www.theclaycenter.org CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If the Mayan apocalypse spells the end of world sometime Friday, Courtney Daniels knows how she'll be spending at least some of her last few hours on earth. The actress will be on stage at the Clay Center Thursday night as part of the cast of "Shrek: The Musical."Daniels said, "My goal will be to have the best show ever with my company."It should be a good night for her, too. Daniels thought the tour's stop in Charleston was where her parents would finally catch up to see the show."That's a real blessing," she said. "I'm going to have everybody rooting for me." Daniels said that, if the world ends Friday, she'd die a happy woman.". . . In a bear costume."Among her roles in "Shrek: The Musical," Daniels plays Mama Ogre (Shrek's mother) and Mama Bear (of the Three Bears), and she's the voice of the dragon."The dragon is the size of half a football field," she said. "It takes four puppeteers to operate it."And while that might sound like an easy part for her -- all she has to do is deliver lines --Daniels has to do that and make quick costume changes that involve going from being painted green to wearing the aforementioned bear suit.If the world doesn't come to some sort of end before the weekend, Daniels said, she has a pretty busy year ahead. The "Shrek" tour continues through winter and well into spring. She's hopeful that, eventually, the work she does on "Shrek" will help her find other work after that."I'm hoping for Broadway," she said cheerfully. "I'm hoping to stay put in New York, but this [touring] is what I have to do."Not that she's complaining.Daniels was young when she took to acting. Born and raised in Bermuda, she said she discovered a love for theater after watching the film "Grease.""I saw it, like, 80 times and, by then, my mother knew I wanted to do this."Daniels got involved in community theater. In her teens, her family moved to America, she got involved in acting in school and eventually got acting jobs at equity houses. She studied in New York, including at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.Before taking the job with "Shrek," she worked for Disney, appeared in a production of "The Drowsy Chaperone" and spent five years as part of a theater workshop called "Disenchanted.""I've done a little bit of everything, which I'm happy about, blessed about," she said.Daniels said her experience with "Shrek" has been a good one. She's learned a lot, been able to work in her chosen field and seen some amazing things in the past six months.She joined "Shrek" in June while it was touring Asia. On that leg of the tour, the production stopped in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Shanghai, China. Daniels said they visited the Great Wall of China and performed for people who seldom see shows like the one she's part of."That was a real culture shock," she said. "They're very reserved. They don't clap that loud and you don't really know if they like it or not until they tell you."Asia was an amazing experience. Still, she said she could have done without the 17-hour flight."If you really love what you do, the touring is not so bad."If the world does end Friday, Daniels said, she's ready for it. However, she hopes that's not what happens. She still has a lot she wants to do.Reach Bill Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5195.
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