Meet the River Grove 5th Grade Cast of Shrek, Jr.!

Elle Allbright (Guard)

Elle joins the cast with the stage experience of dancing since the age of 2! She enjoys the music of Shrek and states the play has taught her to sing louder! We’ll be listening for you Elle! Her favorite River Grove memory is meeting Leighton in 2nd grade 🙂 She remembers a blooper from rehearsal when Riley “made a weird noise”. When she has free time, she likes to play with her dog. Next year, Elle looks forward to becoming a 6th grader and being with her friends. When she grows up, she’d like to be an artist. Peel your eyes for Elle’s artistic interpretation of a Guard!

Truman Bednar (Lord Farquaad)

Truman graces our stage with an impressive resume of experience ranging from ballet performances to the plays of Mowgli, Mulan and The Little Mermaid! He comes from a long line of accomplished actors that have performed in previous River Grove plays. He particularly enjoys all the comedy and humour (his fancy spelling, you know his performance will be amazing from that alone). His favorite River Grove memory is the field trip to the zoo and consequently looks forward to another field trip to Camp Widjiwagan next year! Hang on Truman, it is THE field trip of all field trips! During his free time, he enjoys dancing and biking. A blooper story he recalls is Pinocchio laughing (we can’t wait to hear!). He states the play has taught him to “adapt to any character”. Bravo! When he grows up he would like to be a professional ballet dancer. Watch Truman pirouette circles around the other characters as Lord Farquaad!

Penny Bushman (Dragon)

Penny cites no previous stage experience, but I have been the lucky witness to some of her dance choreography over the years and I think that counts!  She and Kate Lapos will be sharing the role of Dragon, Penny is ahem, the second half and if that doesn’t end up on her resume some day…  Something she enjoys about the play is that it’s fun learning new dances.  Her favorite River Grove memory is the Twins game and she looks forward to a bigger school next year.  In her free time, she likes playing outside.  Let’s chalk up another vote for Riley’s “weird noise” as a favorite blooper 🙂  This play has taught Penny to “never give up”!!!  (which is fantastic because she’s kindly stepped in and learned this role quickly!)  When she grows up, she’d like to be a pet sitter.  Watch Penny take care of business in her role as Dragon!

Alice Carlson (Mamma Ogre and Mama Bear)

Alice joins our illustrious cast having been the cat in Cinderella and Beth in a Christmas Carol! How lovely! She likes that she gets to sing a lot in this play. Her favorite River Grove memory was the field trip to Arcola Bluffs in 4th grade. She looks forward to making new friends next year. You can find her reading or riding her horse when she’s got a moment. A blooper that stands out was the time when she forgot to start singing her solo! We’ll be rooting for you, Alice! The play has taught her to practice a lot! When she grows up she’d like to be a graphic designer. Watch Alice create a scene as Mamma Ogre and Mama Bear!

Paisley DeOtis (Young Fiona and Baby Bear)

Paisley comes to the stage ready to learn in her first play! She enjoys the settings and the characters and feels the play has taught her to not be nervous! This will serve you well in life, Paisley! When she’s not in school, she likes making rainbow loom bracelets and practicing her lines (a director’s dream, right Calyssa?). Next year she looks forward to making more friends and would like to be a tattoo artist when she grows up! Paisley will have us all on pins and needles while she embodies her characters of Young Fiona and Baby Bear!

Atlas Fisk (Captain of the Guards)

Atlas hits the stage running having had previous experience in The Jungle Book! Something he likes about the play is that it is a bunch of combined Fairy Tales! See how many you can recognize during the performance! His favorite River Grove memory is when they planted a tree with a time capsule. That does seem like quite the memorable day, Atlas! He looks forward to having harder subjects next year. Take heed Mrs. Khroon! When not at school, he enjoys playing soccer. He recalls a blooper story when he couldn’t stop laughing because Pinocchio did the awkward laugh. Elijah, now we really can’t wait to hear! When he grows up he’d like to be an engineer. Follow along as Atlas gives an innovative performance of Captain of the Guards!

Leighton Geisen (Pig 2)

This will be Leighton’s first foray into the world of acting! She enjoys the music of this play and states that the play has taught her to “be myself” which may be the sweetest thing I’ve seen in writing these bios. Cry emoji, heart eyes emoji, high five emoji, what is an emoji for being proud? Her favorite River Grove memory is making friends and going on field trips. If I had a nickel for those answers! She looks forward to another play next year! She is also looking forward to going to Camp Widji! Believe me, it is an incredible experience! When she’s not in school she likes to “do her own stuff”, yes girl, you be independent. When she grows up she’d like to be a therapist. Watch Leighton shine in her supporting role as Pig 2!

Finley Kaufenberg (Pied Piper)

Finley’s star is shining brightly with all of her stage cred! She is currently in the Zephyr production of The Music Man and has also appeared in Frozen and the Lion King! About this play, she says, “I like acting and expressing myself on-stage”. Fantastic! Her favorite River Grove memory is doing the Hawaii trip with her class in first grade. Well, Aloha, that sounds amazing! She looks forward to exploring the middle school next year. During her free time, she enjoys drawing, writing music and playing music. She recalls a blooper during rehearsal when Riley did “the weirdest laugh ever” 🙂 The play has taught her to become more outgoing on stage! She’d like to be a singer or a hockey coach when she grows up (I say do both, ask your Dad Finley!) Listen up as Finley belts out the tune as the Pied Piper!

Ena LaMeyer (Pig 3)

Ena hits our stage having had experience in both Aladdin and Madagascar! She states that Shrek has been as fun as every play she’s been in! Quite the compliment to Zephyr I’d say! Her favorite River Grove memory is her first day! Kudos to her classmates, first days can be rough and you all made her feel welcome, nice work kids! Next year she looks forward to KNOWLEDGE, how I love these answers! In her free time she likes to focus on her hobbies and I’m going to type this as written “baking, learning, art and SCIENCE.” Well-rounded award! She remembers a blooper that has been a favorite of many…when Riley did “Hew hew hew hew hew”. Riley, you may need to demonstrate that laugh for us 😉 Ena says the play has taught her to be brave. Where are my kleenexes?? When she grows up she wants to be a pastry chef and a food scientist. Feast your eyes as sweet Ena concocts (the puns are getting out of hand I realize) her character of Pig 3!

Katherine Lapos (Dragon and Guard 2)

Kate comes to the stage for the first time! Her favorite River Grove memory is when she did a backflip off of the swing! Whoa, Kate, I’m guessing you didn’t have to take a trip to see your Mom in the Health Office! When she’s not doing acrobatics like a flying Wallenda she likes to swim and play soccer. Next year she looks forward to going to a new school and making friends. Like many of her classmates, her blooper memory is Riley making a weird noise (I’m thinking that may have made Funniest Home videos had someone filmed it)! She notes the play has taught her to work hard and have fun! What amazing advice…for more life tips and motto’s, she can be found in Mr. Johnson’s room. When she grows up she’d like to be a swim team coach. Train your eye on Kate in her roles as Dragon and Guard 2!

Zavier Leverty (Rooster)

Zavier has previous stage experience as “Vank” in the play We Are Monsters.  He enjoys singing and dancing during “What’s Up Duloc” in Shrek.  His favorite River Grove memory is gym (Ms. Bruns is a favorite around here!)  He looks forward to attending Widji next year!  When not in school, he likes playing video games.  His blooper story is crab walking as a Rooster 🙂  He states the play has taught him the importance of eye contact (what a fabulous takeaway!).  When he grows up, he’d like to be a movie maker.  Follow along Zavier’s blockbuster performance as Rooster!

Elizabeth Mader (Pig 1)

You’re getting to witness Elizabeth’s debut on-stage! Something she likes about the play is all of the characters. They are fun! Her favorite River Grove memories are the field trips! She’s looking forward to middle school next year. You can find her biking or calling friends when she has free time. When she grows up she’d like to work in AI! Let’s all pay attention as Elizabeth gives a smart performance of Pig 1)!

Sawyer Nelson (Peter Pan)

This will be Sawyer’s first time on stage! What he enjoys about the play is that he’s in it 🙂 Great answer, Sawyer! We like that you’re in it, too 😉 His favorite River Grove memory is that of his friends and next year he’s looking forward to gaining even more friends! Outside of school, he enjoys playing games. The play has taught him to have fun. When he grows up he’d like to be an architect! Follow Sawyer’s plan to entertain the crowd as Peter Pan!

Wyatt Parham (Young Shrek)

Young Wyatt joins the cast a new actor! He says, and listen close, he likes that it is fun and is about being different from other people. You guys, the insight from these kids is blowing me away. Bravo Wyatt for that being one of your main takeaways fromt this play! One would assume the scene about gas would be a favorite of the youth, but nay, they get it! The kids are alright 🙂 He keeps us guessing by saying he has many favorite River Grove memories 😉 In his free time you can find him learning about “various academic studies”. Wyatt, my son’s number is… Next year, he looks forward to having good classes in middle school! The play has taught me to (actively crying while typing) appreciate others. When he grows up he’d like to be a Microbiologist! Follow along as our wise young man experiements with his role of Young Shrek!

Riley Schmitt (Papa Bear)

Riley steps into the cast a first timer!  She really enjoys how funny the play is!  Her favorite River Grove memory is the “River Grove River” during spring break.  She looks forward to meeting new people next year.  In her free time, she likes playing games with friends.  Folks, this is our famed blooper queen who has been mentioned as most people’s favorite funny moment!  Her version, as it was her favorite blooper too, was that she was just doing something funny when she thought she was supposed to!  Well, Riley, speaking for everyone, you made quite an impression with your “weird laugh, weird noise, cackle, etc” 🙂  When she grows up, she’d like to be a physical therapist.  Riley stepped in very last minute (thanks Riley!), so watch her rehabilitate this role as Papa Bear!

Aurora Thorp (Guard)

Rori tells us this is not her first rodeo as she’s been in plays before. She likes that she “gets to be someone” in the play, a bonus of having a small 6th grade class…the 5th graders have been called up! Her favorite River Grove memory is making friends and next year she looks forward to being in a play again! She recalls a blooper when Pinocchio’s nose grew longer, ha! The play has taught her to practice. When she grows up she’d like to work at an animal shelter! Watch Aurora follow her animal instincts as a Guard!

Nico Wieland (Bishop)

Nico has had stage experience in the form of school choir! (This is so cute, his spelling was “quire” and if that isn’t a statement about the English Language… Oxford: the new spelling is “quire” heretoforth. Good job, Nico, your job better be in the language arts). He likes the humor in the play! His favorite River Grove memory is meeting his best friend 🙂 He’s looking forward to going to Camp Widjiwagan next year (make your Mom go this time!) In his free time, he likes to play video games. His blooper story is when a classmate (cough cough, Riley) did a random witch cackle. The play has taught him to talk louder and not be shy!!! When he grows up (Stephanie, get your tissue), he wants to be a photographer. Guys, his Mom is an amazing photographer and I’m vicariously crying. Nico will capture your attention as Bishop!