Middle School Drama Club's Fills in the BOE on "Shrek the Musical"

Middle School Drama Club Fills in the BOE on “Shrek the Musical”

BALLSTON SPA – Members of the Ballston Spa Middle School drama club, Launching Pad Productions, attended Wednesday’s Ballston Spa Central School District Board of Education meeting to spread the word about their upcoming production of “Shrek the Musical.”

“Shrek the Musical” is the Tony award winning fairy tale adventure based on the Academy Award winning film from the DreamWorks Animation studio.

The musical brings the characters from the film to the stage to tell the story of unlikely hero Shrek the ogre on his quest to rescue the feisty Princess Fiona. Shrek is joined by the wisecracking Donkey on the journey through a fairy tale land filled with misfits.

The middle school production features a cast of 56 students and a crew of 70. “Shrek the Musical” is directed and produced by middle school teacher Joseph Shaver, choreographed by Ballston Spa alum Sarah Van Aernum and music is directed by Elizabeth Sears.

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On hand Wednesday to spread the word about the upcoming production were cast members Sarah Hojnicki playing Princess Fiona, Morgan Dreher playing Gingy, Taylyn Markham playing Donkey, Jared Wachtel playing Shrek and Damon Fernandes playing the Head Guard.

The five students shared their love for Launching Pad, saying that the stage is a “magical area” unlike any other, adding that the experience is more than a play production.

“It’s been like a big happy family for me, like a family away from my family at home. Everybody treats everybody else well. Everything is just really perfect, it’s kind of like something out of a movie,” Markham said.

The budding thespians shared their appreciation for their teacher and director, Shaver, who gives them words of wisdom that enable them to fully inhabit their characters on the stage without fear of embarrassment or judgment.

“I don’t know if we can say enough about Mr. Shaver for taking all of these kids under his wings and giving them the opportunity to step out of their own lives and be somebody else and see what that’s like. I wish all of you very well,” BSCSD Board of Education President Kevin Schaefer said.

“We’re going to make this year the best that it can ever be,” Hojnicki said.

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Performances of “Shrek the Musical” will be held on Feb. 2, 3, 9, and 10 at 7 p.m. with matinees on both Saturdays at 1 p.m. in the Ballston Spa High School auditorium.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Tickets can be purchased before each performance in the high school lobby. Children are encouraged to attend the performances dressed as their favorite fairy tale characters.

The Ballston Spa Rotary will be accepting non-perishable food and cash donations at all six shows for their Spread the Love Food Drive. All donations will be distributed to food pantries in Ballston Spa.

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Reporter Ashley Onyon is a graduate of the journalism program at SUNY Albany. She wrote for the Mohawk Valley Compass for two years covering the GASD Board of Education. She has contributed articles to The Mohawk Valley Independent and the annual journal Upstream.

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