PUC Students Showcase Shrek The Musical

By Ally Romanes on June 25, 2024

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Pacific Union College students from various departments showcased Shrek the Musical in the halfway-renovated Paulin Recital Hall on May 24, 26, and 27.

The stage adaptation of the DreamWorks Pictures movie Shrek, the musical follows the plot with 20 songs written for the show that include ballads, classic Broadway songs, and funky dance numbers. From building sets and designing costumes to directing and producing, PUC students ran the entire show.

The character of Shrek was performed by music major Milton Perez, with his sidekick Donkey played by theology major Jacob Duran. Madeline Eastman, a biology major, had the lead role of Princess Fiona, nursing major Gabe Llanell-Vararaj played Lord Farquaad, and Dragon was performed by psychology and music major Kyra Grant.

Perez brought the idea to perform this musical to co-director and co-producer Leila Beltran (who played one of the three blind mice). With other musicals in mind and unsure of what to showcase, PUC SA President Kaitlyn Nakanishi, co-director/producer and choreographer, encouraged Beltran to say “yes” to Shrek the Musical—and she’s glad she did! 

Being a part of the production team, Beltran coached the cast on their lines and movements, helped with music direction, and organized rehearsals, which was one of the biggest challenges with the show. Instead of making a schedule that fit around the production team, Beltran considerately formed rehearsals around the cast's timetables.

Auditions were held before winter quarter finals week, with expectations that the final cast would have their lines memorized over break. Once students returned to campus, production began. Aside from Beltran and Nakanishi, their production team included Perez, a music major who was a production assistant and set manager, and Bethanee Tabura, a health sciences and fine arts major, who was a production designer and stage manager. In eight weeks, they perfected the stage, built sets, and the cast learned their lines.

Shrek the Musical received many positive comments. “A lot of people thought it was impressive how well it came together in a short amount of time,” said Beltran. “We had children come and take pictures with our cast, and that told me we did something good.”

Beltran encourages people to keep coming to music events. “To know that we’re making an impact in our community helps us a ton,” she said. “Money doesn’t hurt either! Check-in on the students involved. Chances are we’re running ourselves into the ground trying to put on the show. A simple ‘how are you doing?’ goes a long way.”