Directing the Burns Park Players’ annual stage musical, particularly for the first time, comes with unique challenges.
“Sometimes an actor goes, ‘I’m on call for heart surgery. I may have to leave because of that,’” said Matt Kunkel, who’s at the helm of BPP’s upcoming production of Shrek. “And it’s like, they all put in more work [in rehearsal] because they don’t know when they might have to go, so rather than giving 100 percent, they put in 125 or 200 percent. And when they’re not there, they’ll meet with someone the next day to learn everything they missed. It’s a very professional group. They’re incredibly hard workers.”
These performers aren’t professional actors, of course. They’re Burns Park students, parents, teachers, staff, and neighbors who come together, working both on stage and behind the scenes, to put on a big musical each winter. Money raised by the production goes to support arts programs in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.
“I love the idea of … adults and kids coming together to do a show, which is one of the reasons why we’re doing Shrek,” said Kunkel, who’s currently studying directing in U-M’s department of theater and drama. “We take the whole thing, and we set it in a library … so we have the adults telling the story of Shrek to elementary school kids, and the world of Shrek just comes to life.” READ THE REST HERE