In Part 2 of a series of interviews with the cast of Reston Communty Players’ production of Shrek The Musical, meet Jennifer Lambert, Patrick Graham, and Evie Korovesis.
Diane Jackson Schnoor: Please introduce yourself to our readers, What shows have audiences seen you in lately? Are there any honors you’ve received that you want people to know about?
Jennifer: My name is Jennifer Lambert. Last year, I played Cinderella’s Step Mother in the NextStop Theatre production of Into The Woods. I was last seen at RCP as Fantine in Les Miserables.
Patrick: Hi there! My name is Patrick Graham! I am going to be playing Pinocchio this October at the Reston Community Players! I’m extremely excited to be part of this production. I love working with RCP! I was last seen in RCP’s You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown as blanket loving Linus, and before that in The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s Spamalot, where I played many roles such as Not Dead Fred, Brave Sir Robin’s Minstrel and Prince Herbert. I will also be directing a show at the Hope Operas in DC this fall, called Pet Files: the Red dot saga!
Evie: Hi my name is Evie Korovesis, and I am an elementary music teacher with FCPS, an instructor at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, and a voice/piano teacher too! Recently I performed with The Arlington Players as Julia in The Wedding Singer. My most recent show with Reston Community Players was Xanadu, where I played Kira.
Who are you playing in Shrek? What’s one way you really connect with your character?
Jennifer: I play the Dragon and Shrek’s mother. Mmmm….that’s a hard one given that I’m not an Ogre or a dragon. I guess I would like think that I can relate to the strong and passionate women I portray in this show.
Patrick: I am playing Pinocchio in Shrek the Musical! It’s a great fit because I used to lie a lot as a child (Sorry Mom and Dad). But I really connect with the character/show because we are all still trying to find out who we are. Like Pinocchio, I think people focus on a specific detail in their life that “if only I could change this one thing, everything would be better!” Which is usually far from the truth. I get to play a character who is really in denial about who he is. It’s such an important tale about accepting who you are, and surrounding yourself with friends just like you, who raise you up high!
Evie: I am playing Gingy/Sugar Plum Fairy/Rat/Duloc Dancer, and I’m also one of the Dance Captains. My tutu for Sugar Plum is bringing me back to my 10 years in The Nutcracker back in my hometown in PA! I have missed wearing one! Gingy is super outgoing, sassy, and sometimes completely out there. I think it’s okay to say I am all of those things!
What is the most challenging thing about playing your character?
Jennifer: The vocal range. The Dragon’s song is meant to partly parody Jennifer Holliday’s “And I Am Telling You” from Dreamgirls…need I say more?
Patrick: Well, the voice the character has is rather high pitched, so I find myself singing with the sopranos occasionally. But the harder part has been imitating what a puppet would walk like. Very stiff and rigid, not at all like my slouched walk. So it takes a lot of focus to stay in my character’s shoes.
Evie: Gingy has a puppet mouth that has been a challenge! I’m trying to make sure I’m moving the mouth of the puppet the same way I would as a human — opening and closing together. Gingy also has a COMPLETELY different voice then the Sugar Plum Fairy, and in one scene I play both characters, and they have lines one after the other.
What makes Shrek special or unique?
Jennifer: It has elements of a classic musical, but with the cleverness and wit of a modern Dreamworks movie that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. If you are a musical theatre buff, you will also get all the inside jokes, which just makes it even more enjoyable and comedic.
Patrick: Shrek is such an amazing story because of the deeper meaning behind his adventure. Coming to terms with what you are, and realizing you don’t have to change for anyone. I also love that it is written for children, but there is a lot of humor that adults can relate to. Growing up watching the movie, every time I watched it I felt like I understood a new reference and found a deeper meaning!
Evie: Shrek is such a fun show! I remember watching it constantly when it first came out on video and then I had the opportunity to see the original cast on Broadway, which was fantastic! It’s always fun to see those movies we grow up with come to life on stage, seeing all of the theater magic that can happen right before your eyes!
What is your favorite number in Shrek — and why? Do you have a favorite line you get to deliver? What is it and why is it your favorite?
Jennifer: I do love the song “Forever,” which I get to sing. It’s not a favorite line that I like to deliver – it’s a breath I like to take. You’ll have to come see the show to hear what I mean.
Patrick: Yeesh, that’s hard to choose. I think it has to be “Freak Flag,” because it’s such a fun number, and has a fantastic message that culminates the entire show! And yet I actually don’t get to sing much of it! So I wish I got to sing more of that song. As for a favorite line, I am having so much fun figuring out how to deliver certain lines with the other actors, so I don’t have one yet, but I get some pretty fantastic things to say.
Evie: I think one of my favorite numbers in Shrek is the closing number: “I’m A Believer.” It’s the last number in the show (after the bows) and it needs SUCH high energy. It will be one of those numbers where you are so tired from doing an entire performance that you are purely going on adrenaline…sometimes the best moments come from that! It’s a dance heavy show, which I’ve missed doing. Recently I’ve had roles (which I’ve LOVED SO MUCH), but I haven’t been able to dance, which is my first love…so there have been bittersweet moments. My favorite line in the show comes right before the musical number “Freak Flag.” It is SILENT on stage, and Gingy just yells, “LISTEN UP PUPPET!” Each time we do that scene, everyone starts to laugh just when I’m walking up. I hope the audience reacts the same way!
Is there a number you WISH you were singing in Shrek? What is it and why? Or is there a line or scene someone else has that you just wish was yours? If so, tell us what it is and what makes it special?
Jennifer: I think “Freak Flag” is a super fun anthem to sing and dance. It’s full of great characters, energy, and movement. It will definitely be an audience favorite.
Patrick: I want to sing the Dragon’s song. Think we can make that happen?
Evie: Haha, there are many roles I’d love to play in this show. I wish I was a guy, so I could play Donkey — it’s such a fun role and you need such high energy. I believe that role is a staple because it really drives the show. Josh (Redford) is doing such a great job in fulfilling that journey for Donkey! I also think every girl would be silly to say they wouldn’t want to play Fiona. Every number she has is heartwarming and fulfilling. She isn’t your typical princess, which is what I love about her. She can truly stand on her own and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. I feel that I most connect to Fiona in this show, more than my own characters. She knows she wants love and adventure, and is surprised to find that her journey isn’t anything she’s read about in books.
What do you hope audiences take away from this production?
Jennifer: I hope they feel the same joy that I felt when I saw it for the first time. It’s a fun, clever, and visually exciting show that takes your worries away for two hours. What’s not to love about that?!
Patrick: I really hope audiences see the deeper story in this piece. Acceptance. Accepting yourself and other around you, and surrounding yourself with people like yourself that you raise you higher.
Evie: This production has so many technical surprises. I’ve seen bits and pieces of sets, costumes, puppets, etc., and I get excited each time I see a new piece! I can’t wait to put it all together and bring this fairy tale to life. Shrek isn’t your ordinary fairy tale. You are beautiful no matter what you look like or how you are first perceived. Each fairy tale creature has a reputation previous to this story, but Shrek opens up how they are all unique and special in their own way.
What are some of the magical surprises that RCP’s production of Shrek has in store for audiences?
Jennifer: We can’t tell you – you’ll have to come see it. Hint: I did say that I play a dragon. You’re not going to want to miss this one!
Patrick: Haha, I won’t tell you all of them, but we are all dancing our little butts off! We also get some fun magical toys to play with, this show is very specific in its nature. I mean, how many characters walk around on their knees, have gingerbread puppets, and have costumes this crazy?! I think this production is going to be fantastic. Reston always puts on an amazing show, and this cast is no exception!
Evie: I don’t think I want to say all of the surprises because I want the audience to be surprised! That’s the beauty of theater. This has been a great experience because it’s definitely a mix of old and new for me. Old familiar friends, some of whom are my best friends, are in this cast and production team with me, and yet there are new friends who are wonderful and talented, and I’m honored to share the stage with them!
Shrek The Musical plays from October 16-November 7, 2015 at Reston Community Players performing at CenterStage at the Reston Community Center – 2310 Colts Neck Road, in Reston, VA. For tickets, call the box office at (703) 476-4500 x 3, or purchase them online.
Performances are October 16, 17, 23, 24, and 30 and November 6 and 7, 2015 at 8:00 PM, with 2:00 PM. matinees on October 25th and 31st and November 1st and 7th, 2015. A special Halloween costume contest is planned for the October 31st matinee. Cast member meet and greets will be held in the lobby on October 25th, November 1st, and November 7th.
CenterStage is handicap accessible and offers listening devices for the hearing impaired.
Shrek The Musical is produced by Laura Baughman and Mary Ann Hall and features direction by Sue Pinkman, musical direction by Elisa Rosman, and choreography by Ivan Davila and Haley North.
The cast includes Paul Tonden (Shrek), Jolene Vettese (Fiona), Joshua Redford (Donkey), Chuck Dluhy (Farquaad), Jennifer Lambert (Dragon), and Mhairi Cameron, Sean Cator, Brayden DiBacco, Gary DiNardo, Marissa Dolcich, Chris Dore, Richard Farella, Kieth Flores, Elizabeth Gillespie, Patrick Graham, Alexandra Guyker, Mark Hidalgo, Jasmine Jones, Evie Korovesis, Allie Lytle, Lindsey McClenathan, James McNamara, Allen McRae, Todd Meikle, Erik Peyton, Colleen Robinson, and Ella Schnoor.
Meet The Cast of Reston Community Players’ ‘Shrek The Musical’: Part 1: Paul Tonden and Jolene Vettese.
Meet The Creative Team Behind Reston Community Players’ ‘Shrek The Musical’: Part 2: Director Sue Pinkman and Music Director Elisa Rosman.