Aesthetically Speaking

Children’s Theater Company extends ‘Shrek the Musical’

ansaheadshot200x200Show extended through June 15

Acclaimed director Peter Rothstein, (“Cabaret,” “Theatre Latté Da”) has brought “Shrek the Musical” to life on the Children’s Theater Company (CTC) UnitedHealth Group Stage.

With a seasoned cast including Reed Sigmund (Shrek), Autumn Ness and Ansa Akyea, incredible scenic and costume designs, choreography by Michael Matthew Ferrell and Tony-nominated music, “Shrek” runs at the CTC, 2400 3rd Ave. S., Minneapolis until June 15.

While the Broadway play “Shrek the Musical” premiered six years ago, audiences can look forward to a fresh production at the CTC, which will take elements of the Broadway, London and touring productions.

“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,” said Rothstein.

Though Rothstein and Ferrell are excited to bring the spectacle of a big show to the 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.”

“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,” said Artistic Director Peter C. Brosius. “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.”

reed-sigmund200x200Sigmund, who plays Shrek, must have a thing for green as he was recently The Grinch in CTC’s “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“(Shrek) is the role Reed Sigmund was born to play,” said Brosius.

autumn-ness200x200Sigmund is joined by his real-life wife, Autumn Ness, as Princess Fiona. 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.

“These actors have incredible comic chops but also know how to find the heart and the vulnerability in their characters,” said Rothstein.

“Shrek” first made a splash at the movie theater 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 fairytale misfits, and you’ve got an imaginative adventure story about self-discovery and celebrating the ogre in all of us.

“Shrek the Musical” began April 22 and due to strong ticket sales was extended one week through June 15. Tickets for the all ages show are on sale at or (612) 874-0400.

The Children’s Theatre Company 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 theater companies in the nation.

May 5, 2014
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