Davis Musical Theatre Company kicked off it’s 30th season Friday night with Shrek the Musical.
Before we talk about the show itself, let me take a moment to appreciate how truly amazing it is that DMTC has kept its doors open for 30 seasons. It’s quite an accomplishment for any theater to last three decades, and DMTCs brigade of volunteer and community-based actors and staff have kept the place humming along. The company’s longevity is applause-worthy in and of itself.
Now—on to the show.
When I first heard that the movie Shrek was being turned into a musical, I let out one of those agonized “what is the world coming to” groans. “Another terrible rip-off of something that’s already been done,” I thought, and lamented the general lack of originality on Broadway.
Given my initial feelings toward the show, I’m quite surprised to be telling you that Shrek is adorable, and well worth the time to see. The lyrics are clever, and the songs added to the show give the characters more depth. There is a lot of spectacle: a huge dragon puppet, Farquad performing on his knees for the duration of the show, over-the-top costumes, and cool special effects. Given all this showmanship, Shrek could be a good introduction to theater for young audiences. Kids who have seen the movie are already familiar with the story and characters, and the stage version is quite fun.
DMTC’s production of this excellent script is up to their usual standards. Kevin Carvalho gives the show a solid foundation as the title character. His voice lends itself very well to the clever lyrics and melodies in his songs. In particular, I loved “Who I’d Be,” the Act II closer, and “Build a Wall” is also a strong number.
Donkey, Shrek’s faithful but not-entirely-desired companion played by David Ewey, is a nice contrast to Carvalho. He survived some costume difficulties on opening night—his headpiece kept wanting to fall off and succeeded in doing so at one point—but he didn’t let it affect his energetic performance.
Jessica McKillican as Fiona has a nice voice, and pulled out the stops in the Act II opener (and big production number) “Morning Person.”
If I have one minor complaint to voice, it’s that the sound balance in the theater is a bit off. The actors are not miked, while the band is. The orchestra is situated under the stage, so I understand the choice to give them some sound reinforcement, but I think the actors should be included in that mix. It would make shows easier on both the performers trying to get lines across and audience members trying to hear what’s going on.
That said, Shrek the Musical is a fun show, and a great effort by DMTC.
Article originally written for BroadwayWorld.com
Shrek the Musical plays through October 5. More information can be found HERE.