A Review Crew Review – Shrek the Musical

This past week, I was lucky enough to get two free tickets to the Broadway showing of Shrek, which had just opened up right here in Playhouse Square at the gorgeous Palace Theater.

I was really excited to see it – I loved Shrek (the movie) when I first saw it however many years ago and remember watching it over and over again with my younger brother. I was curious to see how the movie had been adopted for the theater.

What did I think of Shrek? Should you see it? Did it do the movie justice? Read on …

What were some parts of the musical that I enjoyed?

The scenery was great – it was childlike and colorful, which fit the show perfectly. The costumes were also great – Donkey’s head-to-toe getup was lifelike and creepy at the same time (a compliment), and Pinocchio’s costume (complete with a growing nose) was perfect!

The dancing was also fabulous. Lord Farquaad’s costume and dancing was hilarious – perfect for kids. There’s also a scene where the Princess dances with some rats (from the Pied Pieper of course), which turns into a full-blown tap dance (and the rats become tap shoes) which was unforgettable. My favorite song (singing and dancing), was Let Your Freak Flag Fly –  a song with a beautiful message (a la Lady Gaga’s Born This Way) and a catchy tune.

The musical also paid homage to and made fun of various other musicals and nursery rhymes – which was great. I lost count of all the references, but there were shoutouts to the Disney Lion King musical, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, etc.

How did the musical relate to the movie?

I’ve only seen Shrek 1 and Shrek 2 … sorry, I never made it past those two. The musical follows the plotline of the first movie pretty closely. Even some of my favorite scenes, word for word, were in the musical (“Not my gumdrop buttons!!!” was even included).

I thought the musical did a good job of bringing the movie to life on stage. The kids in the audience definitely agreed – they were all cheering, laughing and even dancing along. My only complaint? Sometimes the plotline felt a little lost (as I feel sometimes happens when things are sung, rather than spoken) and the characters weren’t as developed as they could’ve been. Shrek was still bumbly and loveable – but not the same as the movie.

Also, the music was fun – but that’s about it. Besides the aforementioned Let Your Freak Flag Fly and the finale (surprise for you), there really weren’t any catchy, memorable songs.

Should you see the musical Shrek?

Yes! Here’s who should see it:

  • Anyone with kids. Kids in the audience and children of Review Crew members loved the musical. They were laughing, smiling and dancing along.
  • Anyone who needs to be cheered up. Seriously, if you’re in a bad mood, I promise you won’t leave Shrek in a worse one! I went in feeling a little tired and sick (was coming down with a cold) and left feeling awake and energetic.
  • Anyone who’s a kid at heart. Would it have been better if I had brought a kid with me as opposed to my fiancé? Perhaps (he liked it but wasn’t singing and dancing along). Would I have enjoyed the musical more about 16 years ago? Perhaps … but the kid at heart in me still loved the musical and had a great time. Thanks Playhouse Square and Review Crew!

More from me and my other Review Crew friends:

A Mid-Winter Escape to a Tropical Paradise – South Pacific

It’s been two weeks since I saw South Pacific at Playhouse Square with the Review Crew, and I feel awful that I haven’t sat down and written a review. Why? It’s not because I was at a loss for words (am I ever?). It’s not because I was simply too busy. No, it’s because I was trying to think of something critical to say. How could I write a review of a musical without critiquing the acting ..or the music … or the dancing? Well, all that and more were incredible and with that, I give you my review.

South Pacific was amazing. As I sat inside the majestic Palace Theater on the freezing winter February evening, I was transported to a tropical island in the South Pacific and forgot about the treacherous ice storm that was building outside. As soon as the curtain rose and the sound of the full orchestra (yes, you read that right — South Pacific is one of the few traveling productions with a full orchestra), I was captivated by the singing and romantic story. It was my first time seeing the production (I hadn’t even seen the movie before) and the music was all that music in a musical should be- memorable, catchy and something that makes you smile. Even the next day I found myself singing a few of my new favorites – There Is Nothing Like a Dame (who wouldn’t like a bunch of military men singing about ladies?!) and I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair. I enjoyed the story itself. While I loved the World War II era setting (especially the costumes .. loved the old bathing suits!), the tale, a timeless love story with underlying tones of racial prejudice, could have taken place in any era.

While it’s too late to buy tickets (sorry, I meant to have this posted sooner!), I highly recommend you keep an eye out for the next time it comes to Playhouse Square. Besides a few technical difficulties (mainly microphone/sound system issues) on Opening Night, the musical was a masterpiece and a must-see for anyone looking to take a mini tropical vacation — without leaving Cleveland.

Don’t take my word for it – see what the rest of the Review Crew had to say: