When most middle schools put on a show — let’s say, “Shrek the Musical” — it looks like a middle school “Shrek.”
Coleytown Company’s production will not be like most middle schools.
For one thing, this is Westport. We do things — particularly arts and kids things — in high-powered ways.
For another, director Ben Frimmer has got Shrek helping “Shrek.”
The real Shrek.
That’s Adam Riegler. A Staples sophomore, he spent nearly a year playing Young Shrek.
Adam has plenty of other credits: a role in “David Copperfield” at the Westport Country Playhouse (directed by Joanne Woodward). Pugsley in “The Addams Family” (alongside Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth and Brooke Shields). A role in the film “The Way, Way Back.” He just returned from South By Southwest, and the premiere of his latest film “Premature.”
But right now, Adam is playing a new role: assistant director.
He brings a deep knowledge of “Shrek” to Coleytown. For a year before its December, 2008 opening Adam was involved in its workshops. He saw what it takes to get a show off the ground. He dealt with writers and directors, and worked with accomplished professionals.
He performed in “Shrek”‘s out-of-town tryouts, then made his Broadway debut. All along, he watched and learned.
“It’s got awesome music. It’s very funny, for kids and adults alike,” he says of the show. (Now that he’s older, he understands more of the jokes.)
At Coleytown, he helps Frimmer with directing ideas, like scene blocking. He also gives notes and tips to the young actors. “Ben is an amazing director,” Adam says. “But I can help, because I’ve seen so many versions of ‘Shrek.’”
Adam calls the young actors “very talented. They’ve got excellent voices, and great attitudes. They really are working hard at being team players too.”
Are the Coleytown Company actors impressed with his Broadway resume?
“I’d say excited, rather than impressed,” Adam answers. “They’re happy I can help.”
Adam, meanwhile, enjoys being on the other side of the stage. This is his first experience as a director, and he likes the ability to “be creative, change things, and see immediate results.”
So what’s his next role?
He may take Staples Players director David Roth’s directing course in the fall.
(“Shrek The Musical” will be performed at Coleytown Middle School on Thursday and Friday, April 3 and 4, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, April 5 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Click here for tickets; use the search term “Westport”.)