By Monikha Reyes, 10th Grade, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts Have you ever…felt like you weren’t normal?
Shrek the Musical brings out the child in all of us. Sticking closely to the popular book and movies, this modern fairytale shows the importance of never judging a human, animal or ogre by its exterior. Shrek is forced to rescue Princess Fiona in order to keep his swamp to himself and on his journey learns to accept himself and the creatures around him.
Princess Fiona, the alternative damsel in distress played by Sutton Foster, is quite a character. She tries to be the perfect princess by sitting still and looking pretty, but all she really wants to do is burp and fart. She feels comfortable and happy with Shrek, but these feels conflict with what she’s always believed.
Sutton Foster took a moment to talk to PxP about her role in the new musical.
What is the message of Shrek?
Shrek is about not judging a book by its cover. It’s all about misconceptions – the big bad wolf isn’t really bad, the wicked witch isn’t really wicked and the princess isn’t all she seems. It’s all about embracing who are you are on the inside and letting your freak flag fly!
How does Princess Fiona define beauty?
Fiona struggles with this. She’s raised as a princess and to believe all of the storybooks that she grows up reading in her tower. It’s confusing for her. She thinks that she has to be this one way, but yet constantly struggles with it. By meeting and falling in love with Shrek, she learns to truly accept who she is on the inside. Shrek says a beautiful line to her at the end of the show:
She finally realizes that to be truly beautiful, you don’t have to look a certain way. You can be beautiful in many ways.
Absolutely! I think we all can. As women, we’re surrounded by magazines telling us what’s supposed to be beautiful or sexy or attractive or desirable, and we have to work very hard to find strength and our individuality and to be confident with who we are and what we look like.
Being an actor, people have preconceptions of what I’m supposed to look like or what I’m supposed to be like, and I’m all about just trying to be as authentic to myself as possible.
What is it like to burp and fart onstage?
It’s always been a dream of mine. My favorite part of it is the way that the audience responds. They often can’t believe that it’s happening! It’s really fun just to be able to tilt your butt.
I think that scene’s pretty ingenious. I just love that it becomes a fart-off. It begins as a challenge, but Shrek and Fiona realize what they have in common and fall in love with each other. It’s so ridiculous, but pretty great.
Did you see the movie before you started to work on Shrek?
I’ve only seen the first one.
Has that influenced your interpretation of Princess Fiona?
Definitely. I feel like these characters were created so iconically, so my job was to honor a character already created. At the same time, going from an animated film to a live theatrical production, we had a lot of creative license to really make the characters our own. It was nice to have a template to bounce off of while bringing the characters to physical life.
What do you think makes a hero?
I think a true hero is someone who’s true to themselves and true to their friends and is kind. That’s what Shrek is. It’s not about scaling tours or fighting dragons – it’s about trying and dreaming big and being authentic.
Take as many opportunities as you can. Never stop learning. Learn from your peers and also from your teachers. Be kind to the people you work with. Be open to new ideas, new ways of thinking. Always be really willing to learn.
How to see the show: $26.50 lottery rush at M&M;’s World, 1600 Broadway; $36.50 student rush • Broadway Theatre, 1681 Broadway. For schedule and more information, visit www.shrekthemusical.com