“Shrek The Musical” - I’m a Believer!

A Review by Co-Editor & Lead Cappies Critic, Helen Sweeney ‘19

March 8, 2019 

The Cappies is a writing and awards program that trains high school students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders. Student critics vie to be published in local media outlets by attending productions at other schools and writing critical reviews.


Many of us cherish the Dreamworks Animation movie “Shrek” in our hearts with specific elements that are particularly heartwarming and nostalgic -- Eddie Murphy’s voice of Donkey, the breakout song, “I’m a Believer,” by the Monkees, and the whole “onions have layers, ogres have layers” bit. Then 11 years ago, the film was turned into a musical and debuted on Broadway, filling an already high-energy plot with song and dance.


The Upper School Stage One Players chose “Shrek: The Musical” as their spring production and opened on March 5, 2019. Performing this show is certainly not an easy task; the fairytale creatures require elaborate costumes and makeup and the run-time is more than two hours which can be exhausting for the cast and crew. This didn’t scare Stage One.


The technical aspects of a production can often go unnoticed when so many other things are happening; this production of “Shrek: The Musical,” however, went above and beyond with the mics, lighting, set, costumes, and makeup. Every actor with a speaking part was clearly heard, allowing the audience to be present in every moment of the performance. The colorful lighting beautifully added to the magical aesthetic of the production. Likewise, the set was expertly designed and built -- not overpowering the scenes but perfectly complementing them. Perhaps the most intimidating element to this production is the need for eccentric and elaborate costumes and makeup. Stage One took this challenge in stride. The costumes and makeup transported the audience to a magical land where ogres and talking donkeys exist.


Shrek and Donkey, played by Campbell Weiss ‘19 and Aron Sobers ‘19, both had so much energy that it translated to the entire cast. The chemistry between these two leads was undeniable as they easily persuaded the audience they had a love-hate friendship. The accents of both Shrek and Donkey created a sense of fond nostalgia in the theatre, as many in the audience recalled their first experience watching the movie.


Every actor on stage danced, sang, and moved with purpose and passion leaving the audience laughing until their stomachs hurt, smiling until their cheeks were sore, and jumping up for a standing ovation on opening night. Congratulations on yet another amazing and magical production, Stage One!