Homewood-Flossmoor High School students Stella Hoyt and Gabriel McKinney, sophomores, have been selected to perform in the All-State Theatre production of “Shrek: The Musical.” It is the 47th production for the Illinois High School Theatre Festival presented by the Illinois Theatre Association.
The all-state cast will give multiple performances of “Shrek: the Musical” Jan. 12, 13 and 14 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Hoyt has been selected to perform in the ensemble, and McKinney is the understudy for the role of Donkey, one of the six main characters in the musical. Donkey is a best friend to Shrek. In the movie version, the role was performed by Eddie Murphy.
Hoyt and McKinney auditioned to participate in the theater program performing a song and a monologue.
McKinney said he was encouraged by two theater teachers at H-F to try out for the all-state theatre production.
For his audition, he performed “A Dream Will Do,” from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat and his monologue was that of Sponge Bob, a role McKinney had in H-F’s spring 2021 production. McKinney said once he was selected, he was called back to audition for the role of Donkey with songs and another reading from materials provided by the theatre festival.
The students have been in rehearsals since August traveling to the U of I campus one weekend a month. Rehearsals run from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. over a three-day weekend schedule.
McKinney, of Homewood, is the son of Lolitha and Dwayne McKinney. He performed in two musical productions before graduating from James Hart School, and had the lead role in the 2021 musical Sponge Bob at H-F. Most recently he appeared in the H-F Children’s Theatre production of “Lion King” starring as Young Simba and was in the H-F fall production “Monstersongs.”