production.
Please make no mistake, this is not "just a kid's show." In the opening night performance, the largest laughs and loudest applause came from the grown-ups because of the witty script and the breathtaking song and dance numbers. The cast of characters sometimes had to pause before moving onto the next line or number because of the wild laughter and applause of the audience, and that's when you know you have a hit show on your hands. The standing ovation usually begins when the cast takes the stage for bows, but on opening night the audience was standing and clapping with raised hands as the last notes of the finale song were belted out.
If you are reading this before this production's run has concluded, do whatever it takes to get a ticket to the final performances. And if you're late to this review, there's always another ALT or ALT Academy production just around the corner. Buy a ticket and enjoy the ride. And LET YOUR FREAK FLAG FLY!
Pecos Shafer - Amarillo
Posted on Mon, October 21, 2013
by Jo Smith