‘Shrek,’ ‘Les Miserables’ on tap at high schools

by Celia Shortt


Northgate Theatre Program Director Cassandra Scott showcases the dragon that will be part of Northgate’s production. 

Both Northgate High School and Newnan High School are set to open their spring musicals this week, with Northgate performing “Shrek, The Musical” and Newnan performing “Les Miserables.”

“Shrek, The Musical” opens tonight at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts on Lower Fayetteville Road. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

Newnan High School’s Fine Arts Musical, “Les Miserables,” opens Saturday at Newnan High School on LaGrange Street and runs through Tuesday at the school’s auditorium. General admission is $10, and tickets can be bought online at www.showtix4u.com.

Northgate High School Theatre Director Cassandra Scott has not been at her job very long, but she still has big plans for the drama department at Northgate, one of which is its spring production, “Shrek, The Musical.”

“The theme for this year is storytelling,” she said. “I’m trying to build a program, and I want them to be big enough. I want to do new stuff. I’m trying not to do the same stories over again.”

Scott is still new at Northgate, as this year is her second. She is 23 years old, making her young for a theater program director. But, despite her youth, she is passionate about theater and wants her students to see how it can be more than a hobby.

“I found my story there,” she said of theater. “I live this. I cannot imagine life without it.” “I pushed my kids hard this year because… I want them to know this is what working in the theater is like.”

Preparation for “Shrek, The Musical” has been particularly difficult because of the severe winter weather in January and February. Originally, Scott was expecting to have 10 weeks to bring it to the stage, but because of the weather, she ended up having just six weeks.

Even with the time crunch, Scott and her students worked hard and have been able to do what they needed to complete the production.

“At first it was kind of shaky, but it is coming together,” said cast member Abbey Mangieri.

“Last week, it clicked,” said cast member Sheridan Eastman. “We started having fun.”

Another element affected by the shorter timeframe was the fundraising.

According to Scott, it costs about $10,000 to put on a show like “Shrek, The Musical.” The money is needed not only for costumes and sets, but also for the rights to perform the show. Buying the rights involves an application and making sure the same show is not being performed in surrounding areas. Scott is excited and hopes those attending will enjoy the show.

Earlier this month at Newnan High, cast members of “Les Miserables” were able to attend a master class by Gary Morris, the actor who was the first American to play the role of John Valjean on Broadway.

Morris gave cast members attending the class a crash course on singing for the stage.

Newnan High senior Cody Davis is playing Valjean, and Morris praised his work during the master class. “He’s off to a good start. He’s a great singer,” he said of Davis.

“It was incredible. It was amazing how well he understands every character in the show,” said Davis. “I feel like he gave me a better insight into the show .”

Newnan senior Chris Green is playing Javert.

“He made me think about parts of Javert I’ve never thought about before. I think Javert is going to be a stronger character [in our production] because of this,” he added.

“Les Miserables” opens on Saturday and will run through Tuesday. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. The performance on Sunday will be held at 2:30 p.m. All will be held in the NHS auditorium.

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