Danny Banales, SVHS ‘14, takes the stage as the unlikely green hero

At SVHS, Banales played football for the Dragons for two years before switching to theater his senior year.|

The Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) Theatre Arts Department presents “Shrek the Musical,” a play based on the Oscar-winning film that blends romantic adventure and irreverent silliness, written for audiences ages 6 and above. The musical opens this weekend at Maria Carillo High School in Santa Rosa.

Danny Banales of Sonoma Valley plays Shrek. After growing up in Bakersfield, Banalas was adopted by a family in Sonoma and he graduated from Sonoma Valley High School in 2014. At SVHS, Banales played football for the Dragons for two years before switching to theater his senior year.

Banales has appeared in six productions at SRJC including, most recently, appearing as Cinderella’s father in “Into the Woods.” He is a theater arts major with a minor in music. This is his first leading role.

Banales said that when he began studying music, the Shrek ballad “Who I’d Be” was the first song he worked on.

“I had a strong connection with the movie and was skeptical about the musical but it is great,” he said. He added that he has been doing vocal training for the part for more than a year.

The show features the unlikely green hero, his noble steed Donkey and a ragtag mashup of fairytale characters as they rescue the feisty Princess Fiona from the evil Lord Farquaad. It features memorable songs like “Morning Person,” “Freak Flag” and “I’m a Believer.”

Isiah Carter, a Piner High graduate, plays Donkey. Samantha Bohlke-Slater, who plays Princess Fiona, is a graduate of Santa Rosa High School’s Art Quest program. Noah Sternhill plays Lord Farquaad.

Tickets are available for purchase online and at the box office at 527-4307.

The music is by Jeanine Tesori; book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire; directed by Laura Downing-Lee; music direction by Rudolf Budginas; vocal direction by Jody Benecke; and choreography by Alyce Finwall.

Maria Carrillo High School’s theater is located 6975 Montecito Blvd. in Santa Rosa. Parking is free.

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