Jesuit students take runway in Shrek garb
Drama program tests out fashions for upcoming show
Members of Jesuit High Schools drama program hit the runway Tuesday night in a fashion show featuring ogres, fairies and bears.
The show was a private event, designed to thank a cadre of volunteers for the work theyve done costuming characters for past and future theater productions at the school.
Jesuit is among the first in the region to produce a student version of Broadways Shrek The Musical, with performances scheduled to begin in February. And although the roles in the show wont be cast until December, designers have given themselves a head start on creating the costumes for this highly visual production.
We are blessed with a tremendous amount of community interest and support, which makes resources available to us that are sometimes a struggle for other schools or community groups to tap, said Jeff Hall, the programs co-director. One of the reasons we decided to be first in line for Shrek was so we could create costumes and props that could then be used by other area schools when they want to produce the show.
With a contemporary score, irreverent script and large collection of colorful characters, Hall predicts the show will be a popular one with schools in years to come. But it comes with significant technical challenges as well.
Its fun and challenging material for students to work with, and it would be a shame if the technical demands kept groups from making this opportunity available to their own students, added Elaine Kloser, the other half of Jesuits directorial team.
Jesuits well-stocked store of costumes and props from past productions make frequent appearances on stages throughout the Portland area, normally at little or no cost to the producing organization.
Our Milky White cow from (the Stephen Sondheim musical) Into the Woods has worked in more theaters than some of Portlands busiest actors, claimed Hall. And our Wells Fargo Wagon (from The Music Man) makes frequent trips as well, sometimes appearing as a surrey with fringe on top (for school productions of Oklahoma).
Once Shrek was announced as the centerpiece to this years theater season at Jesuit, costumer Cheryl Cantwell began a conversation with Bainbridge Performing Arts in Washington. The result was a summer effort to produce the basic core of the shows costumes so they could be used by Bainbridge first in their production of the musical later this month.
When the costumes return to Jesuit, theyll be altered to fit the schools cast members, and several of the shows ensemble or group roles will be increased in number for the larger production to come in February.
Tuesdays fashion show served as an opportunity to photograph and document the stock before it headed to Bainbridge on Wednesday. Student volunteers modeled the colorful characters wardrobes.
Jesuits Principal Paul Hogan was among the featured participants and dressed as the title ogres wisecracking sidekick, Donkey.
A group from the schools drama program will travel to Bainbridge in a few weeks to see the costumes in action. Its really a valuable and unique opportunity to create and test this important part of the production, Hall said.
This year Jesuits drama program is focused on what it means to be different. A much smaller-scale musical, The 25th Annual Putnum County Spelling Bee is already in rehearsal for November performances. This years lineup will also feature non-musicals and student-directed work.
For more information, visit jesuitportland.org/drama.Add a comment