Skip to main content

Gulf & Main Magazine

Director of North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts' 2017 Summer Production of 'Shrek' Tells All

Jul 25, 2017 05:02PM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger

Gallery: Shrek [27 Images] Click any image to expand.

The North Fort Myers Academy of the Arts started a theatre summer camp 4 years ago. This camp takes on the task of creating a full musical production in the matter of 18 days. With a crew of 15 kids, and a cast of about 40, this is no easy feat. 

This season they put on "Shrek the Musical."

We got in touch with the director and production manager of the show Amy Massari to learn more about the making of this show.

Massari has been directing this summer series since its inception 4 years prior. She remembers their first show, Suessical the Musical, with vivid memory and reflected that Shrek was on par with that first performance. 

Since then, the program has greatly improved and expanded. Now, the program performs 3 separate show as opposed to just one. 

Massari has been in the theatre industry for over 28 years, adding knowledge and experience to the program. She has worked for the Florida Repertory Theater as a director for over 8 years, opened and ran her own Mount Shasta Repertory Theater when her and her husband, Michael Massari, lived in California, among other notable things. 

Also, she has been the director since the beginning of the summer program since its inception 4 years ago, and she hopes to continue to make an impact in the theatre community in Lee County schools.

Her husband was also a contributor to the show building elaborate sets for the Shrek performance. He is also a theatre professional and added that much more to the integrity of the production. 

Massari described her love for theatre, especially for children, stating that theatre provides "real choices in an imaginary situation." There is something special about putting on that costume and becoming another character, Massari noted. Once in front of the audience, the audience is then an additional cast member; they bring forth their energy and it's reciprocated by those performing.


With Shrek, it was a big hit within the community and surroudning summer camps, that always visit to see the production. North Fort Myers Academy of the Arts Principal Tom Millons wasn't able to attend, he was actually busy accepting a prestigious arts academy award, but he told Massari that his phone started lighting up after the first performance of Shrek. Those that had had the opportunity to see the production couldn't help but tell him how outstanding it was.  

One of the most memorable moments for Massari was seeing a young actor who had previously taken a lot of direction and was having trouble processing it all. Massari remembers seeing that moment when the light bulb suddenly switched on for them, and then seeing their gratification with it all. She remembers that all of it happened in front of the audience, and seeing reaction was incredibly meaningful to both her and the young actor.

Since starting the camp 4 years ago, there have been plenty of both new members as well as repeating members. Children from 3rd grade through high school are accepted into the program, though typically the high schoolers are counselors for the camp.

Shrek was the ideal production because there are so many roles where people get to have their own moment, which is always great with a large group. Also, another local high school had performed it a few years ago, so they were able to borrow costumes and alter them, as opposed to starting from scratch, which is a major bonus for such a short program.

There was a great team behind Massari to make this summer program possible, something that she wanted to make sure was noted. Her husband Michael "is an amazing builder and set designer and technical director." She also thanked Angel Dobson, the production's music director, who is an "amazing coordinator."

Director Amy Massari's children,
Caleb and Jesse.

 The cast's choreographer, Tracy, also got a big thank you. She worked with Massari's daughter, Jesse, who will be junior in high school. Jesse was Tracy's assistant choreographer, and actually choreographed a few numbers on her own. Massari vividly remembers a touching moment when Tracy reached out to her saying that she "realized she didn't have an assistant, she had a partner." 

Caleb, Massari's son, ended up playing Donkey and she thoroughly enjoyed seeing him transform into his character, as he is usually more sports-oriented. She wanted to note that the organizers of the show had children in the production, and there is a very strict rule in place where they were barred from casting their own kid, and no there is no disputing allowed. 

Massari hopes to eventually do things throughout the school year as guest artist, to continue with the development of academic youth theatre in the area. Her goal is to encourage sharing more resources within schools, but that's all in the future for now. 

"Theatre and the arts are invaluable to development," Massari told us. "I don't expect all students to grow up to go into acting, though some very well could, but it to gives them such a strong foundation to do whatever they want."  


Keep up with the North Fort Myers Academy of the Arts' next production, "The Lion King," which will be a school production with the school's director and drama teacher Kim Smith. 
Life+Leisure Community
  • 2018 Tour De Cape

    01/21/2018
    08:00AM

    Friday, January 19, 2018 Pre-event packet pick-up celebration at Cape Harbour 5:00 - 8:00pm ...


  • The bounty of fresh, locally produced food is closer than you think! Check out the map for a lis...


  • Sanibel Island Farmer's Market

    01/21/2018
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    The Sanibel Island Farmers Market was established in 2008. It is a favorite outdoor activity for...


  • The Hallelujah Girls

    01/21/2018
    11:45AM

    From the writers of The Dixie Swim Club and The Savannah Sipping Society comes this all-new, roll...


  • Mindful Retirement with Valarie and Nancy

    01/21/2018
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Are you thinking about retirement or enjoying it already? Have some hopes and fears about this ti...


  • Crimes of the Heart

    01/21/2018
    02:00PM

    The tragicomedy relates the story of the three Magrath sisters, Meg, Babe, and Lenny, who reunite...


  • How the Other Half Loves

    01/21/2018
    02:00PM

    Featuring Tony Nominee, Paxton Whitehead! One secret affair, two disastrous dinner parties, and ...


  • The Pajama Game

    01/21/2018
    03:00PM

    Conditions at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory are anything but peaceful as sparks fly between the n...


  • Experience deep relaxation body and soul as you surrender into restorative poses. Linda will shar...


  • The Hallelujah Girls

    01/21/2018
    05:30PM

    From the writers of The Dixie Swim Club and The Savannah Sipping Society comes this all-new, roll...


  • A Tribute To Ella

    01/21/2018
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    A program honoring the “First Lady of Song” with Capathia Jenkins, Aisha de Haas, and Metropolita...


  • The bounty of fresh, locally produced food is closer than you think! Check out the map for a lis...


  • Open Painting at The Paint Escape

    01/23/2018
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Ceramic painting for children and adults, create a decorative item. Friday night offers ladie...


  • December 20, 2017 – February 16, 2018 Opening Reception: Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 6pm-8pm...


  • The Hallelujah Girls

    01/23/2018
    11:45AM

    From the writers of The Dixie Swim Club and The Savannah Sipping Society comes this all-new, roll...


  • Surfside Sunset Market

    01/23/2018
    01:00PM — 06:00PM

    The Surfside Sunset Market is located at The Shops at Surfside. From November through April, the ...


  • Wicked Dolphin Distillery Tour

    01/23/2018
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    We will take you through the steps of how we source our ingredients, cook, ferment, distill, in o...


  • The Hallelujah Girls

    01/23/2018
    05:30PM

    From the writers of The Dixie Swim Club and The Savannah Sipping Society comes this all-new, roll...


  • Complete original art while enjoying friends, music and favorite beverages. Materials provided, o...


  • How the Other Half Loves

    01/23/2018
    07:00PM

    Featuring Tony Nominee, Paxton Whitehead! One secret affair, two disastrous dinner parties, and ...


  • Noises Off

    01/23/2018
    07:30PM

    “Noises Off” is a laugh-out-loud farce surrounding an opening night performance of a play called ...


  • The bounty of fresh, locally produced food is closer than you think! Check out the map for a lis...


  • Open Painting at The Paint Escape

    01/25/2018
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Ceramic painting for children and adults, create a decorative item. Friday night offers ladie...


  • December 20, 2017 – February 16, 2018 Opening Reception: Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 6pm-8pm...


  • Medication Q&A

    01/25/2018
    11:15AM — 12:15PM

    Join American House Ft. Myers at the University Grill for an interactive and informational Q&A se...


  • The Hallelujah Girls

    01/25/2018
    11:45AM

    From the writers of The Dixie Swim Club and The Savannah Sipping Society comes this all-new, roll...


  • Wicked Dolphin Distillery Tour

    01/25/2018
    03:00PM — 04:00PM

    We will take you through the steps of how we source our ingredients, cook, ferment, distill, in o...


  • The Hallelujah Girls

    01/25/2018
    05:30PM

    From the writers of The Dixie Swim Club and The Savannah Sipping Society comes this all-new, roll...


  • Complete original art while enjoying friends, music and favorite beverages. Materials provided, o...


  • How the Other Half Loves

    01/25/2018
    07:00PM

    Featuring Tony Nominee, Paxton Whitehead! One secret affair, two disastrous dinner parties, and ...


  • Noises Off

    01/25/2018
    07:30PM

    “Noises Off” is a laugh-out-loud farce surrounding an opening night performance of a play called ...


  • 16th Annual Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival

    01/26/2018
    05:00PM — 10:00PM

    Fort Myers Recreation Division and Celtic Heritage Productions invite you to “Don your Tartan” an...


  • 16th Annual Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival

    01/27/2018
    11:00AM — 10:00PM

    Fort Myers Recreation Division and Celtic Heritage Productions invite you to “Don your Tartan” an...


  • ArtFest Fort Myers

    02/02/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    ArtFest Fort Myers is best known for its annual juried fine art festival, which nurtures the arti...


  • ArtFest Fort Myers

    02/03/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    ArtFest Fort Myers is best known for its annual juried fine art festival, which nurtures the arti...


  • ArtFest Fort Myers

    02/04/2018
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    ArtFest Fort Myers is best known for its annual juried fine art festival, which nurtures the arti...


  • December 20, 2017 – February 16, 2018 Opening Reception: Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 6pm-8pm...


Proudly Brought To You By These Community Sponsors