North Fort Myers High School has always been known for its high-caliber stage productions, as evidenced by all the awards it has won over the years.
From April 10-13, it will present "Shrek the Musical" in the auditorium, with five big shows, including the first Saturday matinee ever.
And if all goes well, more awards could be upcoming, since it will likely be the most intricate show the school has done to date.
Michelle Whitener, who heads the school's drama department, said it was time for a happy, funny production after presenting the gloomy opera "Miss Saigon" last year.
"We decided to lighten it up and get crazy and Shrek is just a fun-filled show for everyone," Whitener said. "You're going to laugh and have a good time."
The musical, which is based on the first "Shrek" movie, follows the adventures of the green curmudgeon after his swamp is overrun by a group of banished fairy-tale characters.
Whitener made up her mind to do Shrek before last year's musical, and work began in earnest in August, with auditions in November. She said the costumes alone could have cost up to $6,000, but they got lucky.
"We found a fairy-grandmother named Mimi who made most of our costumes, and since this is the first year Shrek is available for amateurs, you couldn't find a place to rent them," Whitener said. "We had to construct all the costumes for about half."
Chase Wingard is the real proof. He plays the role of Shrek, and on Tuesday got the real feel of being Shrek for the first time as he sat in makeup for more than an hour as he transformed himself with the help of two make-up people.
Wingard, who would make Mike Myers jealous with his dead-on Irish impersonation of him, said this time last year he didn't know if he would be a North student.
"I wasn't sure I was going to be staying because of the job situation with my parents. But after we saw it at Broadway Palm, my dad said we were staying here because he could imagine me rocking this part," Wingard said.
Noelle Aparte plays the female lead for the second straight year as Fiona, a princess who has been locked in a tower for years, hoping for her prince.
"It's opposite from what we did last year since it focuses more on acting than vocals, even the lyrics are character driven," Aparte said. "I play more of myself because I'm pretty weird, so that helps with all the quirkiness of Fiona."
Aparte will also go through a transformation that could be more difficult to accomplish as that of Shrek.
Jessica Hill and Sam Marchitto have been charged with the make-up duties, and had only done Shrek's make-up twice for stage and lighting before Tuesday's dress rehearsal.
"Some things didn't work so we had to make changes, so we hope it stays on," Hill said.
Sam Bowling plays Donkey, while Michael Haefele takes on the villainous, and short, Lord Farquaad character from his knees.
The shows are on April 10-12 at 7 p.m., with matinees on April 12, 13 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, $8 for adults.