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Deerfield-Windsor students to present 'Shrek the Musical'

The musical fairy tale will be performed at the Albany Municipal Auditorium

From left, Deerfield-Windsor School students Marli Collier (Fiona), Taylor Richter (Shrek) and Lacey Coleman (Donkey) rehearse the “rescue scene” from “Shrek the Musical.” (Staff Photo: Jim West)

From left, Deerfield-Windsor School students Marli Collier (Fiona), Taylor Richter (Shrek) and Lacey Coleman (Donkey) rehearse the “rescue scene” from “Shrek the Musical.” (Staff Photo: Jim West)

ALBANY — For those who like good music wrapped up in a fairy tale featuring a big green ogre, your time has come at last. Deerfield-Windsor School has polished up “Shrek the Musical” and will be presenting it at the Albany Municipal Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Director Dianne Giddens said the musical is derived from the animated motion movie released by DreamWorks Pictures in 2001. The classic-but-offbeat fairy tale includes a captive princess, a would-be king, a green ogre, a fearsome dragon — and, of course, plenty of music and dancing.

According to Giddens, the 79 students comprising the cast and crew range in age from from the third grade to seniors.

Marli Collier, a Deerfield-Windsor senior, portrays Fiona, a beautiful princess who’s been locked in a tower since age seven, waiting for her “Prince Charming” to rescue her.

“I love Fiona’s spirit,” Collier said. “She’s so hopeful, just holding on day after day, just waiting for tomorrow. We both have red hair. I think there was some typecasting there.”

Farquaad, the mandatory villain, suffers from “short-man syndrome” and is played by sophomore Hadden Kelley. It’s something of an “uncomfortable” role for Kelley.

“I do the whole thing on my knees,” Kelly said, “with a cape that covers my legs. I can sing or I can walk on my knees, but doing both at the same time while staying with my part is tough. It’s fun, though.”

The title role of Shrek goes to sophomore Taylor Richter, who will don a “mostly latex” green ogre suit while still belting out some major tunes.

“I like to sing a lot,” Richter said, “and Shrek had some really good songs.”

Along with the ogre suit, memorizing his lines and singing, Richter was imposed upon to master a Scottish accent. His method was to emulate Brian d’Arcy James, who portrays the pleasant brute in the Broadway musical.

“I listen to him over and over. I still don’t have it 100 percent, but I’m doing pretty good,” Richter said.

The dreaded dragon is created “from the word go,” by art student senior Emily McPeters, Giddens said.

“She came to me and said, ‘I want to do the dragon,’ and I told her it was hers,” Giddens said. “She’s designed the whole thing with paper mache and chicken wire.”

While the design is all McPeters’, painting the creature became a project open to almost all comers, Giddens said.

“A lot of parents have been involved with (the painting),” Giddens said, “and even some little brothers and sisters who haven’t started school yet were painting some of the scales that go on the dragon.”

“Shrek the Musical” will be Giddens’ “last hurrah,” she said, at least as director of Deerfield-Windsor productions. She’s retiring in favor of her daughter, Lindsey Stewart.

“I’ll probably be just as involved, I just won’t be in charge,” Giddens said. “I’ve done 10 shows over 10 years as director and before that I did all kinds of things. It’s time to step back and let someone else do it.”

Reserved seating tickets for Shrek the Musical are $15 each, Giddens said, and are available at the upper campus of Deerfield-Windsor School, 2500 Nottingham Way, or at the Municipal Auditorium box office one hour before each show.