Dolphin Show hopes to attract wider audience with ‘Shrek’


Source: LvR/Paparazzi By Appointment

Perry Sook performs as Shrek during “Shrek the Musical’s” 2013 tour. The Dolphin Show will bring the musical to Northwestern’s Cahn Auditorium early next year.

Jeanne Kuang, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern’s largest theater group hopes to garner broad appeal among audience members of all ages with this year’s production, “Shrek the Musical.”

“We wanted to do something magical, something that could have a huge audience, something that could appeal to little kids and grandmas,” said Dolphin Show director Marlee Rich, a Communication senior.

The musical, which was announced last week as this year’s Dolphin Show selection, is based on the 2001 film of the same name. It was written by David Lindsay-Abaire with music by Jeanine Tesori.

(72nd Dolphin Show to feature ‘Shrek The Musical’)

The Dolphin Show, now in its 72nd year of production, is the largest student-run theater production in the country. Show spokeswoman Maddie Ambrose said one reason “Shrek the Musical” was chosen is the story’s popularity among many different age groups.

“It’s a story that everyone in college grew up with but also a story that children and families will want to see,” the Communication sophomore said

She said the comedic fairy tale musical is an opportunity for the Dolphin Show to put on a show that will interest people from outside “the normal theater-going community,” particularly children.

“Maybe this will be their first production,” she said.

Ambrose noted that the musical is contemporary, a change from the productions of the past several years.

(Northwestern’s Dolphin Show is the transformative ‘My Fair Lady’)

Artistic producer Brandon Johnston said he and business producer Rachel Marchant, both Communication seniors, are interested in newer work.

“It’s really exciting to not have anything that is a precedent before us,” Johnston said. “We get to really have our own vision and not be influenced by past productions of it.”

Rich and the producers said the selection will allow them to attract diverse forms of talent from the student body.

“There’s so many talented students at this school and I wanted to make sure that the show we decided to do could showcase many of them that maybe don’t always get to be showcased,” Rich said. “There’s a big ensemble and each ensemble member has their own character and will have some part featured, whether it’s a line or a small scene.”

Johnston said “Shrek the Musical” also “offers a lot of exciting opportunities for designers” with both challenges and artistic freedom.

“Our goal is to make it really accessible and open to everyone,” Marchant said, “not just to people who love theater, but to everyone who loves ‘Shrek.’”

Now that the show has been announced, Rich said the next steps in the production are meeting with designers, analyzing the script, planning rehearsal schedules and holding auditions, which will take place Oct. 4 to 6.

The producers said they look forward to a wide variety of audience members as well as the sense of community generated by working with a large group of people.

“‘Shrek’ has an amazing story and amazing messages,” Rich said. “It’s a fun show.”

The show will run Jan. 24 to Feb. 1 in Cahn Auditorium.

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Twitter: @jeannekuang