"Small" Role Has Big Possibilities for 2009 Tony Nominee Christopher Sieber

Special Features   "Small" Role Has Big Possibilities for 2009 Tony Nominee Christopher Sieber
"Oh, it feels so good to stretch out," 2009 Tony Award nominee Christopher Sieber joked at the recent Tony nominees press reception in Times Square.
Christopher Sieber
Christopher Sieber Photo by Joan Marcus

The Shrek star, who is a strapping 6 feet 2 inches, was referring to the physical contortions he performs every night as the 4-foot-5-inch Lord Farquaad. "There are muscles that I use that no normal human being should use at all," he laughed when discussing the physically demanding role in the Tony-nominated musical at the Broadway Theatre. "I have to do about 25 minutes to a half-hour of warm-up prior to every single performance. If I don't, then I won't get through it."

Sieber, whose Broadway credits also include Beauty and the Beast, Chicago, Triumph of Love, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Into the Woods, was previously Tony-nominated for his performance in Spamalot, but says his current nomination "means very much to me. I've worked so hard on this part, and I've helped create it more so than any other part I've ever done. So it's really nice to be noticed for the work that you've done."

That work includes a few show-stopping numbers — "What's Up, Duloc?" and "The Ballad of Farquaad" — and the chance for Sieber to stretch the boundaries of playing evil. "It's so much fun to play this part," he says, "because I can be as big as I want, even though I'm small. I can be as big and over-the-top as I want, and it's still not enough. It's a very weird thing that this part allows me to do. It's really kind of strange. I can push it to a point where I think, 'Okay, no one's gonna buy this!' But with this character they buy it because he is so crazy, evil, over-the-top in a comic way. He's an evil person that's likable, which is a weird combination of things. But the audience buys it completely, and I love that, and they're with me the entire time."

Sieber adds that he is thrilled to be nominated in a category that includes many of his friends. "That is nice," Sieber explains, "so the pressure's truly off at this point. I'm just gonna enjoy these next five weeks, do my show, enjoy it. Whoever comes out with the Tony, I wish everybody the best. That's all I can say. It's such a cool thing to be in it with these guys."

Christopher Sieber is nominated for a Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical. Others in that category include David Bologna, Billy Elliot, The Musical; Gregory Jbara, Billy Elliot, The Musical; Marc Kudisch, 9 to 5: The Musical; and Will Swenson, Hair.

Christopher Sieber and cast in <i>Shrek the Musical</i>
Christopher Sieber and cast in Shrek the Musical Photo by Joan Marcus
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