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St. Patrick Catholic Academy brings Shrek to life on stage

Students at St. Patrick Catholic Academy brought Broadway to Bay Ridge in the school’s Aldo Bruschi Auditorium on Friday, March 24 with the drama club’s production of “Shrek the Musical.”

The production is a school-appropriate adaptation of the Broadway musical based on the 2001 animated movie from DreamWorks.

“Shrek” tells the story of an ogre who lives a solitary life in a swamp, when suddenly a band of fairytale creatures, including the Three Little Pigs, the Big Bad Wolf, Peter Pan and more show up on his doorstep after being kicked out of their land by the evil, and vertically challenged, Lord Farquaad.

Shrek makes a deal with the monarch that if he rescues a princess to be Farquaad’s bride, he will give Shrek his swamp back. Shrek then meets the always talkative Donkey who joins him on his quest to save Princess Fiona from the dragon’s castle. Along the way, the characters discover lessons in friendship, acceptance and love. In the end, Fiona, who has been cursed to look like an ogre, learns to love herself and Shrek and they all, along with Donkey and the other fairytale creatures live “happily ever after.”

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The lead role of Shrek was played by seventh grader John D’Angelo, who delivered a great performance as the rough-around-the-edges ogre.

Princess Fiona was played by Molly Finn, who is in the eighth grade and has participated in five productions with the drama club. The role of the motor-mouth (and smart-mouth) Donkey was played by seventh grade student Matteo Ratatori. Dragon was performed by Amelia O’Connor, an eighth grade student who delivered a powerful show-stopping solo in the first act.

Rounding out the main cast was seventh grader Konrad Sukiennik, who brought the house down as the hilarious Lord Farquaad. The ensemble was comprised of students in all grades from the academy.

This is the fifth year that the drama club has put on a performance at the school, and show director Susan Huizinga is proud to see the students’ growth with each performance.

“Watching children who have never been on a stage before grow from shy, tentative students to talented performers who own the stage never gets old,” Huizinga said.

The show was definitely a group effort on the part of the community, with school alumni returning to help as stage crew, with kindergarten teacher Tara Toye serving as choreographer, and scenery and set design by art teacher Jocine Geraci and eighth grade teacher Gina Keenan. Narrows Community Theater member Ann Gubiotti served as assistant director.

Sixth grade teacher, and junior high social studies teacher, Dolores Gammone was pleasantly surprised by her students’ work (and was often the loudest person laughing in the room), saying, “I’ve taught some of these kids for two or three years straight and it always amazes me that they have such dramatic personalities on stage because they are so quiet in the classroom!”

Academy Principal Kathleen Curatolo shared similar sentiments after the show when she thanked the audience and said, “I see your children every day, and this is a different side of them, a joyous side, that I love to see.”

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