Dreamworks film hits the stage

“Shrek: the Musical” is based on the Dreamworks animated movie of the same name.

The plot centers on an ogre named Shrek who is being forced by the tyrant, Lord Farquad, to rescue Princess Fiona from her tower and return her to Lord Farquad in order for Shrek receive the deed back to his swamp.

The show’s director, Richard Davis, said that the movie is a starting point and everything has to be created from there.

He said he wants the production, which opens Friday at the Erie Playhouse, to remain true to the film, but he also wants to take his own artistic liberties.

“It’s a great show,” Davis said. “It’s really fun, and it’s fun to work on.

“It is just very well-written – it’s slick and it has a great score.”

The actors in “Shrek: The Musical” want to stay true to the characters in the movie while making their characters their own.

“Playing one of these characters is stressful, because people will walk into the theater with an idea of how they should look and how they should sound,” Patrick Theim (Farquad) said.

“As an actor, I don’t want to make a carbon copy what has been done by John Lithgow [in the movies] and by Christopher Sieber [on Broadway]. I want to make the character my own but stay true to the cartoon version of Farquad.”

“Shrek” poses a huge challenge for the Erie Playhouse. The show involves many technical aspects audiences do not commonly see.

Davis said that one of the challenges is the costumes have to make the actors look like cartoon characters.

There are also puppets in this rendition, including a dragon and the gingerbread man.

“Shrek” has many interesting costumes. One of the most distinctive costumes belongs to Lord Farquad. Theim said he will be on his knees doing choreography and movement the entire show because he is a 5-foot 10-inch. man, playing a 3-foot tall king.

“I have worn a wide range of things on stage, from being dressed as a woman with wig and…. everything, to a costume that has arms and legs that get chopped off, but never have I had a costume as fun as the one I am wearing as Farquad,” Theim said.

“I will be on my knees the entire show with dressing behind that hides my legs and really looks fantastic.”

Other costume challenges include Shrek and Fiona’s facial prosthetics that need to be glued on every night.

Shrek and Donkey will spend the entire show in heavy costumes with material that does not breathe well.

The fairy tale creatures also have heavy costumes and some extremely quick changes.

The people involved in “Shrek: The Musical” said they expect the show to be a smash and are anticipating a large audience each night.

The playhouse’s marketing director, Sue Lechner, said, “Shrek” appeals to a wide range of individuals and she expects to see audience members from many age groups.”

“This is not a Youtheatre production and you don’t need to bring children to enjoy,” Theim said. “Come and check out Shrek!”

The Erie Playhouse will perform “Shrek: The Musical” Friday and Saturday as well as Sept. 25-28, and Oct. 1-4. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.



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