Defend the Den? More like Defend the Swamp!


Carolyn Frost and Kiley King

Auditions for Shrek the Musical are underway! From November 27-29, the Oakdale community had the opportunity to try out for this year’s musical production in initial auditions. Chosen for its humor and as a contrast to last year’s more serious fairytale, the theater department is hoping for high quality performances and for the entire school to be involved in Shrek.


High school students’ auditions required a performance of either the song “Freak Flag” from Shrek the Musical or another minute long selection from any song that the student felt best represents the character they are interested in playing. They were also required to do a “cold reading” of a part of the script, where they read aloud from the script without rehearsal in advance. However, students were still encouraged to bring their own character interpretation to the room!


“I’m auditioning for Lord Farquaad and Donkey. They’re fun and flamboyant, and I feel like I could play them well and have a lot of fun with it!” shared senior Austin Shapiro. “I find songs for characters and run them in my room constantly everyday, and think of ideas for characters.”


“I begin to practice the songs about two weeks prior to the audition. I try to get myself familiar with the show, understand the character I’m auditioning for, and get into the character,” added junior Sarah Snyder, who plans on auditioning for Donkey.


Auditions are conducted by Oakdale’s theater teacher, Michael Copen, along with his wife Susan Copen, Oakdale music teacher Benjamin Zamostny, Tuscarora High School music teacher Terrance Moore, and professional actress Rachel Zampelli.


“Typically around 40-50 students audition for the school musical each year. A lot of times we see the same people, but we want everyone to try out! This is not a cliquey group!” Mr. Copen stressed.


After initial auditions, company and callback lists are released. If you’re on the company list, you’re definitely in the musical, but specific roles are not given yet. The callback list announces students’ names who will be seen again in order to be matched up with specific roles.


“Callbacks are on December 9th. We have students sing and read lines, and we match people up so we can see how they interact with each other. We take all this information to cast the show, trying to match character needs with student talents,” Mr. Copen elaborated. “Casting the show is always very difficult, because while I am making one student happy when casting a role, I am crushing ten other students’ dreams.”


The company and callback lists were released Thursday night (they can be found at, while the cast list will be released at the beginning of winter break. Rehearsal begins mid-January. There will be shows April 18th through the 20th.