Liz Shivener recently won a Scenie Award for Outstanding Lead Performance In A Touring Production for her stellar work as Belle in last year’s National Tour of Walt Disney’s Beauty And The Beast, which StageSceneLA described as “spunky perfection.” Liz is about to make her return to the Segerstrom Center For The Arts in the National Tour of Shrek The Musical. The recent BFA Graduate of Otterbein University has graciously taken the time to answer our questions before the October 4 Opening Night.


Hi Liz. I know a lot of musical theater performers are inspired to pursue this career the moment they see their first musical as a child. Is this how the musical theater bug first bit you?

I always loved the Movie Musicals. I think that is what did it for me. I would watch The Sound Of Music, My Fair Lady, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, etc. I think that is what hooked me most of all.

I understand that you booked Beauty And The Beast pretty much fresh out of college. What were your most memorable roles before becoming Belle?

I’m a Sondheim girl, and I loved playing Amy in Company. Also, Eliza Doolittle is my favorite character of all time. She’s probably my favorite.

Was touring as Belle your first experience “on the road”?

Yes, Beauty And The Beast was my first tour and I look back on it fondly.

What cities or stops or theaters stand out in particular for you?

Each city is special, truly. There are the obvious ones like Honolulu, Chicago, and Los Angeles, but each new city is an adventure.


I’m sure I’m not the first to remark that you’ve gone from playing one animated feature heroine to another. How would you compare Belle and Fiona as characters?

Belle and Fiona hold a special place in my heart! They are both fiery, quirky and strong women. They differ because Belle has no intention of fitting into convention or doing what is expected of her and Fiona is a completely off the wall oddball that desperately wants to fit the mold but can’t.

Is there one that strikes a particular chord for you?

I would say I’m more like Fiona.

What about the two shows themselves? How alike and how different are they?

They both have similar themes… The idea of looking past the exterior of a person and getting to the heart resonates in both. Shrek is much more current, edgy even. If you’ll remember there was quite an element of surprise when Eddie Murphy and Mike Myers signed on for the animated film. With two clever comedians, you can be assured that the comedy is sharper and more current.

What do you love most about playing the character of Fiona?

She has no filter. She says whatever comes to mind and she’s totally unpredictable. That makes her interesting to portray.

What do you think makes Shrek The Movies (and Shrek The Musical) so popular with audiences, especially kids?

People are smart and quick these days. We move faster as a society, kids especially. Audiences want more than just the classic “Prince Meets Princess & Happily Ever After” all the time. This show gives them that. The movies and musical give them all of their favorite characters and stories with a modern twist.

When playing a previously animated character like Fiona (or Belle for that matter), how much do you base your performance on what’s been on screen before and how much is Liz?

You have to respect the groundwork laid before you. If my take on Fiona were completely out of left field and nothing like the films, they’d be furious. At the same time, I have to put my own thoughts into her or I would be totally bored as a performer. It is all about marrying the two.

How do children, particularly young girls, react when they see you, Liz, at the stage door, rather than the fairy tale princess they’ve seen on stage?

Between Belle and Fiona, there is a book I could write about adorable reactions from children. They are just so thrilled to meet you. For the younger ones, it’s fun because they don’t know the difference between you and your character. I like to just continue the story for them and play along. I won’t rob a little girl of meeting a princess! With the older children it’s special because they recognize how cool it is that being a princess is my job. I like to answer their questions and tell them stories from the road.

Well I’m sure you’ll have many little princesses of all ages waiting to greet you during your Costa Mesa run! You just might find me among them on Opening Night!

Shrek Photos: Joan Marcus

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