‘Shrek The Musical Jr.’ opens at Vilar Saturday | VailDaily.com

‘Shrek The Musical Jr.’ opens at Vilar Saturday

It really is a "big, bright, beautiful world," especially if you're Shrek.

Alec Mauro is Shrek in the Vail Performing Arts Academy's summer production of "Shrek The Musical Jr." It's also might be Mauro's swan song with the VPAA. He's headed to Interlochen Arts Academy in northern Michigan to study jazz saxophone.

It's not easy becoming green

Mauro is a great Shrek. He has been with VPAA for nine of its 20 years. If it's his last VPAA show, then it'll be memorable.

A mask was too hot under the lights, so they're doing some wonderful stuff with stage makeup.

Before rehearsals and this weekend's performances, Mauro has to be transformed from Alec to Shrek, which looks a little like a makeup-slinging NASCAR crew.

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"I'll have to get there two hours early to get ready," Mauro said.

Mauro wanted to be Shrek, and now he is.

"It's a character role. People might recognize me, but they might not. This is new for me," Mauro said. "It's also fun. There is a lot of comedic timing, and the character's relationship with the other characters constantly evolves."

Eliot Hutchinson is in his second year with VPAA, and this is his first time playing a bad guy. And yeah, Farquaad is bad, but he's also pretty funny.

"It's actually fun playing a bad guy, because he's also a really funny character," Hutchinson said.

Farquaad is short; Hutchinson is not, which is also pretty amusing. They use fake legs; his real legs are hidden under his cape.

This was the part he wanted, and he got it. He read for Farquaad a few times, and said the more he read it the more he liked it.

About Shrek

If you haven't seen "Shrek," then you've wasted part of your life. It's part romantic comedy and part fractured fairy tale.

"Shrek The Musical Jr.," is based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film. It's adapted for young performers, and the Vail Performing Arts Academy's production features 60 kids, ages 8 to 18.

The story goes like this: In a faraway kingdom, the green ogre Shrek finds his swamp invaded by banished fairytale misfits, runaways who've been cast out by Lord Farquaad, a tiny terror with big ambitions. When Shrek sets off with a wise-cracking donkey to confront Farquaad, he's given a deal — if he rescues the independent-minded Princess Fiona from the dragon-guarded tower, his swamp will be returned to him.

It's a fairy tale, with lots of twists and turns along the way.

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Annah Scully founded the Vail Performing Arts Academy 20 years ago.

She said she likes "Shrek The Musical Jr" as much as anything they've done.

"'Shrek' is exciting because it brimming with fresh young talent in our large cast of students," Scully said. "Production numbers are delightful, the set and costumes are a visual treat, and the humor is non-stop."

They've been in rehearsals since mid-July, which Scully says is not that long to put together a production this size. However, she said she's not worried.

"We do it and we do it awesomely because of the great VPAA staff," Scully said.

That staff includes: artistic director Colin Meiring, assistant choreographer Maria Barry, music directors Melinda Carlson and Cindy Allard, costume designers Vali Watts and LuLu McCay, set designers David Mayer and Deb Dutmer, student director Rachel Weiss and intern Kris Thornton.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vail daily.com.

If You Go …

What: “Shrek The Musical Jr.,” by the Vail Performing Arts Academy

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Academy

When: Saturday and Sunday. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $15

Information: Call 970-845-TIXS or go to http://www.vilapac.org. For information about Vail Performing Arts Academy visit http://www.vpaa.org.

The Cast

Alec Mauro, Shrek

Eliot Hutchinson, Farquaad

Aidan Woodworth, Donkey

Finn Dippy, Big Bad Wolf

Camille Chicoine, Fiona

Ty Michonski, Guard Capt

Elena Ortiz, Dragon