A Look Behind the Scenes of ‘Shrek the Musical’

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It’s a cliché in theater to say that the show must go on.

But the phrase exists for a reason: Actors, designers, directors and writers know that whatever happens in their own lives or in the world outside, their first priority is the stage. And this year, as Covid-19 threw up challenge after challenge, Alden high school proved that it would take a lot more than a global pandemic to put a stop to their theatrical ambitions.

I took a look behind the scenes of this year’s production of Shrek the Musical to learn a bit about how Alden’s performers, designers, directors and theater people of all stripes came together to pull off a musical this year under less than usual circumstances.

During rehearsals and filming of the musicals, performers and crew had to abide by strict guidelines to protect one another during the Covid-19 pandemic. Seeing and reacting to facial expressions was a challenge, as were distancing requirements that put a damper on the usual cast and crew camaraderie. Despite this, the team that put together “Shrek” came together to produce a meaningful musical experience for the Alden community.

“You always had to be very cautious about the people around you,” said Alden High School senior Haleena Haddad, who plays the dragon in this production. “The directors coordinated it very nicely. They gave us specific instructions on how to audition and when to come in.”

Freshman Anthony Kudla echoed Haddad’s thoughts about Covid-19 protocols but said he was excited to perform in his first high school show.

“It was really great to be in the show,” he said. “I’m proud that we got to do a musical this year.”

Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard this year to make Shrek a reality. Remember to visit aldenschools.org/boxoffice for tickets and stream the show at 7 p.m. on May 6, 7, and 8.