Junior Jon Andrew is used to playing comedic roles on stage. This year is no exception for the theatre major from Pittsburgh, Penn. In “Shrek The Musical,” Andrew portrays Donkey, the ugly ogre’s witty, lovable sidekick.
“The thing I’ve enjoyed about Donkey is that he’s probably the most innocent character I’ve ever played,” Andrew said. “He’s very much like a dog. He’s loyal, and his grudges aren’t held for very long.”
Andrew said that Donkey’s personality can be an inspiration to everyone, providing a valuable lesson about unconditional friendship.
“(Donkey) is always willing to forgive,” Andrew said. “Even after things happen between him and Shrek that probably should have pushed him away and prompted him to find other people, he still stays because that’s what friends do.”
This role has inspired Andrew outside of the show as well.
“Donkey has reminded me not to think about people’s status or their major or their social club, but rather for who they are on the inside,” Andrew said.
Andrew has portrayed a variety of characters on the stage in high school and college and has been involved in 15 productions in his life. In his sophomore and senior year of high school, Andrew’s performances of Moonface Martin in “Anything Goes” and Oscar Lindquist in “Sweet Charity” were nominated for Gene Kelly awards for Best Supporting Actor. In his junior year of high school, Andrew’s performance as Ren McCormack in “Footloose” was nominated for Best Actor. This past summer, Andrew had his first professional theatre experience at the Ozarks Actors Theatre in Rolla, Miss.
Andrew said one of his favorite performances was playing Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse this summer in Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors.”
“‘Comedy of Errors’ challenged me in new ways as a performer, since I had to play two characters,” Andrew said. “It was also my first Shakespeare play, so that was a lot of fun.”
Despite being one of the most physically challenging roles he has ever performed, Andrew said Donkey is a good fit for him.
“Singing and dancing takes much more energy than people probably realize,” Andrew said. “(Donkey) is just so high-energy, and to keep that energy sustained for the whole show is a feat in itself. But this part is so much about getting the laugh and finding the comedic timing, which is one of my strong suits. It’s something I’m confident doing on stage.”