Local youth bring “Shrek Jr. The Musical” to life at North Lake Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Local youth bring “Shrek Jr. The Musical” to life at North Lake Tahoe

Devenney Leijon
Special to The Sun

Tickets for Shrek Jr. The Musical are on sale at EventBrite.com , $15 adult / $10 child, with three show options: 7 p.m. on Friday, April 27, as well as 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 28.

It is an early Saturday morning and 63 local youth, grades 3-12, from Truckee to Kings Beach to Incline Village, are heading to the Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe.

They are preparing to start the first of five "tech" rehearsals that will culminate in three performances of Great Futures Productions "Shrek Jr. The Musical."

For many of the youth headed to the Boys & Girls Club on this brisk spring morning, this five-hour Saturday tech rehearsal is not their first. Most have participated in some of the many other musicals that Great Futures Productions has put on over the years, including Annie, The Little Mermaid, James and The Giant Peach, and Suessical, just to name a few.

For others, this is their first Great Futures Productions musical. However, whether it be their first musical with the club or they are a seasoned performer, all have worked towards a common goal over the last three months, putting on a fabulous show for the community and their peers.

Quite a production

The process for a large-scale musical at Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe starts months before the curtain goes up on opening night. Performing Arts Coordinator and Great Futures Productions Director Sara Turner-Carbajal holds auditions for each show and casts not only on talent and fit for a role, but dedication to the program and behavior are also heavily weighed during the process.

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Auditions are comfortable and encouraging, giving each child the support of auditioning with the full group of fellow actors along with solo audition opportunities, to be taken at an actor's discretion. Positivity and fun are also highly empathized, instead of perfection and pressure. Every youth who shows up for the audition is made to feel comfortable and expectations are clearly outlined. By helping each child understand the importance commitment, teamwork, organization, respect, etc., each performer achieves a well-rounded understanding of all aspects of theatre from the very beginning. An observer in the audition room will notice that each child is rooting for the others in the room and anything other than encouragement seems to have been checked at the door.

Once roles are cast for a Great Futures Productions show, the kids get to work!

Turner-Carbajal immediately begins breaking down the often difficult vocals for each and every song in the show and the children are taught to harmonize and hone the skill. Working so thoroughly through each and every song ensures that these young performers are extremely familiar with the vocals before they ever even step foot on the club's stage.

Once vocals become second nature, choreography and lines are added into the mix. To say that the Great Futures Productions casts are triple threats, meaning that each child is able to sing, dance and act, is an understatement. Any newcomers need not worry if they haven't danced or acted on the stage before because Turner-Carbajal works not only group rehearsals into the schedule, but extensive individual rehearsals as well.

There are plenty of opportunities to nail a scene, perfect the middle part of a tap number, or anything else that might be tripping any of the cast members up. There is no shortage of ways for the entire cast to feel completely prepared come show time.

As show time draws closer, the cast begins to take the performance to another level by adding in all technical elements to the show. In the world of theatre, a show must go on no matter the circumstance. The casts of the Great Futures Productions shows not only commit to the art full-heartedly by working their schedules around the required rehearsals, but they also commit to understudying for other roles in the show, ensuring that at least one person can step into all the other roles at a moments notice in case a performer cannot make it to a rehearsal or take the stage on show days.

Final preparations in 'Tech Week'

The six days leading up to the performances, called Tech Week, are set aside to work out these and any other issues. During this crucial week, the cast doesn't blink an eye as costumes, props, set changes, lighting, sound (in the form of microphone boxes attached to lead actors in the show), makeup, wigs and many more variables are finally thrown into the mix. The cast learns and completes all their own set changes, quick changes (changing from one costume to another in a very short amount of time backstage), microphone changes, and all other theatre magic components that happen just out of audience slight.

During these Tech Rehearsals, timing is accounted for, props are placed strategically for each scene and the young cast knows very well that working with an imaginary rose in the weeks leading up to Tech Week might not go quite as smoothly during a Tech Rehearsal when the actual prop is introduced. However, a week of taking these things into consideration and hours of practice allows for any last-minute adjustments to be made prior to the audience stepping through the building doors for the performances.

So, as the cast of Shrek Jr. The Musical prepares to complete the months of hard work and take the stage on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28, don't miss the chance to witness 63 triple threats in action and see a fabulous show filled with singing, dancing, a hilarious storyline.

This is sure to be a show that will be enjoyed by families and the community. Thanks to Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe and Great Futures Productions, the actors of tomorrow are learning the skills and love for an invaluable art form right here in our back yard and a trip off the mountain is no longer necessary for enjoyment of a high-quality musical.

Tickets for Shrek Jr. The Musical are on sale at EventBrite.com , $15 adult / $10 child, with three show options: 7 p.m. on Friday, April 27, as well as 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 28, at the Kings Beach Site (8125 Steelhead Ave., Kings Beach, CA). Visit http://www.bgcnlt.org or call 530-582-3760 for information.

KNOW & GO

WHO: Boys & Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe and Great Futures Productions

WHAT: Shrek Jr. The Musical

WHEN: Friday, April 27, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 28, at 2 p.m., 7 p.m.

WHERE: 8125 Steelhead Ave., Kings Beach, CA

TICKETS: $15 adult/$10 child

INFO: http://www.bgcnlt.org or 530-582-3760