SHREK THE MUSICAL Heads to Children's Theatre Company Today

SHREK THE MUSICAL Heads to Children's Theatre Company Today

Acclaimed director Peter Rothstein (Cabaret, Theatre Latte? Da) will bring a magnetic Shrek the Musical to life on CTC's UnitedHealth Group Stage beginning today, April 22. With a seasoned cast including Reed Sigmund, Autumn Ness and Ansa Akyea, incredible scenic and costume designs, choreography by Michael Matthew Ferrell and Tony-nominated music, Shrek is an ogre-sized musical with an equally big soul, sure to delight everyone from the very young to the young at heart.

While the Broadway play Shrek the Musical premiered six years ago in 2008, audiences can look forward to a fresh production at CTC, which will take elements of the Broadway, London and touring productions. Says Director Peter Rothstein, "Our version of the script and score is unique-it hasn't been performed in this iteration anywhere else." Rothstein and team have been working with the show's original writers, who, Rothstein enthuses, "have been incredibly collaborative."

Though Rothstein and Ferrell are excited to bring the spectacle of a big show to CTC for spring, Rothstein is quick to point out the many complexities in Shrek the Musical: "The central theme is a poignant one: 'happily ever after' shouldn't only be for princes and princesses. The story celebrates the misfits and the outcasts in this fairytale world and expands the definition of beauty."

Artistic Director Peter C. Brosius echoes that sentiment, saying, "With all of the story's irreverent humor and fairytale setting, people sometimes forget the important journey of self-discovery that all the characters embark on." As Artistic Director, Brosius strives to balance CTC's theatrical seasons between a mix of new, challenging work and family-friendly musicals that don't skimp on wit, intelligence, and integrity, all of which he found in Shrek: "I mean, there's a number called 'Let Your Freak Flag Fly'! The idea of celebrating one's difference...it's a brilliant message to send to young people."

The titular Ogre-turned-hero is played by CTC Acting Company member Reed Sigmund, recently also seen in green as the Grinch in CTC's Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. CTC Artistic Director Peter C. Brosius claims that the ill-mannered, malodorous Shrek is "the role Reed Sigmund was born to play." Sigmund will be joined by his real-life wife Autumn Ness as Princess Fiona, who, for all of the Princess's classical beauty, guards a sensitive secret. Celebrated actor Ansa Akyea plays Shrek's sometime-friend and loyal companion Donkey, and Adam Qualls, himself a former CTC Performing Apprentice, plays the evil Lord Farquaad. Director Peter Rothstein emphasizes, "These actors have incredible comic chops but also know how to find the heart and the vulnerability in their characters."

Shrek first made a splash at the movie theatre box office in 2001, and was hailed by critics as a witty fairytale mash-up with humor to appeal to all ages. In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, the diminutive Lord Farquaad hires the unseemly Ogre, Shrek, to rescue the feisty Princess Fiona to be his bride. But their journey back to Farquaad's home, Duloc, is anything but straightforward! Throw in a donkey who won't shut up, a cookie with an attitude, a stage-sized Dragon and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you've got an imaginative adventure story about self-discovery and celebrating the Ogre in all of us.

Shrek the Musical is based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture of the book by William Steig with music by Tony-nominated Jeanine Tesori (Drama Desk Awards for Twelfth Night and Caroline, or Change) and book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize-winning David Lindsay-Abaire (Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Rabbit Hole).

Shrek the Musical will begin April 22 and due to enormously strong ticket sales has already been extended one week through June 15 with Opening Night on Friday, April 25. Shrek the Musical is recommended for all ages. Tickets are on sale now. For more information, visit childrenstheatre.org or call the Ticket Office at 612.874.0400. Shrek the Musical is proudly sponsored by UnitedHealth Group Foundation, with media partner Star Tribune.

Children's Theatre Company (CTC) is the only theatre for young people to win the coveted Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater (2003). Founded in 1965, CTC serves 250,000 people annually and is one of the 20 largest regional theatre companies in the nation. The company is noted for defining worldwide standards for youth theatre with an innovative mix of classic tales, distinguished international productions and challenging new work. In 2015-16, CTC will celebrate its 50th anniversary season.

Pictured: Autumn Ness and Reed Sigmund. Photo by Dan Norman.

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