I will have to add my voice to all the others that have been singing the praises of the Blue Earth Town and Country Players production of "Shrek, the Musical."
It was pretty dang good. Even better than good. It was great. A fun time both for adults and for kids.
If you saw the show during one of its four performances during Giant Days, then you know what I am talking about.
If you didn't catch it, then, well, let's just say it was your loss.
The musical production was incredible in many ways. Here are a few.
First, it is hard to go wrong when your four main actors are as good as these were. Brad Bodeker (Shrek), Morgan Dickman (Princess Fiona), Peter Steinke (Donkey) and Kurt Steinke (Lord Farquaad) were phenomenal.
They seemed to be professional theater quality not just local community theater actors.
Their acting, their voices, their singing it was as though they were channeling the characters right from the movies.
Then secondly, those four were not the only good singers in the cast.
This production was blessed with almost an overabundance of talent.
Can you believe the powerful voice of Shelly Greimann could be used just for the Dragon? That was a great bit of fortune.
Actors in small parts excelled as well. In the opening scenes there were the voices of Peter Koenig (Papa Ogre) and Jane Bell (Mama Ogre), Lennie Clement (King Harold) and Becky Keebaugh (Queen Lillian) doing a great job.
The song with the three Fionas was excellent as well. What a great job from these three girls (Morgan, Tea Armstrong and Cynthia Johnson.)
Even the minor roles were pretty darn good. Just to spotlight one of them, Brice Hanson was annoyingly terrific as the screechy-voiced Pinocchio. How could he sing with that voice?
A third component of the show were the costumes. They were great.
And unlike the production of "Beauty and the Beast" when the Town and Country Players were able to rent many of the costumes, there were none available this time. This show hasn't even been performed anywhere else in Minnesota.
So, there was a large group of people who dedicated a lot of time and effort into costume design and construction.
They divvied up the chores and got all of them made just in the nick of time.
And they did a super job.
Of course, the biggest challenge was the dragon. If you saw the show, you know just how impressive it was. It took a team of varied-skilled people to construct the thing and to make it work.
The T&C Players had a little assistance from a community theater group in Texas who told how they had built a similar one.
The masks for Shrek took a little change in plans as the play progressed from rehearsal to dress rehearsal to production.
It went from the full head mask on dress rehearsal night to just a partial mask later on. Brad Bodeker's face had originally been completely covered with the mask, but it was discovered he needed more ability for facial expression.
So, in the actual performances his face was made up separately from the mask itself. That seemed to work better.
My fourth point of why the show was incredible is the orchestra.
How many small towns the size of Blue Earth can boast being able to come up with an orchestra at all, not to mention one that is as talented as this one was?
It helped make the show as wonderful as it was. They did an absolutely amazing job.
Kudos to every single person involved in this production from the actors to the designers, from the orchestra to the stage crew.
And, an extra special tip of the hat to director Nancy Steinke and musical director Mike Ellingsen.
Putting on something like this is one heckuva lot of hard work. It takes hours of rehearsal, set and costume construction, promotion and taking care of a hundred details.
It takes a lot of sweat by a lot of people.
But when it turns out as well as this production of "Shrek, the Musical" did, then it is well worth it. When it is this entertaining, then you must have done something right.
Thanks for doing it.