'Shrek the Musical' by Curtain Call Kids

Nancy Sasso Janis

‘Shrek the Musical’ is a fun, colorful show that some find annoying but I have always enjoyed for its humor. Curtain Call Kids will present the musical in its entirety at the Nancy Marine Studio Theatre in Torrington this weekend. The Friday, Aug. 28th show is already sold old, but the two shows on Saturday, Aug. 29th at 2:00pm and 6:00pm have some tickets available. 

 The cast is made up of 62 young actors that range in age from 6 to 17 and are residents of Bantam, Middlebury, Morris, Oakville, Oxford, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, and Woodbury. Curtain Call Kids is a respected children’s community theater troupe that serves western Connecticut and offers its programs through Middlebury Parks and Recreation.

 ‘Shrek the Musical’ tells the first story of everyone’s favorite ogre as he embarks on a life-changing adventure. He meets up with that sassy donkey and the unlikely hero and his “noble steed” fight a fearsome dragon, rescue a feisty princess, and learn that friendship and love aren’t only found in fairy tales.

 The self-described “hefty” green one is played to perfection by Jacob Rogotzke of Southbury. This talented young man is a fine singing actor that was last seen in Naugatuck Teen Theatre’s ‘Forum’ and the Pomperaug HS production of ‘Little Women.’ Shrek is a role that Mr. Rogotzke was born to play. 

 The chatty Donkey is played by the inimitable Kennedy Morris of Morris. This 7th grade student appears in her forty-fourth production and that is not a typo. Ms. Morris is an amazing singer who has already won vocal competitions at her young age, so her take on Donkey blows us away with “Don’t Let Me Go” and “Make a Move,” all while looking adorable in her superb furry gray costume.

 The oldest Princess Fiona is played by Veronica Johnson of Thomaston. The sophomore at Chase Collegiate sang well and brought out the comedy of the feisty princess with a secret. 
Christopher Pilitowski of Oakville plays the small Lord Farquaad and sang well despite being on his knees throughout. The lovesick Dragon is played by Lilly Waterman of Southbury, another strong singer. Brendon Vejseli was memorable as the Big Bad Wolf in drag. 

 The large chorus transforms into a vibrant collection of fairy tale characters and fill the small stage with colors and cuteness. I had fun trying to figure out which beloved characters are represented. The tapping rats are many and in unison while dancing the choreography by Sheila Waters Fucci. The large group is lovingly directed by Richard McKenna and their behind the scenes producer is his mother Deb McKenna. The always amazing  music director T.J. Thompson keeps up with the score on the onstage keyboard. The lovely set was designed by Bill McKenna, Timothy McCaffrey, and Lukos Connor. 

 Some standouts among the remaining cast members that include many sets of siblings are Fiona Connolly as Gingy’s puppeteer;Timothy Healey, Robbie Altamirano, Gabriel Pietrorazio and Nicholas Pietrorazio as the dancing knights; Julia Lind as the Wicked Witch; Claire Niesobecki as Pinocchio; Christopher McCaffrey as Papa Bear; and Lily Thompson as Sugar Plum Fairy.
Molly Connor, Adriana Rinaldi and Claire Roberts danced as the Three Blind Mice and Ms. Roberts and Felicity Galarneau rounded out the trio of Princess Fionas in “I Know It’s Today.”
Look for two of the smallest members of the cast, Darby O’Connell and Ray O’Connell, as Gretel and Hansel respectively.

The performances will be held in the 220-seat, state-of-the-art Nancy Marine Studio Theatre at 82 Main St., next to the Warner Theatre. All tickets are general admission and $12.50 each. Reservations are strongly recommended. To reserve tickets that will be held at the door for cash only, e-mail CurtainCallKidsCT@gmail.com  . 

 Pictured: The cast of 'Shrek',Photo by Nancy Sasso Janis