BWW Interviews: SHREK THE MUSICAL Cast at Old Opera House Discuss Making the Modern Fairy Tale

BWW Interviews: SHREK THE MUSICAL Cast at Old Opera House Discuss Making the Modern Fairy Tale

The holiday season is an ideal time for fairy tales. But have you heard the hilarious story about an ogre, a princess with a secret, a smart-mouthed donkey and a swamp full of quirky fairy tale creatures this holiday season?

Directed by Steven Brewer, musically directed by Alison Shafer and choreographed by Ashley Snow, Shrek: The Musical will open this weekend at the Old Opera House in Charles Town, West Virginia.

Shrek: The Musical follows the story of the well-known 2001 movie almost identically. Shrek (Edgar Conn) is a misjudged ogre who lives alone in a swamp.....until tyrannical ruler Lord Farquaad (Shawn Nakia) evicts all of the "reject" fairy tale creatures in the kingdom of Duloc (including the Three Bears, the Three Pigs, Pinocchio and many others) onto Shrek's muddy home. In order to win back his land, Shrek must rescue the not so typical damsel-in-distress, Princess Fiona (KariLee Grossnickle), from a dragon guarded castle, with the help of his wise-cracking donkey (Andrew McClain).

"The best part of this production has been playing such a great and well loved character. This has been a dream role that came to fruition. Plus, the music, the sets, and every aspect of this show look and sound amazing" said Edgar Conn.

The musical is a very large-scale production, with grand sets, costumes and props to help tell this enormous fairy tale. Many cast members had to get used to moving in elaborate costume pieces, such as fat suits, or discovering new methods of moving.

"The most challenging and enjoyable thing about playing Pinocchio is trying to embody the character. Puppets have a limited range of movement, which forces me to think about my natural movement and how I would movie with approximately thirteen joints" said Ryan Perry about playing Pinocchio.

" It has been difficult living up to the expectations people have of Shrek! He's a household name and is known for his gruffness and his Scottish accent, which were both aspects I needed to work on as an actor." said Conn.

"The entire process has really been enjoyable with this show. I love working with some of the same people that I have [worked with] in previous shows and I have seen these actors grow as well as working with new folks. It's a great group of talented people" said Rene Farabaugh, who plays the Wicked Witch and other ensemble roles.

The cast is eagerly preparing for opening night and cannot wait to share the message of this unusual modern fairytale with an audience.

"Shrek: The Musical is not only a family show, but it is a wonderful show for people from any walk of life! It's all about embracing who you are and embracing your inner freak." said Conn.

"It is a family friendly show with fun songs and a positive message about identity and embracing your own unique qualities" said Perry.

Shrek: The Musical features Karen Paone as the Dragon, Eli Viands as Young Shrek, Jenna Kennedy as Young Fiona and, Holly Legg, Alan Harner, Andy Kennedy, Megan West, Kevin Tester, Charlie Perkins, Bruce Olson, Gabrielle Tokach, Katie Kennedy, Amanda Willis, Sarah Celec, Donnie Cruse, Keith Shifflet, Meaghan Barry, Glenn Frail, Michael George, James Wright, Christine Brewer, August Burzio, Sydney Clark, Keely Clocker and Kyle Perkins as various fairy tale creatures and ensemble members.

Shrek: The Musical will run December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 8:00 P.M., December 19 at 7:30 PM and December 8, 15 and 22 at 2:30 PM. Tickets are $19.00 for all Friday and Saturday evening shows, $17.00 for the Thursday evening show and $15 for the Sunday matinee performances. Student tickets are $10 for all performances. All performances occur at the Old Opera House, 204 N George St., Charles Town, West Virginia. For more information or to reserve tickets, please call (304) 725-4420 or visit

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Johnna Leary Johnna Leary is a vocal performance musical theatre major at Shepherd University. She is the Arts and Styles Section Editor of the Shepherd University newspaper, The Picket. She previously wrote for The Brooke Scene as a student news correspondent and interned at the Contemporary American Theater Festival. Johnna frequently performs in educational and local theater productions. Her favorite roles include Johanna (u/s) and Young Lucy in Sweeney Todd at Shepherd, Isabel in Scrooge! The Musical and Mallory/Avril in City of Angels at the Old Opera House, Amy March in Little Women at the Apollo Civic Theater and Olive Ostrovsky in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Lily St. Regis in Annie at the Washington County Playhouse. Johnna is also active in many performing organizations, serving as secretary for Scene Stealers, the student-run musical theatre performance group and a member of the Vocal Jazz Octet, Women's Camerata, Masterworks Chorale and Sigma Alpha Iota at Shepherd University.

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