Sprout: In the Shrek movies, we're never quite sure if Dragon will be a villain, hero or a little bit of both -- what can you tell us about Dragon's role in Shrek the Musical?
CC: I think Dragon is a bit misunderstood. It is easy to pin her as a villain because she is a large, intimidating, fire-breathing dragon, and Shrek must defeat her to rescue Princess Fiona. But, really, she is just a dragon who is doing her job. I think that most of Dragon’s fury comes from her frustration with having no one of her own to love. She has lived the past 20 years of her life watching everyone come and try to rescue the princess, yet she yearns for someone to come and rescue her. There is a great song that she and Donkey sing called “Forever.” She basically explains how she feels unloved and unwanted, but things take a bit of a turn when Donkey interrupts and sings his way out of being destroyed by Dragon. Things definitely get interesting! And, later in the show we see how she becomes a hero by helping to defeat Lord Farquaad, the true villain of the show. Dragon is strong and fiery and very good at her job. But, in the end, she’s just a girl who needs love!
Sprout: Tell us about the costume for the larger-than-life Dragon?
CC: Well, Dragon is definitely a diva. In the rescue scene, Dragon is glorious, magnificent, beautifully decorated and a very large puppet that is wonderfully puppeteered by four of our male ensemble members – Keven Quillon, Kevin Boseman, Tyrone Davis, Jr., and Denny Paschall who leads the way by controlling Dragon’s head, eyes and mouth. At the end of the show you see me come on stage as the “human” Dragon. I am wearing an awesome floor-length gown with layers and colors to match the puppet. And, on the back there is a tail - a beautiful, long tail with rhinestones. I get to whip it around a bit! I have small wing tips that go through my hair, and my Dragon makeup is fierce! I think they wanted the “human” Dragon to represent the glory of who she is and her swagger. When you see the costume, you definitely know that Dragon has shown up on the scene. I am so proud to be able to represent her!
Sprout: You also play Mama Ogre. This will be the first time Shrek fans meet the matriarch. What can you tell us about her?
CC: Mama Ogre is so sweet. She is neatly coiffed, and her makeup is charming. She wears a knitted dress and a cooking apron. She dons wooden jewelry, no doubt carved from the trees in the forest. She loves her son. She is a true mother. I love that the audience meets Shrek’s parents because they get a glimpse of where he comes from.
At the top of the show Papa Ogre, played by Brian Gonzales, and Mama Ogre are doing what all ogre families do when their children reach a certain age -- sending their son, Shrek, off into the world. They teach him lessons and encourage him. They are to Shrek what many parents are to their children, the foundation. Mama and Papa Ogre love each other and they definitely show love to their son in their own special way. They are honest in telling him that his life will be hard because he is an ogre, but they say it with such care. You really do feel that this is a loving family.
Sprout: Most of the audience members will be familiar with the Shrek movies, how does the Shrek story translate to the stage?
CC: With a lot of costumes and makeup! I happen to be a fan of the Shrek movies, and I have to say that, of the stage production of Shrek, I love that the audience gets a 4D view of the life of Shrek and all the characters that are in his world. They get to see, live and in color, this story play out. It's full of emotions, wonder, love, action, songs, dancing and a gingerbread man. As an audience member you witness the innocence and genuine joy of Donkey. You see Shrek and Fiona falling in love right before your eyes. You hear the hope and the fear in Shrek’s voice as he sings “Who I’d Be.” You hear his frustrations and hurt in the song “Build a Wall.” I mean you really get invested. Those are just a few examples amidst the many great moments in this show for many of the characters. It’s great!
Sprout: So far, what have you enjoyed the most about this tour?
CC: I can truly say that what I have enjoyed most is working with this awesome team of people. Everyone -- from the producers, directors, writers, company management, stage managers, the cast and crew -- has been awesome. I get to play a green-faced Mama Ogre, perform in an awesome and enormous costume as Tweedle Dum, and sing a powerful song as the incredible Dragon, but it makes this experience so much better knowing that I get to work with all these great people, my road family!