Musical Shrek receives $25,000 grant

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By Spencer Jenkins

The Stephen Foster Drama Association received a $25,000 grant to present “Shrek the Musical,” and Bardstown is one of the first locations that presented the musical off of its national tour.

The grant came from the Community Project and Development Fund, said Dawn Pryzstal, vice president of tourism expansion and marketing.

“The Stephen Foster Drama Association receives a grant every July, but based on the scope of this project, the board wanted to be supportive of them off-cycle,” she said.

The association cannot ask for another grant until it matches the $25,000 grant it received, she said.

“That’s pretty much standard when we give a grant off cycle,” Pryzstal said. “I think it’s very exciting to be one of the first locations to have the performance right after it came off its national tour,” she said. “Who doesn’t love an ogre? We’re very excited.”

“Shrek the Musical” ran on Broadway in 2008, and the national tour opened in

2010 and runs through June 2013. 

About two months ago, Johnny Warren, managing artistic director of the association, received word from Music Theater International (the company that holds royalties to many musicals) that Shrek would be available for regional companies to produce starting in June.

In addition to the Salt River Electric title sponsorship and additional production sponsors, the Community Project and Development Fund grant will enhance production value and strengthen marketing and promotions of Shrek the Musical.

“I am constantly perusing new scripts and music, looking for shows that would appeal to our audience and shows that we are capable of producing,” Warren said. “I have a list of “tops” shows and Shrek was on that list.”

He added that every year he applies for shows on the list.

“To learn that Shrek the Musical was available to us this summer was good news!” he said.

There are technical demands of this show, such as elaborate costumes, special effects, giant puppets and other surprises that make the production challenging, Warren said. The costume designer is already at work. Set and prop designers will begin early in 2013 to create the fantasy world of Shrek the Musical.

“The cast of the show will feature approximately 50 people,” he said. “Some of the roles will be filled by returning cast members from 2012 and past years.”

Others will be filled from the 2013 audition circuit that includes a local children’s audition (Jan 14), a local adult audition (TBA) and a regional theater professional audition (The Southeastern Theatre Conference) in March, Warren said.

“Our cast is generally made up of some local performers from Bardstown and the surrounding region, and theater students and professionals from across the country,” Warren said.

Because it is so new, this is a show few people have seen, he said. That increases the likelihood of audience traveling from outside the region and from out of state to see this production.

“Approximately 30,000 people attend productions at the amphitheatre each summer,” Warren said. “We are thrilled to continue the tradition of The Stephen Foster Story and to bring this exciting new Salt River Electric production, DreamWorks’ “Shrek the Musical.”

“Shrek the Musical,” presented by Salt River Electric will run Thursdays and Saturdays July 6 through Aug 8. Tickets are available at www.stephenfoster.com or by calling 502-348-5971 or visiting the box office.