Stars: “We will be giving people what they expect visually, songs like I’m a Believer and a whole swag of new music,” Daniel Stoddart said. “We also get to know a little bit more about the characters than we do in the movie.”THE Newcastle production of Dreamworks’ Shrek The Musical Jrwill offer Hunter audiences the chance tosee the next generation of Broadway stars, according to Hunter Drama artistic directorDanielStoddart.
The cast of the 70 minute production,based on the Oscar-winning animated film,are all 18 and under and featuresTom Rodgers as Shrek, Charlie O’Connell as Donkey, Rory Pollock as Lord Farquaad and Maisie Owens and Phoebe Bayliss as Princess Fiona.
“The anticipation is huge and the competition has been fierce,” Mr Stoddart said.
“But their ideas and their willingness to learn has been outstanding and really inspiring.”
Lead role: Rory Pollock as Lord Farquaad.
Rehearsals will start in the second week of July ahead of the three-day run from September 29 at The Civic Theatre.
The show follows Hunter Drama’s first large-scale production, the2014 box office hit Disney’s Little Mermaid Jr, which also earned it a Most Outstanding Production award at the USA Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta.
“The actress who played Ariel Bonnie McPeak arrived in New York on Thursday and started rehearsals on Friday for A Chorus Line,” he said.
“So you literally will be seeing people who will be performing on Broadway one day.
“It’s a real industry pathway for kids who are prepared to work really, really hard at it.”
Mr Stoddart said the company was keen following the success of The Little Mermaid to take on another project ofa similar commercial scale and was considering Aladdin.
It spoke with MusicTheatre InternationalAustralasia managing directorStuart Hendricks, who put the companyin touch with Dreamworks.
“We wanted something that had as broad as appeal but that was a little more gender-friendly,” he said.
“We will be giving people what they expect visually, songs like I’m a Believer and a whole swag of new music.
“We also get to know a little bit more about the characters than we do in the movie.
“It’s very funny and not just a kids show –the parents will get a real kick out of it too.”
Mr Stoddart said the companywas itching to return to the stage.
“It’s been like putting on an old pair of shoes that you really love and you’ve just been waiting for the right outfit or occasion to put them back on again,” he said.
“It’s been really exciting and really exhilarating.”
Tickets for the six performances start from $40 and are available from Ticketek.