by DICK KEREKES
The big loveable big green guy and company moved into the Times-Union Center Tuesday night and will be there through Sunday May l5th. This may be your only opportunity to see Shrek, The Musical so call (904) 632-3373 for reservations or online go to www.artistseriesjax. org.
If you loved the DreamWorks SHREK movies, you are going to really enjoy the stage version and seeing your favorite characters coming to life and singing!
The story pretty much follows the plots in the movies. We get a bit of Shrek as a kid and growing to living in a swamp. In this version, Lord Farquaad, has banished all fairy tale characters out of his kingdom to the swamp. You get to see Pinocchio, the Ugly Duckling, Peter Pan, The Three Bears, the Sugar Plum Fairy, the Wicked Witch and others, as they plead with Shrek for help. Shrek encounters your favorite Donkey and makes a deal with the Lord and sets out to save Princess Fiona from her exile in a castle so that Lord Farquaard can marry her. He must face the fierce Dragon guarding the castle and you can guess what will happen. The journey to a happy ending is fast paced and fun. Everything happens in such a glorious way with fantastic sets, incredible lighting, costumes and special effects.
One of the best scenes in the show is the flying Dragon featuring the fabulous voice of Carrie Compere. This was one of the audience favorites as well and was indeed a real scene stealer.
This incredibly talented cast is lead by Eric Peterson (Shrek), Haven Burton (Princess Fiona) and Alan Mingo Jr.(Donkey).
It is also the opportunity to see a local girl that has made her a name for herself in the theater. Holly Ann Butler, from Orange Park, is very much on stage in three roles, the Wicked Witch, Blind Mouse and Queen Lillian.
The book was written by well known playwright David Lindsay-Abaire (author of Rabbit Hole and Fuddy Mears), and lyrics and music by Jeanine Tesori. The songs move the plot along and are snappy and at times very funny. You probably have never heard any the songs except for one. The grand finale has the entire cast singing and dancing to the well known “I’m a Believer” and this has much of the audience standing and cheering. This is a great finish and has the audience exiting with smiles on their faces.
Did I enjoy Shrek? Yes, I am a believer. DreamWorks is the producer, their first venture from making movies and they have applied all their expertise to making this a truly first class show from top to bottom.
Like the movies, it is a story that adults and children can both enjoy, in fact there are some pretty clever lines that only adults may get that zip in and out of the dialogue and songs. There is no language that is objectionable, although there is one short short song involving bodily functions that is bit crude but it “passes” quickly.
This is a big production and any seat in the TU Center gives you a great view of the amazing puppetry and effects, the larger than life characters, the colorful and innovative sets, and ability to hear one of the strongest singing cast I have heard in any show.
One character that was unusual and also a crowd favorite is David Vaughn as Lord Faraquaad. He does the entire show on his knees, with toy legs hanging in front, making him look about 4 feet tall. He sings marvelously as well.
Patrons also have the opportunity to purchase Shrek gear in the lobby, including those cute and loveable little green ogre ears. (A real Shrek trademark!) Don’t miss this show; it is one that will probably never make it to community theatres. A word of caution: Beware of the fire-breathing Dragon!
SHREK, THE MUSICAL
by DICK KEREKES