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Pinocchio (junior Michaela Pippin) is banished from Duloc to the swamp. Liberty High School opens the musical "Shrek" Feb. 21 through March 7. (Photo by Staci Harpole)

BRENTWOOD -- Liberty High School scored two firsts with its spring play, "Shrek, the Musical." Not only is it the first school in Northern California to put on the production, but it is the first time the school has held a "relaxed" performance designed for families with special needs children.

With music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, "Shrek, the Musical" is based on the 2001 DreamWorks film "Shrek," and William Steig's 1990 book "Shrek!"

The musical, which opened Feb. 21, continues this weekend at Allan E. Jones Performing Arts Center on the Liberty campus, but the "relaxed" performance is set for 10 a.m. Saturday only.

Relaxed performances are specifically designed to welcome people with a learning disability, Down's Syndrome, Autisim Spectrum Condition or sensory and communication disorders, to the joy of live theater, according to Helen Dixon, director. Such performances are typically shorter in length, and there is a relaxed attitude on stage from the actors toward noise and movement.

Other adjustments are made to sound and lighting and other elements of the show that may be frightening are toned down, she said.

There will be free support resources to help families prepare for the visit. Resources are available on the LHS Playmakers website at http://libertyunion.schoolwires.net/playmakers.


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In addition, volunteers and staff who are familiar with working with people with special needs will be there to help during the musical.

Seating will be set aside with ASL translators for audience members with hearing disabilities as well as a "time out area" with a screen streaming the action on stage.

Tickets are $5.50 for children 18 and under and $8.50 for adults.

Reach Judith Prieve at 925-779-7178.