Madison campers to perform ‘Shrek’

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Ridgeland’s Daryl Jenkins plans to finish off his final year at New Stage Theatre’s Summer Day Camp with a bang by putting his own flair into the role of the iconic green ogre Shrek in their upcoming production of “Shrek the Musical Jr.”

“It has been fun figuring out what kind of Shrek I want to be,” said Jenkins, who recently graduated from Ridgeland High School. “This role is giving me a chance to put my own unique spin on the character.”

New Stage Theatre’s Summer Day Camp participants will perform in “Shrek the Musical Jr.” from July 15 through July 18. The performances are Thursday through Sunday at 7 p.m., with additional 2 p.m. matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday.

Two groups of campers, one from the morning camping sessions and another from the afternoon camping sessions, will make up the cast for two different productions. Jenkins is playing Shrek with the afternoon camping sessions that will perform in productions Friday, July 16, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, July 17, at 7 p.m.; Sunday, July 18, at 2 p.m.

The morning campers group will perform Thursday, July 15, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, July 17, at 2 p.m.; and Sunday, July 18, at 7 p.m.

Jenkins said he took an interest in theater when he was in the fourth grade and has participated in New Stage Theatre’s summer camps for the past three years. 

“My favorite part of being here is the community,” Jenkins said. “I love what I do here, and being around people who also love it is very important.”

Jenkins said practicing for the show has been a great learning experience. 

“I don’t want to act out what I’ve seen on Broadway,” Jenkins said. “I want to be my version of the character. We hope everyone comes out to see the show. It’s going to be very enjoyable.”

Jenkins plans to attend the Chicago College of Performing Arts in the fall and to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre. 

Erin Morton, who is also of Ridgeland and a recent Ridgeland High School graduate, is playing the role of Fiona in the afternoon sessions performances along with Jenkins. Morton said meeting new people and acting along with her fellow crew members is her favorite part of being in theater. 

“I’m excited for Shrek Jr., mostly because this is my first lead role, and I think this community is going to love the show,” Morton said. “This is our first full-house show since before COVID, so that adds to the excitement."

Morton got into theater in ninth grade and has taken part in New Stage Theatre performances since 2019. She said she also plans on pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre, but she is unsure what college she will be attending. 

Other performers participating in “Shrek the Musical Jr.” from Madison County in the morning session productions are, from Madison, Eva Albright, Ella Allen, Grace Coon, Karlie Edmonson, Emma Henry, Addy Huddleston, Caden Miller, Colin Ridgway and Chloe Vizier; from Ridgeland, Adrienne Tanaka and Jory Tanaka; and, from Canton, Lucy Harper. 

Madison County performers participating in the afternoon session productions are, from Madison, Mary Bishop, Chloe “Astro” Crawford, Hope Cuevas, Audrey Holt, Harrison Palmerton and Dylan Thomas; from Ridgeland Thelma Franklin, Catherine Hawkins, Cayman Jackson, Daryl Jenkins and Erin Morton; and, from Canton, Sarah Stoddard.

Sharon Miles has been directing at New Stage for four years and got into directing because of her love for telling stories and all the collaborative aspects of theater. 

“You have a lot of fun, but you’re also singing, acting, dancing and honing in all these skills,” Miles said. “The best part, however, is the students coming together who come from many different schools and areas and find a common goal.”

Miles said New Stage selected Shrek Jr. as the first full-house show of 2021 to fit the theme of opening back up and interacting with the community again, which she said she sees as a parallel to Shrek leaving his isolated swamp and interacting with people and things outside of his comfort zone. 

“We had several shows to choose from, and we wanted to send a specific message to the community,” Miles said. “It’s perfect considering the times we are in.”

Miles said the show has been great, and the best part is seeing the students and the energy they’ve brought to the stage. 

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under and can be purchased by calling the New Stage box office at 601-948-3533 or ordered online at www.newstagetheatre.com.





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