Youth actors, stage crew prepare for upcoming performances of ‘Shrek the Musical Jr.’

WASHOUGAL — Although performances of Journey Theater Arts Group’s “Shrek the Musical Jr.” won’t start until the weekend of Feb. 24, Kristi Foster, executive artistic director for Journey Theater Arts Group, said those involved starting meeting as a production staff back in December — discussing the materials they had on hand, exchanging photos from when the show was produced in the summer of 2014 and creating a plan of collaboration for after the show was cast.

“Hair and Makeup is just one committee that participates in the show process,” Foster said of the production process. “The committee has a chairperson (Heidi Blackwelder this time) and then they have additional helpers. Prior to auditions, the director of the show creates the vision for the hair and makeup design using tools like Google Search to find images and/or utilizing photos CDs from previous productions we have done to create their charts and to document their design ideas.”

Journey Theater Arts Group will start performances of ‘Shrek the Musical Jr.’ the weekend of Feb. 24
Jeremy Bode, who will play Shrek in Journey Theater Art Group’s production of “Shrek the Musical Jr.,” gets to run through a trial of his stage makeup with makeup chairperson Heidi Blackwelder. Photo by Mike Schultz

From there, once the committee chair is selected, Foster said the committee receives the documents from the director and the makeup process begins, first by meeting with the Hair and Makeup manager to get any specialty makeup supplies they have in stock and then purchase remaining needed items.

The evening of Wed., Jan. 25, some of the cast members of “Shrek the Musical Jr.” participated in a makeup and costume trial run, going through the complete makeup process for the first time for this production.

Foster said Journey produces three to four shows every 10 weeks, and each show follows a similar makeup and costume process. She said every show also has unique costume and hair and makeup needs that will be addressed throughout the process.

“Not every show has a character in, essentially, full-body makeup that’s as extensive as the character needs for Shrek,” Foster said. “Other ‘green’ characters in shows we regularly produce are The Wicked Witch from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and The Grinch in ‘Seussical the Musical.’ Many of our shows, while not requiring full coverage makeup, do require fairly extensive and elaborate makeup application. However, it is expected that every student will be responsible for learning how to apply their own makeup based on the designs and training they receive. Unique circumstances, where an airbrush compressor is used like in Shrek for instance, allow for parent committee members to aid in the process.”

Journey Theater Arts Group will start performances of ‘Shrek the Musical Jr.’ the weekend of Feb. 24
Alex Havens, who will play Lord Farquaad in the Journey Theater Arts Group’s production of “Shrek the Musical Jr.,” gets into character Wednesday evening. Photo by Mike Schultz

“Shrek the Musical Jr.” has 70 kids in the cast and another eight to 10 on the crew, all ranging in age between 8 to 18 years old. Casting was done for the production during the first week of January, and parents are placed as volunteers in the show their student auditions for in order to make up the different committees such as the Hair and Makeup committee, the Costume Committee and others.

Foster said rehearsals for the “Shrek the Musical Jr.” show are Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, and she said they aim for a total of 44 to 48 hours of rehearsal before moving into the theater. They then have another 15 to 20 hours during Dress Rehearsal Week just prior to opening the show.

Annalise Southwood is the director for “Shrek the Musical Jr.,” Micah McIlvain is the music director and Grace Thompson is the choreographer. The production is based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film and  Broadway musical “Shrek.” It’s a “big bright beautiful world” as everyone’s favorite ogre, Shrek, leads a cast of fairytale misfits on an adventure to rescue a princess and find true acceptance.  Part romance and part twisted fairy tale, Shrek Jr. is an irreverently fun show with a powerful message for the whole family.

Journey Theater Arts Group will start performances of ‘Shrek the Musical Jr.’ the weekend of Feb. 24
Hannah Reuther (Princess Fiona) and Sydney Tag (Donkey) take a stab at doing their makeup for the characters they will be playing in Journey Theater Art Group’s production of “Shrek the Musical Jr.” Photo by Mike Schultz

Once upon a time, in a far away swamp, there lived an ogre named Shrek. One day, Shrek finds his swamp invaded by banished fairytale misfits who have been cast off by Lord Farquaad, a tiny terror with big ambitions. When Shrek sets off with a wisecracking donkey to confront Farquaad, he’s handed a task — if he rescues feisty princess Fiona, his swamp will be righted. Shrek tries to win Fiona’s love and vanquish Lord Farquaad, but a fairytale wouldn’t be complete without a few twists and turns along the way.

Foster has been with the Journey Theater Arts Group since it first began in 2002. She music directed and co-choreographed the organization’s first production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” at the Columbia Arts Center, now owned by New Heights Church in downtown Vancouver. Foster was a continuous teacher, director, music director and/or choreographer for the company until she became executive artistic director in March of 2011. She continues as a teacher a few times each year, and also continues as a director/choreographer for several of the productions during the theater season.

“I am so blessed to have the vantage point that I do,” Foster said. “I get to work directly with students, seeing them blossom and transform into who God created them to be as they mature in age and talent. At the same time, I get to work directly with our parents volunteers and take great delight in seeing them step into unfamiliar territory, test out their new skills and gain confidence while serving their student in the passions of their heart. In addition to all that, I’m privileged to work alongside and mentor my year-round staff of 15, as well as my seasonal staff of 40-45 teachers each session, as we steward the company and shepherd the families towards Christ through theater arts education. It’s the joy of my life.”

Journey Theater Arts Group will start performances of ‘Shrek the Musical Jr.’ the weekend of Feb. 24
After applying lots of makeup and using an airbrush compressor for that nice green glow, Jeremy Bode is transformed into his character, Shrek, for the Journey Theater Arts Group’s production of “Shrek the Musical Jr.” Photo by Mike Schultz

Performances of “Shrek the Musical Jr.” will be during the weekends Feb. 24-March 5, at the Washburn Performing Arts Center at Washougal High School, 1201 39th St., Washougal. Public performances will be Fri.-Sat., Feb. 24-25, 7 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 26, 2 p.m.; Fri., March 3, 7 p.m.; Sat., March 4, 2 p.m.; and Sun., March 5, 2 p.m. School-day performances will be Wed., March 1, at 9:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.

Tickets are on sale now at www.journeytheater.org or by calling (360) 750-8550. Presale adult tickets are $14, and youth and senior tickets are $10. Tickets for groups of 10 or more are $9 each. The “Family Day” performance is Sat., Feb. 25, at 7 p.m., and all tickets for that performance are $10 each in advance. Tickets for all performances will be $4 more at the door.

School-day pre-performance prices are $6 for groups of 10 to 99, and $5 with one free ticket for every 15 purchased for groups of 100 or more. School-day tickets are $8 at the door.

About Journey Theater Arts Group

Journey is the “most dynamic theater arts community in the Portland/Vancouver area,” offering dozens of classes in drama, dance, voice and more, as well as producing 12 shows in four locations during the school year and a professional-level community theater musical each summer. Journey strives for excellence, while providing a welcoming and encouraging environment where kids ages 6 to 18 and their families can build life-long skills and friendships. Journey is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization, with offices located at 1400 NE 136th

Ave., Suite 201, in Vancouver. Contact Journey Theater at (360) 750.8550 or www.journeytheater.org.

 

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About The Author

Joanna Nicole Yorke is a 2010 graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in political science. Yorke is a Clark County native, growing up on her family's 12-acre farm in La Center where her family still resides today. She was previously a reporter at The Reflector Newspaper, covering the city of Battle Ground, the Battle Ground School District and a variety of other areas and topics.

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