A touring company of Shrek: The Musical recently stopped by Toronto. I debating for a long while whether I wanted to see it. Finally after listening to the music on YouTube, which I found charming, I decided to go. Before the performance I got a copy of the Broadway cast recording and listened to it repeatedly. Having not seen the movie for quite some time there was enough in the songs to put the story line back together and I found all sorts of material that made me smile.
|Merritt David Janes and the Duloc Dancers|
|Andre Jordan (miami.broadway.com)|
|Liz Shivener |
|Lukas Poost getting "shreked"|
I went to check out the orchestra pit during intermission and was surprised to find the conductor, Kevin Casey, chatting with kids in the front row and others who came for a look too. Typically the orchestra doesn't seem to interact at all with the audience, especially the conductor. He was asking them about their favourite musicals and how they liked the show so far. Even the drummer got into it when one of the kids said they hadn't heard him, so he said he'd play even louder and break a few sticks. One of the reed players (with about 3 saxes, a few clarinets, flute, and possibly something else) had a book beside his chair. Joanne Fluke's "Blueberry Muffin Murder". I don't think I've seen anyone else read that series besides me. A good choice of fluff reading to pass the time you're not playing. I didn't detect any missing sounds, so I guess he didn't get too involved in the "who done it" to miss his entrances.
The show is fun, even if the scene with the Dragon got a bit repetitive with the going around in circles, probably a larger stage would have helped. It's not a fantastic piece of Broadway marvel to break any new boundaries, and with the pop references who knows if it'll be fresh 10 years from now. But as Shrek said it's about time fairy tales were updated and this update fits the bill.