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'Shrek' will tug at your heartstrings

Sep. 05, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The next big show to take the stage in Huntington will be "Shrek: The Musical," a Broadway show packed with 19 songs and based on the beloved animated Oscar Award-winning DreamWorks film.

Put on by Curtains Up Players, "Shrek: The Musical," will be at Jeslyn Performing Arts Center, 1030 4th Ave., Huntington, at 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, Sept. 5-6 and Sept. 12-14. Matinee shows will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturdays, Sept. 7 and 14, and Sunday, Sept. 15.

Tickets are $15, $12 for students and seniors and $10 for groups of 10 or more.

To learn more about the show, Chuck Minsker's The Tri-State Theater blog at The Herald-Dispatch (http://herald-dispatchblogs05.blogspot.com/) is shining a light on several of the actors in the play.

Minsker, who has worked with many local theater groups and has directed 11 shows including "All Grown Up: A Benefit Concert," "Disney's The Little Mermaid, Jr." and "Les Miserables: School Edition," catches up with Ryan Jackson, the guy tackling the title role of a big, green and mean ogre.

MINSKER: Tell us the basic story of the musical comedy Shrek.

JACKSON: The story essentially follows the plot of the first "Shrek" movie, but also includes some background as to how and why Shrek and Fiona end up the way that they do. It also expands upon the movie's central theme and message which is acceptance and tolerance. Additionally, it expands upon the lives of the fairytale creatures that find themselves on Shrek's swamp and pokes and prods into the bedtime fairytale stories our parents read to us every night. In the end, Shrek presents a very relatable and relevant message - one of tolerance and acceptance of the differences of ourselves and others.

MINSKER: Tell us about the character you play.

JACKSON: I am portraying Shrek in "Shrek: The Musical," who has a huge chip on his shoulder and has been dealt a bad hand in the card game called life. He has lived his life in isolation and has constantly been tormented by those who fear and despise him. However, when he meets an annoying donkey and a feisty princess, he discovers that despite all of his previous interactions with the outside world, there is a chance that he could possibly find a place in the world.

MINSKER: What's your favorite part (or song) in the show?

JACKSON: My favorite part and song is "Freak Flag." Although Shrek is absent from this scene, this song perfectly displays the message that is the focal point of the show, which is acceptance and tolerance. We should embrace our differences and accept the differences of others.

MINSKER: Why did you want to be part of this show?

JACKSON: I wanted to be part of this show because it was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and Shrek is a role that I can really relate to. Plus everyone should have a shot at being a hero.

MINSKER: This is a new show, never staged in this area -- are you excited to be part of the first local cast to tackle it?

JACKSON: It is really exciting to be the first local theatre in the region to tackle this massive and extremely elaborate show. But with the production and directing staff that is involved, there is no other group of people that I would trust to put on a truly magnificent show.

MINSKER: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?

JACKSON: I would recommend this show because it is appropriate for all ages. Bring your kids, parents or grandparents. Shrek is chock full of humor that will please audience members of all ages. The score is full of upbeat and exciting music as well as songs that will tug at your heartstrings. It is just an all-around amazing show.

'Shrek' that theater

The Curtains Up Players are presenting "Shrek The Musical," this weekend and next. Here's some more info on it.

WHAT: Based on the Oscar Award-winning DreamWorks animation, "Shrek The Musical," features a score of 19 all-new songs, big laughs, great dancing scenery

WHERE: Jeslyn Performing Arts Center, 1030 4th Ave., Huntington

WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, Sept. 5-6 and Sept. 12-14. Matinee shows will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturdays, Sept. 7 and 14, and Sunday, Sept. 15.

HOW MUCH: $15, $12 seniors and students and $10 for groups of 10 or more

ON THE WEB: www.curtainsupplayers.org

CAST: Ryan Jackson, Kaitlin DeSpain, Mark Radford, David Vickers, Ethan Terry, Sarena Johnson, Ivy Idzakovich, Brooklyn Nelson, London Donahoe, Maggie Donahoe, Andrew Surber, Michael "Gibbie" Gibson, Ryan Vickers, Melanie Manchester, Andrew Potter, Cindy Westbrook, Kelsey Anderson, Laura Clagg, Katie Fulks, Audrey Fosson, Dylan Hermann-Holt, Maddie Johnson

BEHIND THE SCENES: Director, Holly Maynard; producers, Shayne Gue and Cody Vinson; musical director, Michael Rose; production stage manager, Crystal Clagg; assistant stage manager, Chris Johnson and technical director, Rachel Noe-Maynard

ABOUT THE SHOW: Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film that started it all, "Shrek The Musical" brings the hilarious story of everyone's favorite ogre to life on stage. In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre - not a handsome prince - shows up to rescue a feisty princess. 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. Luckily, there's one on hand... and his name is Shrek.