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The Suburbanite
  • Playing a swamp ogre in ‘Shrek’ musical is a big task

  • It’s not easy being green, confirms Perry Sook, who has the title role in “Shrek The Musical.”

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  • It’s not easy being green, confirms Perry Sook, who has the title role in “Shrek The Musical,” heading next week to the University of Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall.
    Prior to each performance of the touring Broadway production, based on the 2001 animated comedy hit, Sook undergoes an hour and 15 minutes of makeup to transform him into everyone’s favorite chartreuse ogre. An additional 25 minutes is required just to put on his multilayered Shrek costume.
    “All in all it’s about 70 pounds of additional weight, including a 54-pound fat suit and massive shoes to give me extra height. The makeup itself weighs seven pounds,” Sook said, via telephone from his hotel room in Toronto. “It’s a physically demanding show for everyone. None of the costumes are easy to move around in.”
    Q. Sounds like quite a workout for you.
    A. “I played football for 12 years, and I’ll tell you it is as hard to get through this show as it ever was to get through football practice. It’s a physically demanding show for everyone. None of the costumes are easy to move around in.”
    Q. Is the musical based on the first “Shrek” movie?
    A. “It follows along very strictly to the plot of the first movie, with Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and Farquaad, but it adds back story and depth to the characters to make it a more complete and visceral stage experience.”
    Q. Can you describe the musical score? Is it traditional Broadway-style or more pop-rock?
    A. “The score reflects all the different zany characters by having many different styles. There’s some very Broadway show-stopper type stuff, but a lot of varying themes within the music.”
    Q. Are the characters played very similar to the ones in the movie?
    A. “There’s a fine line of balancing the iconic character from the Dreamworks film and putting your own twist on it. We follow pretty close to the movie, but there’s so much more because they’re coming to life before your eyes. There’s something that’s really magical about an ogre and a donkey and a dragon walking onstage in front of you.”
    Q. I haven’t seen the Broadway musical “Shrek” yet, but I just watched a video clip that looked very fun and visually elaborate.
    A. “We are very fortunate to have Steve Sposito  as our director. He’s been with ‘Shrek’ since it started in New York, and he’s given us the best form of the show possible to take out on tour.”
    Q. So you mentioned you played football and you’re an actor.
    A. “I played football throughout my youth and in high school at Southlake Carroll in Texas, which is super competitive. But I’ve also done theater all my life since I was 4 years old, and maybe I’ll do it forever. I went to the school of musical theater at the University of Oklahoma, then I booked this tour my sophomore year.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Q. How did you get the role of Shrek? Looking at your photo, you’re not an obvious choice.
    A. “I spent last summer working at a playhouse in New Hampshire with a member of the ‘Shrek’ ensemble and he got an email that they were still looking for Shrek and Farquaad. From that, I got an audition appointment in New York, and I did an audition and a round of callbacks.”
    Q. Is it tough doing a tour that is traveling as much as this one?
    A. “It’s definitely difficult with this demanding of a show. You have to have body and voice in peak performance shape, and really be careful to treat yourself right. You are the product people are buying.”