West Ashley High School’s The Drama Studio will present Shrek — The Musical on May 21, 22, 23, at 7 p.m. in the school’s auditorium. Based on the 2001 animated film that grossed more than any other of its kind, in the capable hands of veteran directors Ellyn Winkles and Nancy Shurlds, the musical version is not a disappointment.
“The musical contains a goofy, genuine charm,” says Winkles. Shrek, played by the WAHS football team’s star linebacker Bobby Ruff, finds his true love in the form of Ogress Fiona, played by Claire Winkles, Cara Heissenbuttle, Amanda Moody, and Mackenzie Runyon. The Broadway musical version was the most expensive to run on Broadway in recent years. According to directors Winkles and Shurlds, adapting it to a high school stage with a limited budget was not without its challenges.
A dragon has to join a chase on stage, and Lord Farquaad, played by Buster Griffin, the center for the WAHS football team, must lose his height and become a “hafling” in the role.
WAHS sculpture teacher Daniel O’Brien, led his students to create the massive dragon that moves its head and eyes and represents the voice of Imani Herring as she belts out “Freak Flag” and other numbers in the show.
The challenge of Lord Farquaad remained a problem until Renae Coles, school bookkeeper, and WAHS principal Mary Runyon shared their talent by making the costume. With fake legs, the nearly 6-foot Griffin looks as though he is 3-foot-tall. Shrek is joined by a talking donkey, played by Drama Studio veteran Elisha Black, who jokes and quips his way through Shrek’s journey to save the princess.
The screen version and the musical share the same plot — to clear his swamp from squatting, displaced fairy creatures, the ogre Shrek must rescue the dragon-guarded Princess Fiona and deliver her to Lord Farquaad. The stage version of Shrek presents all that audiences liked about the movie, including the irreverent humor that spices up the plot. A green ogre with a bad attitude, a sassy donkey, a vertically-challenged would-be prince and a beautiful princess create an odd fairy tale.
Shrek was a hit on the screen, best musical of the year on Broadway, and the WAHS production is certain to delight and leave families believing all “ogre” again in this production by The Drama Studio.
WAHS The Drama Studio will present Shrek — The Musical May 21, 22, 23, at 7 p.m. in the school’s auditorium. All tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door or by contacting the school at 573-1201, ext. 5213. The auditorium opens at 6:30.

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