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“Shrek Jr.” at Edison Middle Shows Us All That’s Wonderful about West Orange Schools

WEST ORANGE, NJ – “Shrek Jr.” will premiere at Edison Middle School, 75 William St., on May 5 at 7:00 pm and May 6 at 2:00 pm. But that is only the tip of the iceberg of what you need to know about this delightful little slice of entertainment brought to us by excited sixth grade students testing the waters of musical theater for the first time.

“Shrek Jr.” represents all that is right and good about Edison Central Sixth Middle School and the West Orange School District. What people really need to know is that the love, respect, and support between the staff and students putting on this production is felt through every moment of the popular show based on the movie, where an ogre named Shrek and a bunch of displaced and disrespected fairy tale characters wind up getting the princess, a family, and a home. And if that isn’t an important message for a thirteen-year-old starting middle school and puberty, then nothing is.

Teacher Molly Eisen is once again at the helm of this year’s production, which was canceled due to the pandemic three years ago.

“These kids are beyond their years in their talent, kindness, and overall being. I wish I could keep this group for the rest of middle school,” gushed Eisen about her cast and crew.

“I asked some kids for their thoughts on the show,and they are so adorable and SO excited,” she began.

  • "It's been great fun because I've made lots of new friends and we are like a little family. We work together and support each other." -Leila Cabrera (Donkey)
  • "It's been a process. There's been a lot of growth and so much fun. I've learned a lot as a stage manager, like how to quickly problem solve and not freak out." -Evelyn Redd (Stage Manager)
  • "The show is about embracing all parts of yourself; the weird and the funny. The song "Freak Flag" really sums up the message of the show." -Skarla Ghislaine (Dragon)
  • "This has been AWESOME! I've made so many new friends. It's been really cool to sew a lot of the costumes. I love seeing what I made on stage." -Marleigh Augustin (Costume Crew)

Eisen explained the development of the show post-pandemic.

“It's a bit surreal to finally be performing it three years later, with some of the cast and crew being siblings of the original group. Drama Club is a safe space for so many kids, and it's a privilege to watch them grow as actors, artists, and humans. The love, respect and support this group has for each other is a beautiful thing. We actually had to stop during auditions because the cheering after each song made us run overtime! That's never happened before, but the positivity really set the tone for the entire process.”

“We tell the kids that this is THEIR show; it's not about the adults, having the most technically perfect performance, or making something Broadway-worthy,” she continued.

“The process of learning how to work together and embracing all their quirks and personalities is the most important thing,” she went on to say.

“Learning to lean on one another, trust their instincts, and "Let your Freak Flag Fly!" are things that all of the kids have taken to heart. Our cast and crew have really embraced this philosophy and taken ownership of the show. The choreography, the sets, many of the props, many of the acting choices have come from THEM. It is such a privilege and a joy to have this experience with them and I could not be prouder.”

Tickets are available at the door for $8.



Shrek Jr.

Shrek Jr.

Shrek Jr.

Teacher Molly Eisen encourages students.




Cynthia Cumming
May 5, 2023