Henry Ford II High School junior Jacob Yasso tries on a prosthetic for his role as the ogre character, Shrek,  during a rehearsal for  “Shrek the Musical”  March 6 at the  high school.

Henry Ford II High School junior Jacob Yasso tries on a prosthetic for his role as the ogre character, Shrek, during a rehearsal for “Shrek the Musical” March 6 at the high school.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Ford actors living a fairy tale with ‘Shrek’

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published March 15, 2019

 Ford junior Jacob Yasso rehearses a scene where Shrek encounters some soldiers on his way to the castle.

Ford junior Jacob Yasso rehearses a scene where Shrek encounters some soldiers on his way to the castle.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Like ogres and onions, theatrical shows have many layers. 

Henry Ford II High School students are preparing to cover all of them in rehearsals before performing “Shrek the Musical” March 21-23.

Theater Director Kirstin Carolin said they decided last May to make “Shrek” the spring musical. She said it’s a good fit for the cast of around 60-70 students, plus an additional few dozen in the technical crew.

“Part of it is, it’s a show with a very large chorus, so we’re able to include a lot of students in it,” she said. “And mostly, it was the right show for this particular group of kids right now. 

“And I love the message of it, which is the idea that we are different and united — ‘You are us and we are you; this is our story’  — that despite everybody’s differences, we’re all in this place together.”

Carolin called the production “super family-friendly” and said the 2008 Broadway musical closely follows the 2001 film “Shrek,” by DreamWorks Animation, though it contains additional songs. The story is about an ogre, Shrek, who lives in a swamp and befriends a donkey, a princess and a host of familiar characters.

“They’re fairy tale creatures,” she said. “There’s the Wicked Witch and Mad Hatter and pretty much everybody from fairy tales.”

Carolin added that the students are 

having “so much fun,” since they’re returning to a story they grew up with.

“It’s one of the most difficult shows that we ever have done, but at the same time, they came in knowing most of the music because they’ve watched it on Netflix; they know the movie. 

“There’s a lot of moving elements, and it’s an adventure story, so once they go to a location, they never go back to it. There’s the backstage technical aspects, which make it technically difficult.”

For instance, the show will also have more than 100 costumes, and some characters have multiple costume changes, she added.

Ford junior Jacob Yasso, 16, will play the role of Shrek. While his character is hated and shut off from the world at the beginning, he eventually becomes vulnerable to the love from a community of people who embrace him.

“Shrek is a really fun role to play,” he said. “Out of my four shows I’ve been in, this has been one of the most dynamic ones we’ve done (and with) the most set pieces and costume changes. It’s on a larger scope. It’s going to be a lot of work, but we’re all pulling through and having a lot of fun while doing it.”

Ford senior Rori Cummings, 17, had positive things to say about her lead role of Princess Fiona. 

“She’s so open and free. Even though she’s supposed to be a princess, she’s not afraid to show her true self,” she said.

Cummings added that the show is meant “for everyone young and old,” and especially those who liked the original movie.

Henry Ford II High School, 11911 Clinton River Road in Sterling Heights, will perform “Shrek the Musical” at 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday, and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 21-23. Tickets cost $10 for students and $12 for general admission. Tickets may be bought in advance at www.showtix4u.com and at the door if available. Find out more by visiting ford.uticak12.org or by calling (586) 797-1000.