For Peninsula-raised Kaitlyn Yott, musical theatre continues to be a “fairy tale” experience.
Last seen locally as Belle in Fraser Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s popular panto version of Beauty and the Beast, the Earl Marriott grad can’t seem to get away from familiar fantasy characters – particularly in her latest summer assignment.
She’s playing Meriwether, one of three fairy godmothers, in Shrek: The Musical at Theatre Under The Stars (Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park, Vancouver), alternating performances with Legally Blonde: The Musical in a season that lasts until Aug. 23.
(She’s not the only local featured in the season – Kerry O’ Donovan, well-known from countless FVGSS productions and Fighting Chance/White Rock Players’ Little Shop of Horrors is musical director for Legally Blonde).
Yott, 21 – a confirmed theatre devotee even while at Marriott – is going into her third and final year in the musical theatre diploma program at Capilano University.
It’s only strengthened her resolve to pursue it as a career, she said.
“It’s my passion – it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
The Capilano University program has been “amazing,” the upbeat, bubbly performer added.
“It not only focuses on the craft, but the craft and your growth as a human being – who you are as a person, as well as a performer.”
She’s looking forward to participating in Cap U’s production of Grisha, The Government Inspector in the fall, and the musical adaptation of The Secret Garden in April.
“That’s such a gorgeous show. I’m so excited to audition – hopefully I’ll be part of a show that’s as exciting as Shrek.”
Yott, whose talents include singing, dancing, acting – and even puppetry – said she feels right at home with her first TUTS show.
“They’ve added three fairy godmothers to emulate the original tale of Sleeping Beauty, and I play Meriwether, the sassy fairy,” she said.
“She’s a little more pessimistic, the reality check for the others.”
Another plus for Yott, she said, is getting the chance to perform a number of supporting ensemble roles in the show that utilize virtually all of her abilities.
“It has been amazing,” she said. “They give you such an opportunity for growth and understanding the importance of professionalism and being part of that world – it’s a great environment to grow in.
“The Equity actors, like Matt Palmer (Shrek) and Ken Overbey (Donkey) have been so welcoming and the director, Sarah Rodgers, has been so supportive. She cares about your concerns and the well-being of the show, and it’s created such a bond between us – our cast is like a family.”
Yott said she also appreciates the underlying message of the show, in which the ogre Shrek helps all the fairy tale folk who – considered abnormal by the evil Lord Farquaad – have been made outcasts.
“It’s all about embracing who you are; about what makes us special and what makes us strong,” she said, noting that Meriweather is the smallest of the fairies.
“I’ve had to embrace the fact that I’m small,” she said.
“It’s definitely a theme that changes your perspective. There’s a heart to this show that the movie doesn’t have – it’s hard not to live this message.”
All performances are at 8 p.m., except for fireworks nights, when the curtain goes up at 7 p.m.
For tickets ($20-45) and information, contact the box office at 604-696-4295, or visit www.tuts.ca