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    LEAD ROLES: Horsham Arts Council has announced the cast for its production of ‘Shrek the Musical’, set to take place in May 2024. Among the cast is Chris Versteegen as Donkey, Simon Dandy, Lord Farquaad, Tim O’Donnell, Shrek, and Stacey Brennan, Fiona. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Quality performers for Horsham Arts Council's Shrek overwhelms director

Horsham Arts Council has announced its cast for its May 2024 production of Shrek the Musical. 

The announcement comes after HAC’s most recent productions, Seussical the Musical and American Idiot, have been nominated for accolades at the 2023 Bruce Awards Ceremony.

The Shrek cast includes Tim O’Donnell as Shrek, Stacey Brennan as Fiona, Simon Dandy as Lord Farquaad, Chris Versteegen as Donkey and Esther Fry as Dragon.

Director Emily Friedrichsen said auditions had been long, but she was ‘amazed’ at the quality of the performers.

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“We had an excellent problem, having 71 people audition for a cast of 35,” she said.

Mrs Friedrichsen said while rehearsals started next year, cast members were ‘chomping at the bit’, posting pictures on social media and learning their lines. 

“They kick off at the end of January, but the cast already have their scripts,” she said.

“Sets are already being built and arrangements made to make and hire costumes.”

Mrs Friedrichsen said creating a musical was far from the six-month process that would be suggested by scheduling, with plans in the works for years. 

She said she had wanted to direct Shrek for almost seven years, with copyright and disruptions from the pandemic causing delays.

“When the rights came through, I put a proposal in,” she said.

“I’m a true believer in the saying that everything happens for a reason.”

Mrs Friedrichsen said decisions on the cast had been made with the musical’s storyline in mind.

“We knew we were going to have a massive job casting,” she said.

“We had three possible Shreks and all of them could do it, much like our Fionas. 

“Even after our call-back day, we had 12 possible combinations of leads.

“The three leads were cast as a collective and they were the ones who sold us on the story. 

“Ultimately, it’s a love story about what’s on the inside and that is about vulnerability and emotional connection.”

Mrs Friedrichsen said Horsham Arts Council would be starting a Christmas promotion on December 1, Shrek the Halls, for tickets to the musical as a holiday gift. 

The special lasts three weeks with tickets costing $35 for children and $40 for adults, before tickets are again released six to eight weeks before opening night in May. 


RELATED: ‘Huge honour’ for Horsham Arts Council – 25 nominations for guild awards

The entire November 22, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!