From ogre to princess for this Hinsdale performer

Kimberly Fornek
kfornek@pioneerlocal.com
Jan. 27 8:47 p.m.
On stage Who: Stage Door Fine Arts What: “Shrek The Musical” Where: The Community House, 415 W. Eighth St., Hinsdale When: 7 p.m. Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 7 and 8; 2 p.m. Feb. 1 and 8; 2:30 p.m. Feb. 2 and 9 Tickets: http://www.thecommunityhouse.org/what-we-do/theater/

Anna Blanchard, 16, of Hinsdale is a veteran of local musical theater.

She has appeared in numerous Stage Door Fine Arts productions at The Community House in Hinsdale and in Chicago.

This month Blanchard will turn green for her role as Princess Fiona in “Shrek the Musical.”

“Fiona starts out as a princess locked in a tower,” Blanchard said. “Shrek rescues her, but every night at midnight she turns into an ogre.”

“For the ogre, I have to be green and wear a fat suit,” Blanchard said. “I prefer to be the princess.”

The main roles in Shrek are double cast, so Blanchard shares the role of Fiona with Melanie Frewen.

Blanchard said she loves to do shows with Stage Door because of the number talented people.

“A lot of them are college students,” she said. “I really love working with people who are older than me. I learn a lot from them. That’s how I have really improved.”

She has had roles in “All Shook Up,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Tarzan.”

A junior at Hinsdale Central, Blanchard is in the school’s Madrigal choir. She also will appear in her first high school show, as a member of the ensemble in Central’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” in March.

“The school shows are amazing, but I never considered doing them,” Blanchard said.

As she was preparing to apply to colleges, however, she decided experience with more than one theater group would be better.

So she rehearses everyday after school from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. for “Beauty and the Beast,” then had Shrek rehearsal from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Saturday was not an off day.

Blanchard goes to the Merit School of Music in Chicago, where from 10:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Saturday, she is immersed in jazz, with classes in jazz solo, jazz ensemble, jazz history, plus acting, music theory and a musical theater class. Musical theater is her first love, but jazz is a close second.

“I don’t get to do a lot of jazz, because there is not a lot of jazz musical theater.”

She plans to major in musical theater in college, although she has not chosen a school yet.

For now, she appreciates when friends and family attend her performances. Her friends are always complimentary, but her parents can be more critical.

“They will tell me honestly if I screwed something up. I’m glad, though. I like the feedback.”

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