It's quite the challenge to play a green ogre in the touring production of "Shrek the Musical." Perry Sook jokes that he puts on 7 pounds of makeup and 65 pounds of costumes to play the famous role.
He also re-watched the four "Shrek" animated films to make sure he got the character's mannerisms and speech patterns down. He doesn't want to disappoint fans of the series.
Sook and the other 22 cast members in NETworks Presentations' touring show perform five shows at Modesto's Gallo Center for the Arts from March 8-10.
Written by Jeanine Tesori (music) and David Lindsay-Abaire (book and lyrics), the musical closely follows the original 2001 Oscar-winning animated film and features the same characters including a feisty princess, a talkative donkey and a villain with a short temper. Plus, it gives some additional backstory on the characters beyond what was revealed in the films.
There are also 19 new songs, lots of comedy and eye-catching dancing. It moves briskly and appeals to all ages, Sook said. "We've had whole families love it," he said.
Incidentally, there is a Central Valley connection to the show. Oakdale's Colleen Hawks-Pierce played the fairy godmother and the bluebird in the Broadway production. Hawks-Pierce performed in Modesto last summer, playing Reno Sweeney in Modesto Performing Arts' staging of the musical "Anything Goes" at the Gallo Center.
Sook, who graduated from high school in 2010 and is taking a break from studying musical theater at the University of Oklahoma, said he has been a big fan of the original "Shrek" movie since he was a child. He loves the show's message: "It's great to be who you are."
Sook says he's honored and blessed to be playing such a great role at such a young age, and he enjoys touring the country with the cast. "It's great waking up in a different place every day," he said. "I'm getting to see the whole nation and getting to see places I wouldn't necessarily go to."
Sook enjoys seeing the audiences' reactions to the show. There are lots of great scenes, including when the giant dragon comes out and when all the fairy tale creatures sing a song together.
As directed by Steven Sposito, the show is very true to the original 2008 Broadway production. The sets are the same used in New York and in the show's first national tour, Sook said.
"The production is great quality," Sook said. "It's very fun and it looks like a full Broadway production."
WHAT: "Shrek the Musical"
WHEN: 8 p.m. March 8; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. March 9; and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 10
WHERE: Rogers Theater, Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto
TICKETS: $29-$99; buy one adult ticket, get one youth ticket free
CALL: (209) 338-2100