Katie Rae describes herself as a Jr. Civic kid, as she called it.
After growing up, the North Central High School graduate became a Jr. Civic adult to work with production.
“I moved to Chicago to do children’s theater a few years ago,” she said. ‘But I came back this summer because I’m getting married. I asked Brent (Marty) if I could do the show. This would be my eighth Jr. Civic production to stage manage.”
Jr. Civic Theatre will present “Shrek The Musical Jr.” June 21 to 26 in a Mainstage production at The Tarkington at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. There will be nine performances. Cast members range in age from 7 to 14.
“‘Shrek’ is a great show for kids because there are a lot of great featured roles,” Rae said. “There is a lot of good music to work with.”
Marty, who is directing, said there are 52 cast members.
“This might be the largest cast we’ve had, and I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” he said. “They’re a good group, they love the show and love the theater.”
Anna Wagner, a Carmel resident who will be a Creekside Middle School eighth-grader this fall, is cast as Storyteller No. 2.
“I enter the scene and set the story,” Wagner said. “Then, the storyteller kind of pops in and pops out and helps narrate the story.”
Wagner has been acting at Jr. Civic since she was 8 years old.
“I do musical theater at my middle school and I do Beef & Boards productions,” she said.
Maddux Morrison, who will be a Noblesville High School freshman, plays a Duloc citizen and the Pied Piper.
“I saw it at Beef & Boards and it looked fun,” Morrison said. “I also saw it on Netflix because the Broadway musical is on it. The music is great.”
Morrison started Jr. Civic productions in fourth grade.
Keegan Connor, who will be an eighth-grader at Westfield Middle School, plays teen Fiona, one of three cast as Fiona at various ages.
“Teen Fiona doesn’t have many speaking lines, but she is part of a trio of the Fionas, and I get to do wonderful harmonies with super-talented girls to make the song sound elaborate,” Connor said. “It’s thrilling.”
Connor was familiar with the show because she did it before with Christian Youth Theater when she was 9 years old.
“I was Baby Bear and that was my first big role ever,” she said. “I am so excited to be teen Fiona, because when I was younger, I always wanted to be one of the Fionas. The trio song is challenging but it’s worth the work and I can’t wait to perform it with the other Fionas.”
Sadie Cohen, Carmel, plays young Fiona, and Isabel Casciani, Zionsville, plays Fiona as an adult.
A.J. Wilson, who will be a North Central freshman, plays Shrek.
“I also played Shrek in my school musical (at St. Richard’s School) in February,” Wilson said. “I like the songs and I like the range he has from very high notes to lower notes.”
YAP presents Revue!
Youth Artists Program director Anne Beck came up with the concept of doing an extra show for the YAP in the summer to go along with the main musical.
“The show is a cabaret, so we dive into the lives of these fabulous young artists a bit,” Beck said. “They help write all of the content with me based on answering questions about life. This year we discussed family, where they have come from, where they could be heading.”
Beck said there is an incredible team assembled to guide, direct and lead the students into this world of cabaret.
“Kenny Shepard is directing them,” Beck said. “Tamara Wise Totty is pushing them musically to be their best, and and this year Shannon Forsell from downtown’s Cabaret (Indianapolis) is working with them a few times for tricks of Cabaret style, finesse, communication, etc. It is a fantastic cast and artistic staff.”
The show has performances at 6 and 8 p.m. June 19. For more, visit civictheatre.org.