Kecia Lewis-Evans
(© Joan Marcus)
Kecia Lewis-Evans
(© Joan Marcus)
Unlike some of her castmates in Shrek The Musical, which begins its pre-Broadway tryout at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre on August 14, Kecia Lewis-Evans has a little less to live up to as the Dragon. "In the movie, she didn't really have a voice, so I have the privilege of creating one," she says." Jeanine Tesori, who wrote the score, is an old friend, and she told me that when I came in and auditioned I totally changed what she had in mind. She's given me a base for the sound, sort of early 1960s Aretha Franklin, but I've gotten to play with it. It's originally a little more aggressive than mine, but then it gets softer as she falls in love with Donkey. And as a singer, it's much more rock-pop sounding than anything else I've done. It's not as easy as Broadway."

Lewis-Evans is really enjoying working with her castmates. "It's a really chilled out group," she says. "Chester Gregory, who plays Donkey, is so great; he's just ridiculously talented and fun, and we're trying to find our own way with the story. And Brian d'Arcy James [who plays Shrek] and Sutton Foster [who plays Fiona] are neck and neck for the nicest people in show business. And our director Jason Moore is just fantastic."

The actress is also happy with her look as Dragon. "I get to be pretty glamorous -- and I have had some glamorous roles lately, like Trix in The Drowsy Chaperone," she says. "Dragon is really pretty and glittery and shiny -- and of course you'll see a lot of pink, which is fine, since my favorite color is fuschia. And I'm really happy with the make-up design, because you will be able to see Kecia through everything; Jason told us from the beginning that it was important that we all remain recognizable." It's also fitting to the show's moral, says Lewis-Evans. "One of the big themes to the story is that everyone is more than just what you see on the outside, and I think this show is a fantastic way for kids to learn that lesson."