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Entertainment & Lifestyle

‘Shrek’ makes stop at E.J. Thomas

12/27/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Whitney Winfield will appear as Princess Fiona in “Shrek The Musical,” coming to Akron Jan. 8-9.
Photo courtesy of LvR/paparazzibyappointment
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Everyone’s favorite ogre is coming to town.

“Shrek The Musical” will be on stage at E.J. Thomas Hall on The University of Akron campus for two performances, Jan. 8-9 at 7:30 p.m.

The current national tour of the Broadway musical got under way in the fall, according to Whitney Winfield, who is appearing as Princess Fiona in the show. Winfield, a native of Naples, Fla., is enjoying herself on her first tour.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “I’m getting to perform for all sorts of different people all over the place. Its grueling, for sure; the schedule is very tough.”

Winfield said the chance to play Princess Fiona was something that really intrigued her.

“She’s a pretty cool princess,” she said. “She’s feisty and all about girl power and taking control of her life, but she’s also a princess who believes that her fairy tale comes true. It’s fun to play all those things and fall in love with Shrek, who maybe isn’t the most pretty man but has a big heart, and that’s what’s most important.”

“Shrek The Musical” closely follows the storyline of the 2001 “Shrek” film, which itself was based on the storybook by William Steig, in which Swamp-dwelling ogre Shrek goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim his land. In his quest to rescue Princess Fiona, he’s joined by a wisecracking donkey, and those two help Shrek learn that real friendship and true love aren’t only found in fairy tales.

Winfield said the musical features song and dance numbers that will be new to the audience.

“It’s a little more zany than the film,” she said. “There’s a lot of random pop culture references that are included, similar to the second film.”

The musical styles range from “some classical sounding stuff and some contemporary songs, but it covers a wide range,” Winfield said.

The musical is family-friendly, but that doesn’t mean that adults will find it juvenile, she added.

“A lot of it is smart humor that only adults will catch,” she said. “But I have triplet niece and nephews who saw it, and they’re 5, and they sat through the whole thing, just glued to their seats.”

Anyone who has seen the “Shrek” movies knows that Princess Fiona undergoes somewhat of a transformation. Winfield said that change is done on stage for the audience to see, but she won’t reveal what happens.

“It’s magic,” she said.

Her favorite scene of the show is when Shrek and Fiona fall in love.

“It isn’t a traditional falling-in-love type of scene,” she said. “There’s a duel between the two, but through the duel, there’s a hilarious moment that I won’t reveal. They figure out that they are very compatible and it’s a lot of fun, too.”

E.J. Thomas is located at 198 Hill St. Tickets for “Shrek The Musical” are available at ticketmaster.com, by calling 800-745-3000, at the Thomas Hall Ticket Office and at all TicketMaster outlets. Groups of 15 or more should call 855-824-3405. For more information, go to BroadwayInAkron.com.

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