By Kristina Houck
As a young child, Samantha Tullie watched the film “Shrek” so many times she memorized almost every line. Beginning Oct. 12, the 15-year-old Rancho Santa Fe resident will co-star in J* Company Youth Theatre’s “Shrek the Musical.”
“I just really, really liked to sing when I was little,” said Tullie, a sophomore at Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley. “When I heard things I really liked on the radio or in a movie, I tried to learn it as fast as I could. I would sing it over and over again.”
Tullie portrays Dragon, Donkey’s romantic interest. Although the part has no speaking lines, Tullie said she auditioned for the role of Dragon because it features a challenging “Dreamgirls” type song.
“It’s a bigger than life part,” Tullie said. “Even though there’s no speaking, it’s really fun. The song is really big.”
Tullie began performing at 9 years old. While a majority of her experience has been at La Jolla-based J Company Youth Theatre, she most recently played Nurse in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” at San Diego Junior Theatre. Under the direction of J Company’s Joey Landwehr, some of her favorite roles include Hodel in “Fiddler on the Roof” and Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella.”
“Performing is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Tullie, who has worked with vocal coach Roy Mote and has received acting, vocal and dance training through programs at Broadway/San Diego and Camp Jaycee, La Jolla Playhouse and Interlochen Center for the Arts. “I really like how you can completely become another person and totally embody them. Sometimes they’re just so far off from who you really are, and those are the most fun to perform. I also like how you can just really touch and move the audience when you’re totally into your role.”
Directed by Landwehr, “Shrek the Musical” features 72 cast members, 10 youth crew members and four youth orchestra members playing in the pit. Joshua Shtein, 17, plays Shrek, and Sam Brogadir, 15, portrays Donkey on a quest to rescue Princess Fiona, portrayed by 16-year-old Celia Tedde, from her tower guarded by a fire-breathing dragon.
“It’s a really talented cast. The costumes are amazing and really, really fun,” said Tullie, who hopes to pursue a career as an actress and singer. “Adults and kids will love it! There are a couple of lines only the adults will get, and there are lines that little kids will find absolutely hilarious.”
“Shrek the Musical” runs Oct. 12-27 at the David and Dorothea Garfield Theatre at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center at 4126 Executive Drive in La Jolla.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call the JCC Box Office at 858-362-1348 or visit www.sdcjc.org/jcompany.