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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Shrek: The Musical is an absolute Laugh Riot!

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Last night we took our two kids down to the Orpheum Theater in Omaha, NE to see Shrek: The Musical.  We've all seen the films, so we knew basically what to expect in the way of story, but what my wife and I were not prepared for was a musical that we both got into and thoroughly enjoyed.  

Everything from the lead actor that played Shrek, who has the voice down so well, to the fantastic songs and the hilarious costumes, Shrek: The Musical delights from start to finish.  The show lasts for about two and a half hours, but it goes by fast.  The sequences with the dragon are beyond amazing and the jokes are bountiful and well-mixed into the show.  There are a few jokes for the adults too that (thankfully) go right over the kids' heads!  I was a little skeptical about this show going in, thinking it was just for the kids, but it certainly turned out to be something we could all enjoy.

The kids..they LOVED it.  It was so wonderful to see them laugh and smile and sit at the edge of their seats to see what was going to happen next.  Unique shows like this are such a great way to not only make memories with the family, but a nice way to expose kids to culture early in life.  We cannot recommend this show enough!

SHREK THE MUSICAL will play the Orpheum Theater, for eight performances, Tuesday, October 23 through Sunday, October 28. Performance times are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.  You can get tickets at TicketOmaha.com.
 

Act I
 
Once Upon A Time there was a little ogre named Shrek whose parents sat him down to tell him what all little ogres are lovingly told on their seventh birthday – go away, and don’t come back. That’s right, all ogres are destined to live lonely, miserable lives being chased by torch-wielding mobs who want to kill them. So the young Shrek set off, and eventually found a patch of swampland far away from the world that despised him. Many years pass, and the little ogre grows into a very big ogre, who has learned to love the solitude and privacy of his wonderfully stinky swamp (Big Bright Beautiful World.) Unfortunately, Shrek’s quiet little life is turned upside down when a pack of distraught Fairy Tale Creatures are dumped on his precious land. Pinocchio and his ragtag crew of pigs, witches and bears, lament their sorry fate, and explain that they’ve been banished from the Kingdom of Duloc by the evil Lord Farquaad for being freakishly different from everyone else (Story Of My Life.) Left with no choice, the grumpy ogre sets off to give that egotistical zealot a piece of his mind, and to hopefully get his swamp back, exactly as it was.
 

Shrek Meets Donkey
 

On his way to Duloc, Shrek manages to scare off an army of Farquaad’s soldiers who are trying to capture a terrified talking Donkey. Saved, Donkey takes an immediate liking to our surly hero, and decides it’s his duty to escort Shrek to Duloc. Shrek does everything in his power to lose the annoying sidekick, but Donkey is persistent, unshakable, and in desperate need of a best friend (Don’t Let Me Go.) Meanwhile, Lord Farquaad discovers that he’ll never be king unless he marries a princess. Gingy the gingerbread man is forced to tell him about a beautiful damsel in a far-off dragon-guarded tower. Farquaad vows to marry this Princess Fiona…just as soon he can find someone to rescue her on his behalf.
 

Princess in a Parapet
 

Princess Fiona, we find out, has been pacing the parapet of her tower since she was seven years old, waiting for her Prince Charming to carry her away. Alas, he’s really late. With nothing but a stack of storybooks and a few busted dolls for company, who could blame Fiona for getting impatient? Twenty years in a tower would make anyone a little stir-crazy. Still, her hope never wavers. She’s a princess after all, and this is what princesses do – they grit their teeth and wait to be rescued by a guy in tights (I Know It’s Today.) With Donkey as his guide, Shrek makes his way to Duloc, where he finds Farquaad and his loyal subjects celebrating their newly sanitized kingdom (What’s Up Duloc?) Shrek corners the four-foot tall scoundrel in the sequined doublet, and demands his swamp back. Farquaad agrees to hand over the deed to the swamp on one condition – Shrek must rescue Princess Fiona from the tower, and bring her back to Duloc. And so Shrek and Donkey set out again, walking many miles (The Travel Song) and eventually crossing a perilous bridge over a boiling lake of lava, where Shrek saves Donkey from a near-death experience. Once inside the Dragon’s keep, Shrek dons a helmet, and heads off to find the princess, while Donkey inadvertently stumbles upon a very hungry Dragon with some ideas of her own about happily ever after (Forever.) Donkey somehow manages to charm the plus-size lady-beast, who wants nothing more than to snuggle the chatty sidekick for the rest of his days.
 

A Damsel in Distress
 

Meanwhile, Shrek climbs into Fiona’s tower and discovers that the overjoyed princess has been studying her storybooks and planning every detail of this moment for the past twenty years (This Is How a Dream Comes True.)
 

She flits about her knight in shining armor until he finally gets fed up, tosses her over his shoulder and heads for the exit. Together they and Donkey flee the enraged and heart-broken Dragon, and manage to make a nail-biting, courageous escape. Safe on the other side, Fiona insists on kissing her rescuer, as it is done in all fairytales, but her celebration is cut short when Shrek removes his helmet and reveals his big green face. After all, she’s supposed to be saved by her one true love, not by some ogre and his pet. Shrek explains he’s just a delivery boy, hired to bring her to the guy who REALLY wants to marry her. Fiona, meanwhile, notices the setting sun, suddenly demands they make camp for the night, and dashes into a nearby cave.
 

Donkey Sets Shrek Straight
 

Later that night, alone under the stars and emboldened by their heroic escape from the Dragon, Donkey asks Shrek if he could choose to be anyone else who it would be. Shrek tells his friend that it’s impossible to be someone else when the whole world runs screaming in fear from what they think is a big stupid ugly ogre. Donkey reminds him that he never saw him that way, and Shrek finally relents a little, and agrees to play his game (Who I’d Be.) Little do they know, however, that just behind them, standing in the glow of the moon, our beautiful princess Fiona has transformed into an ogress, as she does every night.
 

Act II

A New Day Dawnstt

 

The next day, Fiona is back to her pretty princess self, skipping through the forest at dawn, singing with woodland creatures and dancing with the Pied Piper’s rat-pack (Morning Person.) Sure, she accidentally blows up a blue bird, and tosses a deer off a cliff, but Fiona is trying her darndest to be the perfect fairytale princess. On the road back to Duloc, Fiona apologizes to Shrek for her behavior the night before. She feels they got off on the wrong foot, and would like to start again. Some good-natured bickering over who had the worse childhood then leads them to realize that they may have a lot more in common than they first assumed. They bond in the most unlikely and odorous of ways, and share what may just be the spark of first love (I Think I Got You Beat.)

On to Duloc
 

Back in the kingdom, Lord Farquaad makes plans for his storybook wedding. The villain’s contempt for Fairy Tale Creatures, as well as his strikingly short stature, is finally brought to light when his vassal Thelonius dares to ask Farquaad whether his father should be on the guest list (The Ballad of Farquaad.) With Duloc on the horizon, Shrek and Fiona stall for time, and agree to stop and share one last campfire together. Donkey, realizing that these two maybe falling for each other, slips into a flashy fantasy where he pulls out all the stops - including mood lighting, some Motown-esque serenading, and three gyrating blind mice singing back-up to get Shrek to open his heart (Make a Move.) With the sun going down, however, Donkey’s dream sequence is cut short when Fiona dashes into a nearby barn, lest her secret be revealed. Donkey begs Shrek to tell the princess how he really feels. When Shrek protests, Donkey decides to talk some sense into the Princess instead. He sneaks into the barn, and comes face to face with a terrifying looking ogress! Fiona calms the scared Donkey and tearfully explains that she’s been cursed since she was a girl. “By day one way, by night another – this shall be the norm, until you find true love’s first kiss and then take love’s true form.” She says she HAS to marry Farquaad, otherwise she’s destined to be an ugly ogress every night.
 

A Misunderstanding
 

Just outside the barn, our inarticulate hero tries to muster the courage to tell Fiona how he really feels (When Words Fail.) He creeps up to the door just in time to hear, “Who could ever love a beast so hideous? Princess and ugly don’t go together!” Assuming Fiona is talking about him, Shrek’s greatest fears are confirmed. He rushes off to Duloc, determined to end this little adventure once and for all. After a sleepless night of soul-searching, Fiona considers what Donkey had to say, and reconciles her feelings for Shrek (Morning Person Reprise.) She intends to confess everything once and for all. She doesn’t get a chance, however, when the fuming ogre storms in and lays into her about the night before. A series of misunderstandings leaves them each angry, hurt and determined to never see each other again. Lord Farquaad shows up right on cue, and proposes to the confused princess. Fiona accepts his proposal, bids the ogre farewell, and rides off to her new life in the castle. Donkey tries to tell Shrek that he’s making a terrible mistake, but Shrek lashes out at his friend, and vows to never leave the solitude of his swamp again.
 

Taking Charge

In another part of the woods, the disgruntled Fairy Tale Creatures have been sent packing yet again. Fed up with the injustices heaped upon them because of how they look, they rally each other, and decide its time to finally stand up for themselves (Freak Flag.) With the wedding hour fast-approaching, Donkey muscles his way onto Shrek’s swamp and gives the stubborn-headed ogre a good dose of tough-love. When Shrek finds out that Fiona wasn’t talking about him after all, he realizes the error of his ways, apologizes to his bestfriend, and wonders how they’re going to stop that wedding. Luckily, Donkey has a plan. Back in the Cathedral of Duloc, Fiona and Lord Farquaad are about to be married when Shrek comes barging in. With all eyes upon him, he steps forward and finally finds the courage to open his heart and tell Fiona that he loves her (Big Bright Beautiful World Reprise.) And if this heartfelt confession didn’t enrage Farquaad enough, the Fairy Tale Creatures come barging in with yet another guest to ruin his perfect wedding - Farquaad’s father! As the son of a grumpy dwarf, the villain is exposed as being as much of a “freak” as the rest of them.
 

Happily Ever After

In this midst of all this chaos, Fiona steps into the light of the setting sun and transforms into an ogress. Farquaad is disgusted, and vows to put her back in that tower, toss the FairyTale Creatures in prison, and send Shrek off to be executed! Little does Farquaad know, however, that Shrek and Donkey have a plan. On Shrek’s signal, the Dragon comes crashing through the stained glass window of the church and swallows up the villain in one satisfying gulp. Shrek has shown the world that he truly is the hero that we always knew he could be. He and Fiona come together at last, sharing true-love’s first kiss. Magical winds whip up, Fiona is swept into the air and the curse is finally broken. The princess has at last taken love’s true form – a stunningly beautiful…ogress. It’s a happy ending after all, as the wedding moves back to Shrek’s swamp where he and Fiona marry…and live happily ever after (This Is My Story.)
 

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