Dingbat Theater Project has announced the casting and production team for its upcoming production of Shrek the Musical with a book and lyrics by David Lindsay Abaire author of Rabbit Hole and music by Jeanine Tesori composer of Fun Home and Caroline, or Change. The musical is based on the DreamWorks animated film Shrek, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The film is in turn based on the children’s book by Guillaume Steig.
The musical is reinvented by the Dingbat Theater Project with an eight-person cast, all-new stage and costume designs, and a new staging reminiscent of Brechtian and Theater of the Absurd storytelling techniques. Shrek will be directed by Luke Manual McFatrich and choreographed by Brian F. Finnerty, who are also in the cast. Michelle Kasanofsky is the musical director and conductor for the performances. Matt Neier is the lighting designer, and David walker is the costume designer.
Production will begin on May 7, 2021 and will perform outside in the courtyard of The Bazaar on Apricot and Lime at 821 Apricot Avenue in Sarasota until May 15, 2021. Food will be available prior to performances by the Hamlet’s Eatery food truck located in the court. Tickets are available on www.dingbattheatre.org. There is an ongoing gofundme campaign to subsidize production costs to https://gofund.me/d1dd5fc7.
The cast is filled with community favorites led by Cory woomert like Shrek and Alyssa Goudy like Princess Fiona. Donkey is played by Derric Gobourne Jr., formerly of the Westcoast Black Theater Troupe, and vertically challenged Lord Farquaad will be played by Brian F. Finnerty who also serves as choreographer for the production. To complete the cast, Amanda Heisey as Pinocchio, Noelia Altamirano as Mama Bear, Jamie Molina as Gingy and Luke Manual McFatrich as Dragon. All of the cast members play various other roles in the production like a variety of fairytale creatures, Duloc dancers, knights, and more. Michelle Kasanofsky as Fairy Godmother and Judah Woomert as Farquaad’s guard and guitarist will make special appearances.
Shrek the Musical tells the story of an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a sarcastic donkey and a fiery princess who resists his rescue. Add in an angry villain, a cookie with an attitude, and over a dozen other fairytale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a true hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand … and it’s called Shrek.
This is the Dingbat Theater Project’s second on-stage undertaking, following Brian and Luke’s December 2020 sold-out series Amazing Terrific Jaw-Dropping Fantastical Specatular Tremendous Live Holiday Jamboree, designed and performed by Brian F. Finnerty, Luke Manual McFatrich and Michelle Kasanofsky.
McFatrich is on staff at the Venice Theater where he is an instructor, development staff member and director of teen improv programming. He was the founder of The Basket Cases Theater Company in Starkville, Mississippi, where he wrote, co-wrote or directed original productions of The Elves and the Shoemaker, The True Adventures of the Ugly Duckling and Frost. He was also the solo performer in a production of The Call of the Wild, which he adapted from the Jack London novel. While in the Sarasota area, he appeared on stage in Head Over Heels and Hello, Dolly! at The Players Center and Peter and the Starcatcher and Born Yesterday at the Venice Theater, among others.
“We approach Shrek as if it had never been played before. The choice to have only eight artists is necessary due to the pandemic, but it has opened the doors for us to tell this story in a more meaningful way.” , says McFatrich. “Rather than the typical pageantry exercise, this approach makes Shrek the Musical a human story about overcoming the way society perceives the unusual, celebrating yourself and others for who you and they are. , to deal with loneliness and find a family where you least expect it. And the farts jokes, there are also the farts jokes, so it’s fun. This show is a great opportunity for the Sarasota audience to see something completely new, unexpected and exciting with an incredibly multi-talented cast playing dozens of roles. It’s really special and fun for the whole family. “
Finnerty is the Social Media Manager and Studio Instructor at The Players Studio and The Players Center for Performing Arts, where he has directed and choreographed the critically acclaimed productions of SHOUT! The Musical Mod, Hello Dolly! (co-chaired by Amanda Heisey) and Regional Premier of Head Over Heels. Also a prolific artist in the area, he has appeared on Random Acts produced Reefer Madness at The Starlite Room, Bubbling Brown Sugar at Westcoast Black Theater Troupe, Singin ‘in the Rain at Players Center, and 42nd Street and The Rocky Horror Show at Venice Theater. Original works include Vaudeville’s Dead and Christmas Belles of ’45: An offensive radio play with Plump Sister Productions.
âShrek the Musical focuses on relatable human experiences of prejudice, of battling insecurities and depression, to finally embracing one’s true self and the search for love and acceptance. And of course, the comedy. The musical delivers the witty sarcastic nerve depicted in the Dreamworks movie. The story is strong, it doesn’t need cartoonish costumes and a cast of over 30 actors to convey what’s important. a different appreciation that comes from watching such a well-known fairy tale parody in a way that truly reflects our realities, “says Finnerty. âThrough this process, brilliantly dreamed up by Luke, I discovered that it’s even more satisfying to capture Shrek’s hilarious story with a cast of 8 versatile performers, swapping costume pieces, accents, intentions and physical aspects. It gets everyone involved (actors, production crew and audience) to once again embrace the imagination and creativity behind the âpretendâ we did as kids. A diver is a sword, a scooter is a horse, sock puppets are a villain’s entourage. It’s so much fun. It’s cool and something this area has never seen before. “
The production of Shrek the Musical by Dingbat Theater Project is made possible through collaboration with The Players Center for Performing Arts, The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime and Hamlet’s Eatery.
– All performances are outdoors in the courtyard of the Bazaar on Apricot Lime.
– Non-contact temperature checks will be carried out for all members of the public before admission to the courtyard.
– Masks must be worn over the nose and mouth at all times, unless actively eating or drinking while seated in their designated section. This includes clients who have been vaccinated.
– Social distancing between parties is required and enforced.
– Before each performance, all seats will be disinfected.