Onions have layers, Ogres have layers, “Shrek, The Musical” has layers

Choir students put on another impressive musical showing
Charlotte Boren
Westlake choir students strike a pose in their showing of “Shrek: The Musical” Thursday, Feb. 1.

For the past three years, I have attended the Westlake Choir musical. Every year I am blown away by the professional levels of acting, singing, stage design, music and all the other aspects of musical theater. Choir director Ed Snoufer manages an impressive and grandiose show that blows away the audience every time around and leaves a lasting effect on the audience. Their production of “The Addams Family” in 2022 wowed me with the performances by the cast and the creative set design. Last year I was taken aback by the grandeur scale of the dance scenes and the whimsical costumes of “Guys and Dolls.” This year, the choir put on “Shrek, The Musical,” and like the titular villain, Lord Farquaad, said, “everyone has standards, but mine is perfection;” Snouffer once again put on a nearly perfect show.

The show benefited greatly from the senior class’s performances. Senior Dan Kent played the musical’s namesake, Shrek, impeccably. Kent also played the lead character of the previous  show, “Guy and Dolls.” He was able to pull off the Shrek accent when speaking and when singing in his many scenes throughout the show. It is absolutely evident why Kent has been cast as the lead in the past two shows. Kent was able to not only steal the stage with his flawless singing, but he also created a layer of emotion and romance for a comedic character in a high school musical through his performance. 

Apart from Shrek, the most memorable moments came from the different side characters. Donkey, Shrek’s sidekick and the show’s main comedic relief was played by fan favorite senior  Presley Mathis. He came through with the humor and was even able to implement some burlesque aspects into his different song sequences. One of the highlights of the show was his song “You’ve got to make a move” with the three blind mice. Mathiswould occasionally do some additional blocking and movement throughout the play, trying to entertain the audience during different talking scenes, but occasionally it came off as more distracting than humorous.

The eponymous role of Lord Farquaad was given to senior Adam Wright. Although not in as many scenes as Shrek, Donkey, or Fiona, Wright was able to create the most memorable and lasting character through an electric performance. An extremely comedic role, Wright played it to a tee, rivaling John Lithgow’s performance in the actual “Shrek” movie. In one of Farquad’s song sequences, Wright mixed a powerful singing performance and Farquaad’s rage into an effective, dynamic, and commanding scene.

Senior Dan Kent, as Shrek, belts out a tune for the audience at the Westlake Choir’s musical Thursday, Feb. 1. (Charlotte Boren)


Along with Shrek, Donkey and Farquaad, the cast was filled with other noteworthy performances. Senior Olivia Smogour played Fiona perfectly and also had by far the best solo singing performances and an unforgettable dance sequence with a group of tap-dancing rats and the pied piper. Along with Fiona, senior Owen Studer, who played Pinocchio turned a relatively small character into one of the most indelible and important roles of the show through his show-stealing performance. The rest of the cast was incredible as well, especially the group of fairy tale characters who had some of the funniest and most entertaining scenes of the whole show. 

My only criticism of the show would be that of the set design. In “The Addams Family” and “Guys and Dolls,” the set design was impressive, utilizing large wielding sets with impeccable detail. You could tell the crew put a considerable amount of effort into it. Unfortunately, this did not continue through into this year’s show. The set was bare and colorless, with the most utilized tone being black. They used small rolling sets for most scenes that only took up a minuscule portion of the stage leaving the rest dismal. Instead of using traditional handmade backgrounds, they utilized AI-generated backdrops that did not match the actual sets at all and were somewhat distracting. They had an opportunity to match the scale of the sets from the previous shows, and with the fantasy environment of “Shrek,” they could have gotten creative but unfortunately, they fell short.

Once again, the choir put on a memorable show. Apart from the lackluster set design, every aspect of the show was amazing and there was so much to appreciate from the comedy to the costume design. Everyone involved is so talented, and it truly blows my mind that a high school is able to pull off this level of a show.

Senior Adam Wright acts as Lord Farquaad in the Westlake Choir’s musical Thursday, Feb. 1 (Charlotte Boren)
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