Slow Burn Theatre Company, which has won nine Carbonell Awards for Theatrical Excellence with 73 nominations since becoming eligible in 2013, will open its 2019-2020 season with a monster hit starring everyone’s favorite ogre. JetBlue presents Shrek The Musical sponsored by American National Bank at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts Friday, October 25-Sunday, November 10.
Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation motion picture and the book by William Steig, the Tony Award-winning musical features all new songs from Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie; Caroline, or Change) and a hilarious book by David Lindsay-Abaire.
It’s happily from start to ever-after for audiences in this funny fairy tale world of adventure and romance when an ogre and his sidekick donkey set off to rescue a temperamental princess from her tower. Throw in a short-tempered bad guy, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits and you’ve got an irreverent production that’s fun for the whole family.
The cast is headed by Wesley Slade as Shrek, Carbonell winner Clay Cartland as Lord Farquad, Kimmi Johnson as the adult Fiona, Reynel Reynaldo as Donkey and Matthew Korinko as the Big Bad Wolf. They are joined by a talented cast featuring: Jerel Brown; Lauren Didato; Nicolette Quintero; Nicole Kinzel; Cindy Pearce; Samantha O’Donnell; Kristi Rose Mills; Alexandra Frost; Trevor Wayne, Brian Piedra; Mark Parello, Jr; Sahid Pabon; Ellie Rose Pulsifer; Miranda Ferreira; Randall Swinton; and Zachary Weinstein.
Slow Burn Theatre Artistic Director Patrick Fitzwater will direct and choreograph the production as he heads a creative team that includes music director Michael Ursua, scenic designer Kelly Tighe, costume designer Dawn Shamburger and lighting designer Jose Santiago.
At what age did you begin performing and how did it happen?
I started performing at 10. I always knew I wanted to, but didn’t know I could. My mom found an ad in the newspaper and I missed the audition. But I called the director, and he let me in the show, and the rest is history.
What was your first professional role?
I played Otto in Spring Awakening at the Southern Rep Theater in New Orleans. It was really cool, it was part of a series and I got paid $200 and a Starbucks Gift Card.
How did you get cast in this Shrek the Musical and have you worked for Slow Burn before?
I am a virgin for Slow Burn, but I have always wanted to work for them. I went in an auditioned, and I followed up and sent in videos and luckily they liked me enough!
Knowing that this is such an iconic movie role, is there additional pressure on you to play Shrek?
You know not so much because when they took it to Broadway, Brian Darcy James made it more theatrical and I am taking a page from his book.
So how hard is the makeup?
I have a helmet and three different prosthetic pieces and then whatever is exposed gets airbrushed. It’s a process. It takes about 2 hours, and we are hoping to get it down to an hour and a half.
Other than this role, what has been your favorite to play?
I have been very lucky to do a lot of roles that meant a lot to me. But I guess my favorite is when I played Jason/Tyrone in “Hand to God” at the GableStage.
What is your fantasy role?
The role I would want to play most is Max Bialystok in “The Producers.” I know I am a little young for it, but it was the role that made me want to do theater.
What should our readers expect from this production of Shrek the Musical?
It’s a show for the whole family, not just kids. If you love the movie it has everything from the movie plus more. It has lots of farts (LOL) and it’s a fairytale that is beautiful. I feel that the production bettered upon the movie.
If you want to find out more about Wesley, follow him at: Instagram.com/WesleySlade
The full production will be presented in a sensory-friendly performance on Saturday, November 2 at 2 p.m. that is specially designed for individuals with sensory processing and autism spectrum disorders.
Tickets are $49-$65 with tickets to the sensory-friendly performance on Saturday, November 2 at 2 pm priced at $15 with a $5 per ticket discount available when purchased two weeks prior to the performance. Ticketmaster is the only official ticketing service of the Broward Center, Parker Playhouse and affiliated venues. Buy tickets online at BrowardCenter.org or Ticketmaster.com; by phone at 954.462.0222 or the Broward Center’s AutoNation Box Office.