Get Out My Swamp

After almost a year and a half of online classes and missing out on live school events, the Poly High School Theatre Arts Department has finally released the title for this year’s musical, Shrek the Musical.

Head of overlooking the musical is Linda Bon, the drama teacher of the PARTS program. When asked why she decided on Shrek as this school year’s musical, Bon said that she had experience directing a junior version of Shrek and had lots of fun doing it. She also stated that she loved the original Dreamworks movie.

“For a show, it’s delightful because there’s so many different characters,” said Bon. “There’s the fairytale characters, all the duloc, guards, and of course Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey. It just seemed like it was the right time to do this particular musical because frankly, we just need some cheering up as a school. It’s fun, funny, and has a positive message of inclusion and accepting yourself.”

Bon also gave information on who else plays a big role in creating the elements of a school musical. She said that one of her secret weapons in directing a musical is Victoria Gathe, the Poly Stage Technician and teacher of stage crew. “She is an amazing talent. She’s already presented me with designs and sketches. It’s going to look beautiful.”

Along with Gathe, other people who help create everything would be Brian Dokko and Cynthia Negrete.

Dokko is Poly’s choir teacher, and he’s in charge of bringing in the music and finding the right voices to play each character. Dokko shared various examples of how the thought process of working in a musical goes. “We try to figure out what students we have. We try to pick a show that suits the strengths of the students.”

He also mentioned that when picking which musical is best, the teachers will be going back and forth for weeks to make sure everything is set before they make their final decisions.

Negrete is Poly’s dance teacher. Her role in the musical is to create the choreography and bring the show to life. Negrete said that in order to create various dances, you must get yourself familiar with the music and sounds. She also mentioned a part in the show that she hopes will grab the audiences’ attention: “Dancing mice. When mice run across the floor, they sound like they’re tap dancing, so we’re going to make them tap dance. So that it can catch the audiences’ eye, they get drawn in, and remember the moment.”

Even during the hard work, they have all also shared their favorite parts in putting it together.

“My favorite moment is backstage before the curtain comes up,” Bon shared. “The excitement among the students is incredible. The moments between shows, when the kids are excited and having a ball, I love that. That’s what I do this job for.”

Dokko’s favorite moments are “watching the students grow from the experience, [their] sense of confidence goes up, and being part of a big production is a lot of fun.”

Negrete said, “The best part is the interactions with the kids. I have a lot of fun teaching choreography. I have fun when things don’t go right, when there’s bloopers, and we’re laughing and having fun. We look back at the show and have a laugh. That’s the best part of it.”

All this hard work results in the enjoyment of seeing a live show filled with the students of Poly. Shrek the Musical is currently planned for opening night to be on February 27, 2022. It’s one of the big things that can bring the school together after a year of being apart.