POCOMOKE CITY – Pinocchio, Peter Pan, the Ugly Duckling and all your other favorite fairy tale characters will be on stage this weekend as Pocomoke High School’s drama club presents Shrek the Musical.
Roughly three dozen students — freshmen through seniors — have spent more than two months prepping for their annual production, which this year is the fantasy story of Shrek. In addition to daytime performances for local elementary school students Thursday and Friday, the play will be performed for the community Saturday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m.
“It’s definitely a crowd pleaser,” said Scott Whitaker, a Pocomoke High teacher and director of the production. “We all like Shrek.”
For the past decade, Whitaker has led the students in the school’s drama club in their annual production. Though it’s an after-school program that can conflict with a number of sports and other extracurricular activities, Whitaker says the drama club always sees a fair amount of interest from students. He tries to accommodate interested students in spite of their other commitments.
“The biggest obstacle is juggling schedules,” he said, “and balancing the needs of all the cast members.”
The effort paid off, however, and by midweek students were showing off their acting skills in an afternoon dress rehearsal. Thanks to a costume rental company in New York, Pocomoke students were barely recognizable behind masks and paints bringing to mind the ogre Shrek and his fairy tale cast.
“The costumes are great,” said sophomore Roaa Elhag, who was taking part in her first real drama production. She grew up watching the annual PHS performance and decided to take part this year.
Elhag, who plays the Ugly Duckling as well as a knight, hopes the community enjoys the performance.
“It’s going to be funny,” she said.
Fellow cast member Paige Hughes, who also helped with the show’s choreography, agreed.
“It’s going to be a great show, especially for kids,” she said.
Whitaker said what made the show special was the amount of effort the students put into it during the past nine weeks.
“We put a lot of work into their hands,” he said, adding that students had been tasked with solving any problems that came up. “That’s a big part of the program.”
He said fine arts programs in general were instrumental in broadening student involvement and creativity.
“It’s a great way to enlarge student experience and points of view,” he said. “It’s wonderful to put the arts in our students’ hands and see what they come up with. We try to give them the opportunity to grow.”
Students will perform Shrek the Musical at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday and again at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the Pocomoke High School auditorium.