Behind-the-Scenes of Shrek the Musical

A look at the work that goes into the cast's accompaniment.

Anna Spell, Editor-in-Chief

Rehearsals stretch longer, homework piles grow larger, costume makeup takes way too long to get off– it’s tech week. With only a week before the first showing of Shrek the Musical, production is coming together, as costumes, props, and music are incorporated into the full show. As a musical, an integral part of the show is the pit.


The pit of the show consists of the orchestra, which accompanies the actors throughout the show. Made up of a combination of band and orchestra students, the pit


“I play Keyboard one, which primarily consists of piano music, although I also play some of the music on the electric piano, harp, or accordion,” Senior Henry Muller said. “I play for a majority of the show and, along along with Keyboard 2, provide a lot of the structure for many of the songs.”


Senior Audrey Kerns has been involved in band all four years and has been a part of multiple shows on the drumset.


“This is my fourth year doing pit. I’ve tried to do every single musical I could,” Kerns said.


Pit has allowed Muller to be involved in both of his passions. Playing in pit for some shows, Muller acts in others.


“I love music and theatre, so pit is a great way for me to combine both of those interests,” Muller said. “I also have friends in pit and I really enjoy getting to play with them, whether it’s music for the show or just messing around before rehearsal.


With Shrek the Musical specifically, Kerns and Muller both enjoy the music selection.


“I love the music and it’s really fun to play and easy to follow so I can improvise a lot,” Kerns said. “And I like how family friendly and well known it is so I feel like it’d be easier for the audience to follow the plot.”


Similarly, Muller has gotten a lot out of being part of the pit for Shrek.


“I really like a lot of the songs, so playing them is a ton of fun,” Muller said. “I’ve also had a great time working with and getting to know Ms. Summers, who is playing keyboard two for this show, as well as everyone else who’s new to pit this show.”


Muller outlines the process of pit rehearsals and the behind-the-scenes process of combining the cast and pit.


“The first few pit rehearsals we are by ourselves and we run through the music to get a sense of it,” Muller says. “At this point, everything sounds pretty rough, as we have to do a lot of figuring out tricky rhythms and key signatures. After about eight of those rehearsals, we begin rehearsing with the cast in the auditorium. At this point, we run through the show, stopping to work out issues with timing between us and the actors during the first few runs. After three or four runs with the cast, we will usually run the show as we would during a performance.”


Kerns acknowledges that while the process takes a lot of hard work, it usually doesn’t feel like it.


“Rehearsals are really long but it doesn’t feel that way most of the time because it’s so much fun,” Kerns said.