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  • Betsyrosef

It's Show Time!

Musical Theatre. Guys, I am excited. I have a Bachelor’s of Music in Musical Theatre, so while some of the other genres of music we have studied have a special place in my heart, THIS is my thing. This week, instead of jumping into the history or a lesson on the different styles of music in Musical Theatre, I want to start with some of the jobs you can do in a Musical Theatre Production. We see the actors on stage, but there are MANY MANY people behind them doing just as much and more.

A Play is a story. A Musical is a play with songs that are used to tell a story. As humans, we love stories because it's how we relate to each other. It's part of our families heritage that we pass down from generation to generation. Everyone has their own story, their own journey to find themselves. Shrek the Musical is one of my favorites because it is about owning your story and who you are. It is about not letting the world define you, but knowing you were created the way you are on purpose for a purpose.

Our show focus is on Shrek. Shrek the movie was made into a Broadway Musical in 2008. You can watch both of these (the movie and musical) on amazon prime for $3.99. As we look at Shrek the Musical, we are going to learn about some of the process and jobs that go into making a Musical. You will learn about Story, Characters, Costumes and Makeup, Scenic Design, and Props! Lets get started!

Playlist- Shrek the Musical


Monday: The Story and Music!

If Musical Theatre is storytelling, let's make sure we all remember what the elements of a story are. (If you haven't recently heard a good kid definition of that, HERE you go. This handout explains it nicely :-)

Activity 1. Can we write our own story? I bet you can! Let's do it using the Game...

Unfortunately/ Fortunately: (Watch the video for instructions, but in case you have technical issues, I have also included a brief summary of how to Play).

Materials Needed: paper (chalkboard/ whiteboard) writing utensil and a big imagination.

Setting: Our story is set in the Kingdom of Duloc. We are in the enchanted forest on a quest to find the ruby of great power when….

  • UNFORTUNATELY….. (take turns saying something bad that happens/something that creates a problem. Exp, we ran out of food, soldiers are coming..)

  • But then FORTUNATELY… (take turns saying something good, a solution to the problem.)

  • This can go as long as you want, but as you get to the end, I encourage you to help them make any problems very small until it is all happily.

Well done! You now have your very own story! Back to the making of Shrek...

In the case of Shrek the movie by DreamWorks, it was loosely based on a fairy tale (HERE is a link to see it read out loud or look for it at your local library) written by William Steig. Then David Lindsay-Abaire said, "I want to take that movie and make it a musical!" He then had to write a Script for our show. The Script has all of the words said or sung in a show and tells the story.

Writing the Music- Watch THIS video on how they wrote the music for Shrek. David Lindsay-Abaire is writing the lyrics in the songs still, but he has gotten Jeanine Tesori to write he music for him.

There are 2 ways we can use songs in Musical Theatre.

  1. A character is telling their emotions: Something has just happened, and the character pauses and explains, through song, how they feel about this. If you take the song out of the story, you don't miss any of the plot. (Like Part of Your World in little Mermaid. Cutting the song doesn't hurt the story line). This is how musical theatre was until Rogers and Hammerstein said, “Hmmm, why don’t we have the song help TELL the story. Which brings us to....

  2. The song helps tell the story. In the Musical Hamilton (I HIGHLY suggest you watch this on Disney+ if you haven’t yet. It’s rated PG13, so check it out before showing it to littles), the story is in song. You can listen to the album and know everything that happens in the play.

Once you have a script and music we can move on to...


Tuesday: The Actors and the Characters

In theatre Actors are the people who perform as characters in the play or musical. A good actor does lots of research to find out anything they can about the person they are playing. For anything they can’t find, they get to make up! This is called “character development.”

Activity 1:

This is a movement game to practice character movement. Click the video to see the explanation. I have also put a brief summery here in case anyone has problems with the video.

You have your kids move around the room:

  • Lightly

  • Heavy

  • Fast

  • Slow

In between each of those (Exp. after lightly but before heavy and so on) ask them:

  1. Who or what moves ______

  2. Why do you move _______

  3. How do you FEEL moving ______

Next, have them move around feeling like a string is pulling them from different parts of their body like their nose, chest, knees, stomach, hips, whatever! They are basically leading their movement with that part of the body!

Character Sheet Fillable (for kids)
Download PDF • 61KB

Activity 2

Now that you have explored character movement, fill out this character question sheet and Draw your character! Have fun and go crazy! It's YOUR character, so do whatever you want.

(Don’t worry about what they are wearing too much, we will design that tomorrow!)

If they are liking it (Or your student is older) continue answering the questions on page 2. You can come up with your own questions when you are done! Go crazy! Have fun! (my personal character question sheet is 4 pages… without anything filled out. I love them).


Wednesday! Makeup and Costumes

Costumes. So. Much. Fun. It’s dress up for adults! Costumes and a Costume Designer are defined as

  • " Costumes, often refers to a particular style of clothing worn to portray the wearer as a character or type of character at a social event in a theatrical performance on the stage or in film or television.

  • "A Costume designers- create the outfits worn in movies, television shows, or theater productions." (

Costumes are one of my personal favorite parts of theatre. HERE is a link to an overview of what a Costumer is and what all they do!

Now in Shrek the Musical, there are many characters who are not human and made for some interesting challenges. HERE is a link with a little about making the Shrek Costumes

The next element we need to look at is Makeup. Makeup and costumes often go hand in hand and must work very closely together.

  • HERE is a quick overview of what a makeup artist does! (This is the makeup artist who worked on Little Mermaid the Musical and she talks about her process in this video!)

Just like she said, makeup... “is about telling a story. As a makeup artist, I paint that story in color.”

HERE is a video on how they do Shrek’s makeup!

Do you see how much work can go into the stage makeup designs?

Designing and Drawing time!

We are going to draw our character from yesterday. I want you to think in detail. Duloc isn’t set in our real world so you can do whatever you like! You’re the designer!

  • Older student challenge: What time period in our world does Shrek the Musical seem to be designed after? Can you do some research into clothes then and design your costume to follow that time period?

Here is what I want you to draw

  1. Your character from yesterday. (You can free hand this on a bank piece of paper).

  2. Be detailed! What style are their clothes, colors, hair, makeup (are they green like Shrek?)

  3. Here is a template for a close up on their hair and makeup!

Face Template for Makeup Design
Download PDF • 42KB

Want more?

  1. Draw their family (Do they look like their family, or different?

  2. Draw their Best friend, pet or Arch Nemesis!


Thursday: Set/ Props

Today we get to learn about the Set!

A Set is: "All the scenery, furniture and props the audience sees at a production of a play make up the set design. The set designer's job is to design these physical surroundings in which the action will take place. The overall look of the set also gives the audience information about the director's concept of the production." (

The person who creates the set is call the Set Designer.

Now that you know a bit about what a set is, lets look at the designing of Shrek the Musical!

Activity 1

Now it's your turn! Design your own set.

  1. Can you draw where your character and their friends/family live? Make it as detailed and big and fun as you want!

Want more?

  1. Can you draw it for a stage? ( So no walls the audience can’t see through).

  2. If you want, pick one part of it, and make it into a model using card stock, cardboard and anything else lying around your house!

Props: Who is a Prop Master/Prop Mistress and what are Props?

Official definitions:

  • A Prop, formally known as (theatrical) property, is an object used on stage or screen by actors during a performance or screen production. In practical terms, a prop is considered to be anything movable or portable on a stage or a set, distinct from the actors, scenery, costumes, and electrical equipment." (Wiki)

  • Property Master, often called the prop(s) master, is an artistic and organizational employee in a film, television or theatrical production who is responsible for purchasing, acquiring, manufacturing, properly placing, and/or overseeing any props needed for a production. (Wiki)

Basically, props are anything on stage not the set.

  • THIS man makes paper props for film and television! He does a great job explaining how detailed a prop can need to get!

  • There is one BIG prop in Shrek. The Dragon: Watch a bit about HERE

  • Props are used in more than just Theatre and Movies, like Disney Parks! This kid’s dream job is Prop Master at a Disney Park, hear him talk about it HERE!

Activity 2:

Making your own Prop! I have 2 options today

  • Map- Here is how to make a Treasure map! Use this as ideas for making a map for your story from Monday! (or Shrek’s map to find Fiona).

  • Shrek Story Book- Here is a way to make a prop that looks like a story book!


Friday: Food Friday!

We are going to make some Shrek Themed food for our movie party tonight!

We have

Movie Night!!! You can rent Shrek the Musical on Amazon Prime for $3.99. Here are some fun discussion questions to go along with the movie and help you kids start to look for the technical elements we talked about this week!

  • Can you tell your parent the 5 story elements in Shrek?

  • Do you have a favorite song? Why? Does it help tell the story line, OR is it focused on explaining the emotions the character is going through?

  • What do you think the COOLEST part of the set is? (the swamp? the castle?)

  • What is one cool thing you noticed about the costumes and makeup

  • What is your favorite Prop?

I hope you have enjoyed our week looking into some of the jobs in Musical Theatre! Post pics of your characters, props and set designs so we can see what you created!

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