Green monsters mark these musicals (+video)

tflach@thestate.comMay 1, 2014 

  • If you go

    • “Shrek the Musical” at Town Theatre, 1012 Sumter St., Columbia: 8 p.m. May 2-3, 8-10, 14-17 and 21-24 plus 3 p.m. May 4 and 18. $15-$25. Call (803) 799-2510 for tickets.

    • “Young Frankenstein” at Workshop Theatre, 1136 Bull St., Columbia: May 9-10, 14-17 and 21-24 plus 3 p.m. May 11 and 18. $12-22. Call (803) 799-6551 for tickets.

A pair of jolly green monsters will sing and dance on local stages starting Friday.

Make-up and prostheses will transform Scott Stepp into the fairy-tale ogre Shrek and Jason Kinsey into a comic Frankenstein.

Their roles require them to dress up more elaborately than usual for actors, the two say.

Stepp is used to altering his facial features. He’s been a werewolf and zombie at haunted houses around Halloween during fund-raisers for community organizations.

His transformation into Shrek – a fantasy character who learns to love – takes about 45 minutes.

Stepp dons a plastic cowl over his head followed by layers of makeup applied to his face to achieve the image that audiences are familiar from a popular 2001 movie adapted into a play in 2008.

Wearing it requires him to adjust his hearing to interact with other performers in the production of “Shrek the Musical” at Town Theatre that debuts Friday.

“Every bit of it is going to test me,” Stepp said. “I’m fired up for it.”

It’s a challenge he wanted every since seeing the play a few years ago without any idea it would debut in Midlands soon afterward.

Besides, green is one of his favorite colors.

Kinsey will rely solely on makeup to become the monster in “Young Frankenstein,” opening at Workshop Theatre May 9.

His face will be a mottled green, highlighted with other colors. And he’ll wear platform shoes adding height to his 6-foot 4-inch frame.

The look – a variation from the traditional image of horror films – is a “joint collaboration” with show staff, he said.

A greater challenge will be conveying emotion without much dialogue, relying mostly on moans and facial expressions, Kinsey said.

“It’s something different,” he said.

“Young Frankenstein” is a spoof of classic horror films that debuted as a movie in 1974 and was refashioned into a play in 2007.

Both screen-to-stage adoptions received mixed reviews on Broadway.

Critics rated the tunes in each play as mostly bland amid segments that are sometimes touching, sometimes witty and sometimes high-energy.

“Shrek the Musical” is more family-friendly while “Young Frankenstein” features bawdy humor not always appropriate for youngsters.

“Young Frankenstein” will be the curtain call at Workshop’s current home, slated to be torn down to make way for the new law school at the University of South Carolina. Workshop is renting a site in the Olympia neighborhood starting this fall.

Here's how to make a jolly green monster

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