Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Take a trip to the land of fairy tales this month, when the national touring company brings the Tony Award winning Broadway show “Shrek the Musical” to the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts in Portsmouth on Jan. 31.
The show is based on William Steig’s 1990 children’s book, “Shrek!” which inspired the 2001 computer-animated movie from Dreamworks Pictures starring Michael Myers, Eddie Murphy, John Lithgow and Cameron Diaz. The story centers around Shrek, an unseemly ogre – not a handsome prince – who shows up to rescue a feisty Princess Fiona. Throw in a donkey who won’t shut up, a villain with a short temper, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero.
“Ever since they translated ‘The Lion King’ to stage, they have found ways to bring the elements of animation onto the stage,” said Dr. Timothy Scheurer, interim director of the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. “In fact, there’s something kind of interesting about when you take something like that and put it on stage, it’s almost magic because it’s live. If you’ve seen ‘Wicked,’ it’s kind of the same thing. There’s this magical element because the special effects are being done live. So it’s almost more exciting than it is in the film.”
The 2001 film was nominated for six BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Awards, 12 Annie Awards from the International Animated Film Association, and in March 2002 won the very first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The success of the show spawned three sequels — “Shrek 2” (2004), “Shrek the Third” (2007), and “Shrek Forever After” (2010), as well as one spin-off movie (“Puss in Boots,” 2011), two TV specials, and 25 video games.
“Shrek the Musical” opened on Broadway in Dec. 2008, with music by Jeanine Tesori and lyrics and playbook by David Lindsay-Abaire. The show was nominated for seven Tony Awards in 2009 and won one Tony for Best Costume Design. The performance continued on Broadway until January 2010 when it began a international Off-Broadway tour, and on Jan. 31 that tour comes to the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth.
Featuring a score of 19 all-new songs, big laughs and dancing, the national tour production of “Shrek the Musical” is part romance and part twisted fairy tale. The touring cast includes Perry Sook as Shrek, Katie Tompkins as Young Shrek, Whitney Winfield as Princess Fiona, Maggie Tompkins as Young Fiona, Tony Johnson as Pinocchio, Jeremy Gaston as Donkey, Christopher Marriner as Lord Farquaad, Schuyler Midgett as Teen Fiona, Courtney Daniels as Dragon, and Katie Tompkins as Dwarf.
“This is one of the things that is really kind of special about what the Center is able to bring to town. These are Broadway roadshows coming to town. You’re seeing essentially what was done on the Broadway stage, and you’re seeing it for a price that you’ll never see it on Broadway. You’re seeing for a price you will not see it in a bigger market like Cincinnati or Columbus. If people from Portsmouth would drive to Columbus to see this show, they’d see this exact same show and they will pay more for the ticket there. It’s great for this community to have this,” Scheurer said.
“Shrek the Musical” is the latest in the 2012-13 Southern Ohio Performing Arts Association (SOPAA) performing at the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth. The SOPAA season began with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 14, 2012, followed by The Ohio State University Marching Band on Nov. 7, 2012, and Empire Brass on Dec. 7, 2012. Following Shrek this month, the SOPAA season will continue with Ailey II dance company on March 2, 2013, “A Chorus Line” on March 7, 2013, Pianist Stewart Goodyear on March 21, 2013, “The Addams Family” on April 1, 2013, and Classical guitarist Sharon Isbin closes the season on April 23, 2013.
Scheurer said SOPAA is already planning next year’s show season, which will feature another exciting line-up of Broadway shows.
“Shrek the Musical,” comes to the to the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts in Portsmouth on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, at 8 p.m.
“We’re excited and we think it’s a show that’s going to have very wide appeal, and I think it’s going to be fun for people to see how they pull off special effects. I think it will be great fun,” Scheurer said.
Lower-tier tickets cost $16 for children 12 and under, $50 for adults, $46 for seniors age 60 and older, $39 for students and $41 for Shawnee State University alumni. Upper-tier tickets cost $14 for children 12 and under, $48 for adults, $44 for seniors age 60 and older, $36 for students and $39 for Shawnee State University alumni. Tickets for individual shows are available at Ticketmaster locations and at www.ticketmaster.com, or at the McKinley Box Office in the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts and by phone at 740-351-3600.
For more information about “Shrek the Musical,” visit the Southern Ohio Performing Arts Association online at www.sopaa.org, or the touring company’s website at shrekthemusicalontour.com.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.