Recently released to Blu-Ray and DVD is the Broadway musical version of the classic story of our favorite ogre, Shrek. Shrek the Musical is an adaptation of the beloved movie Shrek. All of the memorable characters are here in this musical version which tells the story of the ogre Shrek and how he learns about love and friendship. As a young ogre Shrek is sent out into the world by his parents where he learns at an early age that things are different for an ogre. He is treated much differently than the human children. As Shrek grows up he learns to live on his own and avoid people, because usually they are carrying torches and pitchforks and wanting to kill him. When every fairy tale creature in the land is displaced to his swamp, he makes a deal with the local Lord wannabe King to rescue Princess Fiona from the dragon guarded castle in exchange for the deed to his swamp. Along with his sidekick Donkey, they embark on the task of rescuing the princess and at the same time Shrek learns a valuable lesson about acceptance. The storyline is similar to the movie, except there are musical numbers added to enhance the story. Being a Broadway musical, Shrek the Musical is a full blown production that has all the bells and whistles including creative sets, fantastic costumes, and original songs. No expense was spared when it came to the production of this musical, but somehow it fell short of the magic that was originally established in the first movie.
Directed by Jason Moore, Shrek the Musical follows the original story of the hit movie. In some scenes the script is verbatim to the movie, while dramatic license is taken with other parts of the show. Many of the jokes from the film made it into the musical and many new quips were added to bring some originality to the musical. The songs are creative and catchy, fitting delicately into the storyline and enhancing the tale. I just kept waiting for that special something that I felt when I saw the movie for the first time to occur again while I was watching the musical. To my disappointment I never felt that magic here. The musical is well directed and produced, it has amazing sets and costumes, no expense was spared when it came to putting the musical together. It is just missing that special something to make it perfect in every way.
There are many wonderful aspects to this movie that come through in the musical. The actors who played the parts did an outstanding job in portraying the characters. Daniel Breaker as Donkey is lively and hilarious, making the character made famous by Eddie Murphy his very own. Brian d’Arcy James plays Shrek, and he is a grumpy and cantankerous ogre who finds that the world is very different when you love someone. Fiona is played by the lovely Sutton Foster who is a perfect princess who is hiding a deep dark secret. The real gem of this musical is the portrayal of Lord Farquaad by Chrisopher Sieber, He is amazingly good as the little man who wants nothing more than to be king of Duloc. Hilarious and full of vitality, Sieber almost steals the show! Shrek the Musical is a creative and interesting movie that brings the glory of the Broadway show into the homes of all of America, it is just lacking that extra something to make it magical.