The ability to move is critically important to an actor, and therefore, critically important to the success of a play.
Some do it well and others, not so much. My short career as a professional actor was cut short, in part, because I could never keep still on stage and kept tottering around with no rhyme or reason.
For many years Iâ€™ve thought that Matt Daniels moves as well as anyone Iâ€™ve ever seen. He has poise and grace and never makes any kind of move without having a reason for it. I find it breathless to watch him onstage.
But he now faces what may well be the greatest movement challenge an actor could face.
Daniels will play Lord Farquaad in First Stageâ€™s production of "Shrek: The Musical," which opens Oct. 11 at the Todd Wehr Theater.
Lord Farquaad is not the nicest person in the world and he is also very short in stature.
Which brings us to Daniels and Paula Suozzi, who runs Starting Line Athletics, a personal training shop in Bay View.
Daniels is going to play the good Lord on his knees. The whole show. Singing. Dancing. Jumping around.
Just imagine going through life on your knees.
"I knew this was going to be difficult," Daniels said. "Thatâ€™s when I turned to
Suozzi has a long and very distinguished career in the theater. Sheâ€™s been an actor and director. Sheâ€™s an opera and theater director of some note.
"I think my theater background helps me in this thing with Matt," she said. "I have an idea of what a director may ask him to do and so we focus on enabling him to learn to do it while on his knees.
"Matt is very dedicated to this process, and that really helps."
Watching this workout is draining. Daniels kneels on the floor, throws his arms to the sky and actually jumps into the air.
He kneels under a weight wrack and does 10 reps, three times. Amazingly, he gets on a treadmill, walks and even semi-jogs along. On his knees.
This promises to be a very interesting performance to watch.
"Shrek" opens Oct. 11 and runs through Nov. 17.Â Information can be found at Firststage.org.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Dave Begel
Published Sept. 24, 2016
"A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur" is one of the less frequently produced Tennessee Williams plays, but the character portraits are familiar to anyone who knows Williams. And thanks to a perfect production from the Chamber Theatre, it feels valuable and vital.
Published Sept. 23, 2016
Off the Wall Theatre opened Dale Gutzman's version of "A Passage to India" Thursday night, and though Gutzman both wrote and directed this production, the whole thing fails to reach the high level of work Off the Wall normally delivers.
Published Sept. 20, 2016
Having struck artistic and critical gold once before, the Florentine Opera is preparing another world premiere with the same team that won two Grammys - except this time they are trading Sinclair Lewis for Theodore Dreiser.
Published Sept. 13, 2016
First Stage is taking another step with Fineghan Kruckemeyer and developing a play around themes suggested by Milwaukee kids. First Stage has co-commissioned Kruckemeyer to craft a new play inspired by conversations with area young people and their parents.
Published Sept. 12, 2016
Few performers ever live up to their legend, but Billie Holiday, the singer and sinner who died tragically over 50 years ago, was one who absolutely did. All of it is on parade at "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill," at the Stackner Cabaret.
Published Sept. 9, 2016
Eric Von, a longtime leader in black community talk radio, died Thursday at the age of 58. Cause of death was an apparent heart attack. Von had survived a heart attack just one month earlier. He was a radio host at WNOV when he died.
Published Sept. 8, 2016
The recent uprisings in Sherman Park have once again brought to attention the conflict between the black community and the Milwaukee Police Department. Mike Crivello is the president of the Milwaukee Police Association and he's been a member of the force since he was hired in 1991.
Published Sept. 6, 2016
I've been on a road to gluttony that has had a profound impact on my life. It's a road that will come to an end in a week when I bow to science and have bariatric surgery at Columbia St. Mary's Hospital. Let's hope it's life-changing.
Published Sept. 3, 2016
There's absolutely nothing like sex, music and good drugs, especially when rolled into "The Wild Party," the Andrew Lippa musical that opened for All-In Productions Friday night at Next Act Theatre in Milwaukee's Third Ward.
Published Sept. 1, 2016
I have now passed the 1,000 mark in my career as an Uber driver, and that doesn't even count friends who've gotten rides for free. Over that time, I've noticed there are a few popular and frequent destinations. Here are the top 10.