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CHS Fine Arts Production of Shrek the Musical Opens Thursday

The Cleburne High School Fine Arts production of Shrek the Musical will be presented in a series of community performances beginning Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Don Smith Performing Arts Center.

            Evening performances are also scheduled Friday and Saturday at 7, and again November 10-12. Saturday matinees at 2:30 p.m. are also available. Admission is $10. To purchase tickets online:

            Shrek the Musical features all the aspects of a storybook tale: a grouchy ogre with a heart of gold, a talking donkey, a fire-breathing dragon, an evil monarch and a princess needing to be rescued. Added to the mix is a host of nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters—from the Three Little Pigs and Pinocchio to the Big Bad Wolf and some tap-dancing Blind Mice.

            Cleburne’s 40-member cast is led by Damson Chola, Jr. as Shrek, Braedon Carlton as the Donkey, Emily Moore as Princess Fiona, Airon Street as Lord Farquaad and Hunter Patrick portraying both the Captain of the Guards and the Dragon.

            The ensemble is highlighted by Madi Munn as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Gingy, in providing the stage presence of the Gingerbread Man. Snow Warniment serves as the spokesman for the storybook characters as Pinocchio. Also featured are Hallie Davis, Harmony Conner, Silk Kilgore, Skye Ewell, Kaylin Spurling, Paxton Wilson, Preference Chola, Freya Watkins, Baylee Kelly, Brigid Morgan, Max Hamilton, Madison Collins, Jaeda Hickman, Ryan Mauldin, Renee Wisenbaker, Nova Hess, Dez Hess, Khaliece Jones, Jack Edminston, Mariah Turner, McKayla Barnes, Cadence Conner, Jordyn Anderson, Cricket Rives and Iris Herrin.

            Production Coordinators are CHS theatre arts teacher Keli Price and Choir Director Weslee Vance. Another member of the Vance family is also represented as Zoee Vance, a second grader at Irving Elementary, portrays Princess Fiona as a child. She has also been cast as a dwarf—with her father providing the voice.

             “Zoee was a member of the Lollipop Guild in last year’s Wizard of Oz production,” Vance said. “She’s been extremely excited to have more of a presence this year.  We typically include elementary students in our ensemble cast. It’s fun when we have an opportunity to get children on stage early—so maybe they’ll continue to sing, dance and perform into high school.”

            “We have a wonderful group of kids on stage this year—and backstage as members of our technical crew,” Vance said. “Our lead actors have really stepped up as leaders. DJ Chola has taken on some of the work with our soloists, while I have worked with the other voices. It’s truly been the kids doing a lot of the work, with our support.”

            For Price, Shrek the Musical is the first big production she’s directed since Beauty and the Beast—which remains among her favorites since joining the CHS faculty in 2017.

            “This one is just really special,” Price said. “I don’t know what it is about this show—it’s almost like every cast member has the part that is perfect for them. Everything is just clicking.”

“I’m just so proud of these kids, who have been working extremely hard since the school year started,” Price said. “We have actors who are also engaged in the technical side of the production. Hallie Davis, who is a member of the ensemble and is a singer/dancer, has done 90 percent of the costumes. The same holds true for Skye Ewell who is our choreographer. We are all excited to perform Shrek for our students and the community. I really want people to come out and see all the talent we have at Cleburne High School.”

Third and fourth graders from CISD elementary campuses will be attending school day performances November 7-8 along with theater arts students from Wheat and Smith Middle Schools.