March 24, 2009

Big Bright Beautiful World

Brian d'Arcy James' vocal talent lets his inner human out of his ogre-y facade. "Who I'd Be" which concludes Act I is just beautiful. Daniel Breaker is well-cast as the ornery sidekick Donkey.
But of course I have to sing my praises to triple threat Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona. Her "Morning Person" number alone is worth the price of admission, plus the "I Think I Got you Beat" duet with Mr. James. Her comedic timing is impeccable, her voice pure, her dancing, flawless.
Christopher Sieber is fun, hamming it up as the vertically challenged Lord Farquaad. The role literally brought Mr. Sieber down on his knees.
Shrek the Musical was better than I expected. The recent spate of film-to-stage adaptations left me wary (yes I'm talking to you Mermaid) but Shrek didn't disappoint. The sets and costumes are beautiful and there are no surprises plot-wise because it stays faithful to the movie. In addition to pop culture jokes that the movie is known for, they also throw in a dash of Broadway references. The show sticks to the film's original themes of inner beauty, self-acceptance, tolerance for and taking pride in our differences, and finding commonality with others who seem to be our polar opposites. But it was the remarkable performances that I truly enjoyed.


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