Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shrek The Musical

Once upon a time an ugly green ogre came to the land of orange where plastic surgery was a perfectly accepted way to banish any slight imperfection. The ugly ogre taught the people from the county of oranges it’s a beautiful thing to let your freak flag fly and perhaps, being the REAL YOU is the new beauty.

Shrek The Musical, deftly adapted from the first Shrek movie and the original 1990 story by William Steig gave Orange Countians their moneys worth. The musical is funny, light-hearted and charming. Several of the songs, while not of Sondheim's standard are catchy (I Know It's Today with its beautiful harmonies has been stuck in my head for days) and the message is one we should encourage everyone to learn - accepting oneself is the foundation for happiness. Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and even Lord Farquad illustrate it's who you are, not what you look like or what status you have, that counts. "Shrek" works first and foremost for the same reasons that all good stories work: we can relate to the characters, their challenges and insecurities.

Unless you’ve been living in a swamp you know the plot. What’s newsworthy is the abundance of talented performances by this top notch cast. This high-class touring production features an eye-popping array of colorful costumes for an army of fairytale characters, constantly changing scenery with backdrops displaying moving projections of clouds and the very plot-important sunset.

"Shrek" is full of smart dialogue and clever, character-revealing songs. Shrek offers plenty of humor for grown-up theater fans, poking fun at Wicked, The Lion King, Les Mis and more. The second act Shrek-Fiona duet, "I Think I Got You Beat," - an audience favorite with its celebration of flatulence and belching - remain, as does Neil Diamond's "I'm a Believer," which is still used as a curtain-call addition.

Lukas Poost captures Shrek's bigger than life personality. Wearing a ton of padding and makeup, he still manages to have both a lumbering and agile physicality with energy throughout the 2.5 hour production. I enjoyed Poost’s characterization of Shrek and was pleased he didn’t fall back on an evening of imitating Mike Myers.

Playing Fiona, Liz Shivener wins over the audience with her exuberance and whit. She plays the bipolar sweet and sour balancing act of beautiful princess / ‘ugly’ ogre with skill.

Ande Jordan has the donkey’s share of the show's scene-stealing lines. Jordan’s vocal delivery will remind you of Eddie Murphy's over-the-top Donkey from the films, but the role played any other way would just not be Donkey, so Drama Momma understands and lets it slide.

Merritt David Janes gets the Drama Momma award for best comedic performance as Lord Farquaad. His physical comedy and timing is the best I’ve seen in a long time and reminded me of the classic Korman/Conway physical comedy bits in the old Carol Burnett Show. I loved it all and you will, too.


Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Segerstrom Hall

October 4 – 16, 2011

Tuesdays – Fridays at 7:30 p.m.

Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Sundays at 1 and 6:30 p.m.

The 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, October 15 will be sign-language interpreted.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Segerstrom Hall

600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA

Tickets: Start at $20; tickets on sale Sunday, August 28

In person - The Box Office

600 Town Center Drive

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily

Online -

Phone - (714) 556-2787

Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily

Monday, October 3, 2011



Shrek photo 3 by Joan Marcus 
On Thursday, October 6 at 4 p.m., the public is invited to a free mini-performance by the cast of SHREK THE MUSICAL at South Coast Plaza on the ground level of Carousel Court. Cast members will sing a selection of songs from its fun and lively score. Following the performance, cast members will be available to sign autographs and meet audience members. There will also be ticket giveaways to see SHREK THE MUSICAL during its engagement at Segerstrom Center October 4 – 16.

SHREK THE MUSICAL, based on the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks film that started it all, brings the hilarious story of everyone’s favorite ogre to life on stage.