Ogres, a king and more

In the animated movie, the ogre Shrek strove to find his “happily ever after.” On Saturday, his adventure will be relived as the Hawaii Children’s Theatre brings the green giant and his group of misfits to Kauai in “Shrek The Musical.”

“I think it’s going to be a good show and the people of Kauai will be excited to see it,” said Debra Blachowiak, the show’s producer. “We look for shows that are a family affair and have a cast that can include children, and that’s how we chose Shrek.”

Since June, the actors, cast, crew, producer and director have been creating the sets, props, makeup and costumes for the play. 

The production runs for two weekends, today through Sunday and again Nov. 21 to the 23, at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue. Performances begin at 7 p.m. on Fridays, 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturdays and 4 p.m. on Sundays. 

“The message of Shrek is one of acceptance, of love and ohana,” said Marly Madayag, director of the play. “There are so many differences in our society right now and there aren’t any easy answers to these differences. The answer that Shrek brings us is that we have to respect people regardless of their differences.”

“Shrek the Musical” will be Madayag’s third production with HCT. She has been with the theater for five years and directed the plays “Peter Pan” and “The Sound of Music.” Many seasoned actors in the play have been with the Hawaii Children’s Theater for years and believe in the production’s message, including the play’s leading lady herself, Princess Fiona, played by Jennifer Downs. 

“That dreams come true” — that’s the message she wants the production to convey, Downs said. “Everyone, regardless of who they are and what they like to do, everyone is special and everyone has a place to accept people for who they are.”

Downs has been acting since she was 4 years old. “Shrek” will be her first fall musical, and the actress looks forward to playing the tough princess.

“I think she’s the best princess to play since she’s quirky and dorky,” Downs said of her character Princess Fiona. “She wants to be the ideal princess but she’s a real girl with all her quirks.”

Characters from the movie version will be in the musical, including the Gingerbread Man, known as “Gingy,” the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. The production will also feature a few new characters not originally seen in the film, such as The Mad Hatter, The Tooth Fairy and Humpty Dumpty. 

In addition to the acting, there are many other important elements that have gone into the production, Madayag said. 

“This type of musical will put up a fight,” Madayag said. “The acting and the singing are easy compared to the technical aspects of the show, like the staging, special effects and building the set.”

Although the process of putting the production together has taken a long time, the cast and crew look forward to giving audience members a fantastic show. 

“A lot of people never get the chance to see live theater and that experience is so very different from watching TV or films; the intimacy with the cast and the story is greater,” Blachowiak said. “Our goal is to bring high-quality live theater to the island of Kauai and it provides an outlet for the many talented people that live on the island.” 

Tickets for the event are $10 from the cast, $12 from outlets, $15 at the door for general admission or $12 for students and seniors, and $12 online. They may be purchased at Kalaheo Cafe, Progressive Expressions, Times Supermarket, Papaya’s, Kong Lung and Harvest Market. Children three and under are free. For more information, call 246-8985 or visit www.HawaiiChildrensTheatre.com.

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