Jacob Haen, who plays “Pinocchio” in “Shrek The Musical”, stands on the hips of two other actors. At far left is Emma Lipinski and second from right is Jackson Jeremiason, both students at Minneota.

‘Shrek: The Musical’ opens July 25 in Lake Benton

Jacob Haen has been on stage many times while performing in plays and musicals, but this is the first time he’s acted above the stage. Haen is playing the part of “Pinocchio” in “Shrek The Musical” beginning Thursday at the Lake Benton Opera House and concluding on Aug. 4.

In one scene, he stands on a hip of an actor on each side of him and almost appears to be levitating above the cast. “They dropped me once in rehearsals,” laughed Haen, who will be a senior at Minneota this fall.

“But only the one time.” This is the second time Haen has performed at the Lake Benton Opera House. He was in “Footloose” last year. And he has performed in 10 plays and musicals in high school. Haen is one of six Minneota students and residents that will be performing in “Shrek The Musical.”

The others are Emma Lipinski as “Gingy,” Jackson Jeremiason as “Peter Pan”, Ben Engels as the “Captain”, Chesney Panka as the “White Rabbit”, and Liz Voit as the “Shoemaker’s Elf.” Al Riedel of Brookings is playing the part of “Shrek”. Auditions took place in early June and rehearsals began on June 9.

“We have cast members from throughout the area and from as far away as Brookings, Lake Wilson, Marshall and Porter,” Wilmes noted. “The show will also feature a talented group of 13 musicians from around the area.” Because this particular musical calls for 61 performers, director Mark Wilmes encountered a few problems.

“We have a very large cast, so that is a large number of people to costume,” he said. “When you are doing a show made up of cartoon characters, that takes it up several levels of difficulty.” Wilmes said that Sandy Hanson of Tyler, along with a few helpers, has been spending many hours per week sewing costumes for this musical.

“We also have had a lot of help from South Dakota State University Theater Department and the Brookings Community Theatre,” said Wilmes. “Both groups have done (“Shrek The Musical”) in the past.” “Shrek The Musical” is a musical with music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire.

It is based on the 2001 Dreamworks Animated film “Shrek” and William Steig’s 1990 book by the same name. The story centers around a mean lord who exiles fairytale creatures to the swamp of a grumpy ogre. The fairytale creature then must go on a quest to rescue a princess for the lord in order to get his land back.

“Shrek the Musical” will be performed July 25, 26, 27, 31, and Aug. 1, 2, 3 at 7:30 p.m.; and July 28 and Aug. 3, 4 at 2 p.m. Ticket are $15 for adults, $14 for students and seniors, and $10 for children 12-and-under. Tickets can be ordered online at www.lakebentonoperahouse.com. For more information, call 507-368-4620 or email lakebentonoperahouse@gmail.com.

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