[THEATER REVIEW] ‘Shrek: The Musical’ (Murray City Amphitheater)

One of my goals when starting this ‘Summer of Theater’ is I want to get out of my comfort zone. I wanted to go to theaters and venues I’ve never visited and see shows I might not normally see. This last Saturday was such an example when I saw Shrek The Musical at the Murray City Amphitheater. I’m actually not the biggest fan of the original Shrek movie or the franchise. It’s not terrible but the jokes have a very one-and-done quality to me and the animation is nothing special. (The sequel, Shrek 2, is my favorite along with Puss N’ Boots but still not a favorite franchise). Anyway, I wouldn’t have normally gone to see a musical based on Shrek but I was sticking to my goal and to my surprise I ACTUALLY LOVED SHREK THE MUSICAL!

Shrek the Musical is a 2008 musical based on the original 2001 Oscar winning film, Shrek, and the book by William Steig. It has music by Jeanine Teori and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. Evidently there is a filmed version of the musical that was released in 2013.

photo from Murray City Facebook page

The story in this musical follows the plot of the first movie with Shrek and Donkey rescuing Princess Fiona from the lava swamp and dealing with the evil Lord Farquaad. All the casting was top rate and I was especially impressed with how hot it was the night of our performance. It was 95 degrees and they must have been struggling with the thick heavy makeup and costumes but they didn’t show it. Lucas Charon is especially hilarious as Lord Farquaad and the puppetry is very well done. Taylor Smith as Shrek, Amber Kacherian as Fiona and Dugan Brunker as Donkey were all Broadway level quality in their singing and acting.

They also assembled a large cast which makes the choreography and musical sequences a ton of fun. Highlights are ‘Freak Flag’, ‘What’s Up Duloc’ and ‘Who I’d Be’. The production design is minimal but the costumes by Lexie Ostler are very well done with Michelle Garcia doing an excellent job on the costumes. There were also no major sound problems which can be a tricky thing with an outdoor venue.

All in all I really enjoyed this production of Shrek the Musical. My expectations were low and I had a great time .The only downside was how hot it was and the metal benches are really uncomfortable. If you attend a show at the Murray Amphitheater I recommend bring a stadium chair for you back to give you more support. I went through 3 bottles of water it was so hot so be prepared!

Other than that color me surprised I’m a Shrek meets Broadway fan!

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