Monday, July 18, 2016

reviews - SHREK, THE MUSICAL - Arizona Broadway Theatre

Deonte Warren
photo: Kat Barnes
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through August 14th.

"Even though William Steig’s original 1990 book is given credit, it’s really the 2001 animated feature upon which Shrek The Musical is based.  And audiences wouldn’t want it any other way....it’s the kind of big, brash, brightly covered, summer holiday gag-fest guaranteed to make family audiences feel giddy with delight as they leave the theatre with the biggest of grins on their faces...Shrek The Musical pretty much follows the same path as the original film. ...With book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire and music by Jeanine Tesori, Shrek’s score is peppered with memorable hooks ....David Brumfield’s comically eye-rolling, broad delivery of the villainous and short in stature Lord Farquaad is continually laugh-out-loud funny.  So, too is Deonte L. Warren’s motor mouth Donkey ...Jason Simon, who scored so well with ABT audiences as Tevye in the recent production of Fiddler on the Roof, injects warmth, heart and humor as the ogre Shrek ...but it’s Liz Fallon’s Fiona that steals the show.  With outstanding comic timing plus a soaring voice, not to mention a great dancer to boot, Liz’s personality fills the stage...Supported with lively choreography from Kurtis W. Overby, director Mace Archer has recreated the fun and energy of the original production and re-shaped it for the ABT stage.  It’s not altogether great theatre.... (but)...it’s very, very funny. " -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"Based on the hit animated film, and the children’s book by William Steig, Shrek the Musical is a fairly faithful adaptation of both the book and movie...Arizona Broadway Theatre presents a hilarious, fun-filled production of this comical show that features an exceptional cast and bright, colorful creative elements....The musical’s witty and imaginative book and zany lyrics are from Pulitzer Prize winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire. While Jeanine Tesori’s music is fun and varied and Lindsay-Abaire’s lyrics are creative, a few of the songs are just average and some of Lindsay-Abaire’s jokes could be better...in the end, the fun characters and charming score outweigh the downsides and the end result is a joyful, upbeat show. ....the ABT cast is absolutely perfect. .Jason Simon’s powerful voice excels on Shrek’s many solo songs but he also exudes warmth and charm as the lovable ogre....Liz Fallon is a hoot as Fiona. She is feisty, sweet and zany, and sometimes exudes all three traits at the same time....In the supporting cast, David Brumfield is hilarious as Lord Farquaad and Deonte L. Warren is a comical gem as the non-stop talking Donkey....Mace Archer’s direction keeps the frenzied fun of the show at a high energy level from the opening number through to the finale....Shrek is full of fun characters and is a joyful romp through a fairy tale land. While the plot may be a little too familiar for those who are fans of the film, and a few of the songs are just ho-hum, it still has plenty of comical moments as well as several upbeat songs and witty lyrics. With an excellent cast and colorful creative aspects, ABT’s production amounts to an utterly enjoyable experience." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"... musical comedy fluff with just enough serious stuffing ...Based on the 2001 animated DreamWorks "Shrek" movie, the Broadway musical (2008) is a lively, crass cartoon come to life. The rough-edged, fairy tale characters with hearts of gold (for the most part) were led at ABT by an excellent Shrek (Jason Simon) and Princess Fiona (Liz Fallon) along with ubiquitous Donkey (Deonte L. Warren). The three fluently spoke and pleasingly sung the comedic language that propels the action, but never completely concealed the real, human fragility that the sarcasm and self-deprecating humor were designed to cover....The supporting storybook ensemble was as beautifully costumed as they were energetically talented. Though the music, lyrics and choreography are neither sophisticated nor complex, they were oh so polished and well-blended. ...Along with well-coached pacing, director Mace Archer also made excellent use of his technical team's talents. The castle and forested settings are magically lit, featuring a huge moon that waxes and wanes from full to crescent as it glides softly through colorful scene changes....Yes, formulaic, predictable and almost sit-com light. ...Yet, Arizona Broadway Theatre's "Shrek the Musical" remembers to bolster that trite fun with freakish, shunned-just-because-they're-different characters whose trod-upon, timid flags--like our own, need encouragement to fly." -Jennifer Haaland, Examiner.com (click here to read the complete review)

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