SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — The JCC of Central New Jersey’s Youth Community Theater Group, now celebrating its 10th year, will present “Shrek The Musical” on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m.  All performances are at Terrill Middle School, 1301 Terrill Road in Scotch Plains.

This year, a cast of 83 students (second through eighth graders) from Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Westfield, Cranford and Springfield bring this funny and heartwarming story to life. 

"We do the full-length version of the show, but make it a little smaller than the entire show. I try to keep to two hours," explained Beth Kasper, the director of the JCC Youth Theater Group since its inception a decade ago. "The junior versions are one hour, but they take out the best dialog and best songs."

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Kasper explained that Shrek was chosen because there are so many fairy tale characters in the production, which can accommodate such a large cast.

"The JCC Youth Theater Group started because there was no theater program in middle school when we began. I went to the JCC and asked if there was something we can do," Kasper said. "The first year was K to eight, but we decided to make it two to eight instead. The eighth graders take care of the little ones and help the older ones. It’s a great community feel."

The lead role of Shrek will be portrayed by Gavin Lesnevich, a seventh grader at Park Middle School. Fiona will be played by Abby Glass, an eight grader from Springfield who starred as Peter Pan last year. Donkey will be played by Abbie Sapira, a seventh grader at Terrill Middle School.

Purchase tickets online at www.brownpapertickets.com. (Ticket sales will close 24 hours prior to show dates.) They can also be purchased at the door based on availability. For more information, visit www.jccnj.org or contact Jordyn Barry at jbarry@jccnj.org.

The JCC of Central New Jersey is located at 1391 Martine Avenue in Scotch Plains. The JCC of Central New Jersey is a constituent agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, United Way of Greater Union County and the Westfield United Fund. Financial assistance is available for membership and various programs.