For junior Jesse Hixson, portraying Lord Farquaad in “Shrek The Musical” is a dream come true. In a show about happily ever afters, Hixson said he has found his storybook ending.
“Sometimes you have shows where you’re just willing to play any of the leads,” Hixson said. “But other times, there is a role that you just know you can do and do well and do to its fullest extent. I had seen Shrek several times before, and I just knew that I could play Farquaad.”
Hixson is an honors scholar, pursuing a specialized degree in performance and production management.
Hixson said that Lord Farquaad is an over-the-top role, different from any character he has portrayed in the past.
“I’m used to playing goofy, sweet characters,” Hixson said. “This is totally new for me. I get to be this short, mal-tempered little man who is just awful to everyone on stage, and it’s just not what I get to do everyday in real life.”
Hixson said that while playing the villain is a new experience for him, it is a highly anticipated one.
“I admit, I’ve always been really fascinated with villain characters,” Hixson said. “I don’t know why, but I think it’s because they always have the most interesting part, with a tragic backstory and everything. I would love to play many more roles like this.”
Hixson has had an extensive acting career, beginning as a child performer in “The Music Man,” “The Jungle Book” and “Beauty and the Beast.” In high school he portrayed the Baker in “Into the Woods” and Scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz.”
“Next to Farquaad, Scarecrow was probably my favorite role,” Hixson said. “But high school theatre is very different from the Harding experience. Harding is very much on a professional level with set design, costuming, interviews, photoshoots and things like that. Plus, the Benson is one of the largest auditoriums in Arkansas, so there’s an expectation that we’re going to be as good as something you’d see at the Orpheum.”
The cast of “Shrek” has come a long way in the past three months of rehearsing. The inevitable bonding that happens during a show’s production has resulted in visible chemistry on the stage, according to Hixson.
“This show is everything I hoped it would be,” Hixson said.