by Lorie Lewis Ham
Once upon a time, a princess met her prince charming…no wait, that’s another story. In Shrek The Musical, the princess meets an ogre–an ogre who can sing.
If you are familiar with the movie Shrek, then you know the basic story of this musical. But if you don’t know the story, here is the basic storyline. The show begins with Shrek telling the story of his tragic childhood where he was sent out on his own by his parents at the age of seven and pretty much told there are great things out there in the world but not for you. We also have a princess named Fiona who is trapped up in a tower from the age of seven, waiting for her prince to come save her.
Then we have Lord Farquaad, who shall we say is height challenged. He is a selfish ruler who hates all fairytale creatures and banishes them to Shrek’s swamp (we learn more later about why Farquaad hates them so much). By this point, Shrek has become a grumpy, solitary ogre and is not happy with the invasion of his swamp. So with the encouragement of the refuge fairytale characters, especially Pinocchio, Shrek sets out to demand that Farguaad make them leave his swamp and be sent back to their homes. Farquaad, who is desperate to marry a princess so he can become king, tells Shrek if he will rescue Fiona and bring her to him, he will do as he asks.
Throw in a crazy donkey that ends up teaming up with Shrek, and some unusual twists involving Fiona, and you have a very different kind of fairytale love story. What I love best about this story is that it shows how it doesn’t matter if you are beautiful, what matters is who you are on the inside.
This is a wonderful show to take the entire family to! Tyler Branco as Shrek makes you believe he is Shrek. His accent sounds just like the movie, and his voice is beautiful. Emily Pessano as Fiona is funny and wonderful as always. She is a great actress with an amazing voice. The Donkey is double cast (Christian David & Tony Sanders), we saw Christian and he was delightful and funny. Brandon Delsid as Pinocchio was adorable. Teddy Maldonado as Farquaad was hilarious. All of the refuge fairytale characters were fun, and everyone in this show did a wonderful job of bringing these characters and this heartwarming and fun story to life.
Typically, I focus my reviews on the performances themselves but I would be remiss if this time I did not mention the makeup and costumes. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been to do all of this complicated makeup and put together all of these unusual, fairytale costumes–so kudos to Emily Pessano for makeup, Ginger Kay Lewis-Reed for costumes, and Jeff White for Shrek appliances. How they made Farquaad so short was fun, and I feel for Teddy and his knees after a performance. I would also be remiss if I did not mention the Dragon! Wow, Chris Mangels designed and constructed this incredible and huge puppet and it is amazing! It looks exactly like the Dragon from the movie and is beautiful. The Dragon may actually be my favorite thing in the show! Everyone in the cast and crew deserve major kudos for putting this show together.
So if you are looking for a fun night out with great music, a fun story, great characters, and want to see a fairytale world come to life in front of you, do not miss Shrek The Musical on stage at Roger Rocka’s until November 10. Learn more on their website and their KRL theatre event page.
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