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Shrek the Musical

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Sulphur Springs, get ready for something big and green coming to town Saturday evening. Dreamworks’s lovable ogre and his loud-mouthed donkey pal will be singing and dancing their way to rescuing a princess at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center during “Shrek the Musical.” This is the first major production of Sulphur Springs High School this year. SSHS Theater Arts Teacher and Director Lesha Woodard has taught drama 16 years, but this is her debut for a Sulphur Springs audience. “This is very similar to the first ‘Shrek’ film — it’s a anti-fairy tale,” said Woodard. “Shrek shows that life isn’t always a perfect fairy tale, but things always work out in the end.” Josh Thomas plays the big, green ogre, Shrek, who wakes up one day to find out his swamp is overrun with magical creatures. Recognizable characters like Pinocchio, Gingerbread Man and the Ugly Duckling tell Shrek that an evil prince named Farquaad (Liam Pollard) has banished all the magic creatures in the kingdom into Shrek’s swamp. Shrek, who wants nothing more than to be left alone, then embarks on an adventure to return his swamp to a place of solitude. “The one thing I have always loved about ‘Shrek’ is how it celebrates individuality, and not conforming to stereotypes,” said Woodard. “When we began this process, I told the actors to find their own version of each character.” Woodard said that Thomas has created his own mixture of Shrek from the broadway cast and from actor Mike Myers, who voiced the character in the film. Many of the well-known characters played their roles closer to the movie version while others created their own persona around the script. “We wanted a big cast and I saw the Broadway version on film,” said Woodard. “I used to teach in Monterey High School in Lubbock and, in the past, I have directed several larger performances like the ‘Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Charlie Brown.’ ‘Shrek’ is going to be so much fun and kids are going to love it.” The ‘Shrek’ cast supports more than 60 cast members. This year, many of the characters will be wearing professional prosthetics, much like the broadway play. Woodard wanted the production to the Broadway quality as she special ordered costumes from Dallas to immerse the audiences in a fairy tale land. The SSHS drama class has also spent months transforming the theater into a swamp-like environment with trees, hanging vines and lighting effects. “This is going to be a special experience, especially for families,” said Woodard. “All of our performers are wonderful. Over the last few months, I have gotten to know our students and how much they have stepped it up for this performance. Our music teacher, Beth Crutcher, has been working with students’ voices outside our rehearsals to make sure they can perform the more difficult songs.” Shrek’s music is written by four time “Tony nominated” composer Jeanin Tesori with books and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. The production will run at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with the final run at 7 p.m. Monday. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Community News changing days

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If you like to read Community News, don't expect to see it in the Wednesday edition. Starting this week, on Nov. 14, Community News will be published on a different day. You'll have to wait until Friday to catch up on all the news from Brashear, Miller Grove and Tira in the News-Telegram.

Parent addresses school board on bullying protocol

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The parent of a 13-year-old student Monday night expressed to school trustees her concern for the way the school handled a bullying situation that escalated into an altercation involving her daughter recently.

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Trustees approve security system for Bowie, Lamar

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Bowie and Lamar Primary campuses will be getting updated electronic security systems this year, and a schedule is being devised for the seven other campuses to receive the updates over the next four years as well.

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Mount Vernon murder suspect found dead in Hopkins County

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 Hopkins County sheriff's investigators say the body of a man wanted for the murder of a 32-year-old woman just after midnight was found beside his pickup on County Road 2381 just before 8 a.m. today. The man, identified as 55-year-old Keith Lynn McDowell, had been named in a Franklin County murder warrant after the body of the woman, 31-year-old Angie Jo Smith of Mount Vernon, was found at an RV park just south of Mount Vernon on Franklin County Road 3070 early today. Franklin County Sheriff Ricky Jones said law enforcement agencies throughout Northeast Texas had been advised to be on the look out for the “beat up” blue Dodge Durango McDowell was thought to have been driving. The notification also said the wanted man was to be considered armed and dangerous. Hopkins County authorities were called just before 8 a.m. after the body of a man was found on the ground laying on top of a sawed-off shotgun next to a truck matching the description of the one McDowell was thought to be driving. The Franklin County Sheriff and Hopkins County deputies confirmed the body was that of murder suspect Keith Lynn McDowell. The fatal shot was thought to be self-inflicted. Investigators didn't release a possible motive for the slaying. The RV park manager, Amanda Wheeler, told the Associated Press the victim did not live at the site but was visiting a resident. Wheeler said McDowell also did not live at the park but wanted to see the victim. Both the bodies of the woman and man have been sent to Southwest Institute of Forensic Technology for autopsy, according to Jones.

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