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Lakewood Center for the Arts to stage production May 14-15, casting 35 kids aged 8 to 18.

COURTESY PHOTO: LAKEWOOD CENTER FOR THE ARTS - 'Shrek the Musical Jr.' runs May 14 and 15. About three dozen kids from around the Portland metro area will "go green" in Lakewood Theater Company's latest youth production. Lakewood will put on "Shrek the Musical Jr." May 14-15.

The production is an hour-long rendition of the Broadway play "Shrek the Musical," which was adapted from the 2001 Oscar-winning animated film about an ogre, specifically tailored for young performers.

Director Julie Lane said 35 kids aged 8 to 18 make up the cast. Some are seasoned actors, while the show will be others' first time on stage.

"It's super cute to see some of these younger primary school kids finding their character," Lane said. "They seem like they're having a darn good time."

Though Lakewood hasn't had any youth productions during the pandemic, Executive Director Andrew Edwards said the theater hopes to produce about three youth plays a year.

Edwards said theater is a great way for kids to find connection with one another, which has been difficult over the past two years.

"Theater provides a wonderful opportunity for teamwork and expression of talent," he said.

"I'm excited to get back to live theater after two years of being shuttered," Lane added. "I feel like theater is such a great thing for young people. I'm excited to bring more young people to the wonder of live theater."

Lane said working with the young cast has been really fun and commended their dedication.

"These kids are amazing," she said. "They have a full day of school and then they come to see me at rehearsal for another three or four hours in the evenings and they give up their weekends."

Catch "Shrek the Musical Jr." at 2 or 4 p.m. Saturday, May 14, or 7 p.m. Sunday, May 15. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students and can be found online at tix6.centerstageticketing.com/sites/lakewoodtheatre/event-details.php?e=953.

"They're putting in so much work to put on a great show for the public and I hope people come out and see it, because this is what's great about young people today," Lane said.


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