While this week started with a call for the red, white and blue, this weekend is big on green as the Bakersfield Youth Fine Arts Academy presents "Shrek the Musical."
This workshop, a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County, is being directed by Jill Burdick and Frank Sierra. (Sierra is also working on the workshop's "Willy Wonka" morning session, which will hold performances later this month.)
Burdick said they were excited to bring the giant green ogre to the stage.
"Frank and I chose 'Shrek' because we love its message," she wrote in an email. "'Shrek' teaches us to love ourselves as we are, and reminds us that love and acceptance, of both ourselves and those around us, is the true path to happiness."
Burdick said the show is a collaboration, with her handling direction and vocals, Sierra on choreography along with help from Boys & Girls Clubs Executive Director Zane Smith and his staff.
"We consider ourselves very fortunate to be a part of such a compassionate and caring team."
Ranging in age from 5 to 17, 35 performers are part of the show. Some actors split duties for main roles such as unlikely hero Shrek (Cash Jones Webb and Logan Burdick) and the fiesty and lovely Princess Fiona (Sophia Wright, Kelly Burdick and Charlotte Smith).
Jesse Magdaleno plays loyal steed Donkey (Jesse Magdaleno), who sets out on a quest with Shrek to rescue the princess from her tower, guarded by a fire breathing love-sick dragon (Hailey Cross). Complicating the happy ending is the vertically challenged Lord Farquaad (Mac Medieros) along with a gang of fairytale misfits and others.
In addition to the laughs, the show's emphasis on inclusiveness was vital for the directors.
"Our favorite number is 'Freak Flag.' This number encompasses the message of the show in a fun and playful way. It is a celebration of all people (and fairy-tale characters) no matter who they are, what they look like or who they choose to be. We love it!"
The workshop's other teams are hard at work putting together two shows of "Willy Wonka," which will be performed July 13-14 and July 20-21, respectively.
"Mary Poppins Jr."
Director Kenneth Whitchard is excited to get the word out about his students' performance of "Mary Poppins Jr." This weekend's shows are the culmination of the afternoon session of the Bakersfield Music Theatre Summer Workshop, which has been meeting since mid-June. (The morning students performed last weekend.)
He wrote in an email, "I've truly had a blast serving as director for this production it has always been a dream of mine to direct a Stars School show and my dream came true.
The show follows the classic musical's tale, during which jack-of-all trades Bert (Riordan Banks) introduces the troubled Banks family, in 1910 England. Jane and Michael (Leilani Broida and Jacey Sanders) have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins (Riley Thompson) brings order to the house and their lives.
The production also stars Eren DeHart and Presley Gaeta as George and Winifred Banks. There are 55 performers, who range in age from 6 to 17, in the show. Dianne Kennedy, a teacher at Bethel Christian School, is the vocal director and Spotlight Dance Company owner Sharida Rejon-Rodriguez choreographed the show.