More than Your Typical Fairy Tale

By Amanda Corazzi

Fiona (Elizabeth Telford), Donkey
(Lamar Jefferson) and 
(John Maclay) go on a journey.
Princesses that need to be rescued, knights in shining armor, and once upon a time…These are what come to mind when people usually think of fairy tales. First Stage’s SHREK THE MUSICAL has all these elements but is not your typical fairy tale. Based off the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig, SHREK THE MUSICAL tells the story of Shrek the ogre and his “trusty steed” Donkey as they work to rescue Princess Fiona.

On this journey, Shrek learns that heroes can come in the most unlikely forms and to raise his Freak Flag high!  The musical goes deeper in teaching what it means to be a good friend, how to be courageous and what it means to love someone for who they are on the inside. 

“It will be a Shrek that no one has ever seen before, and the perfect show to begin this season,” said Artistic Director Jeff Frank. “For all of us who have ever felt like a freak at one time or another, this show gives us a chance to celebrate our uniqueness and let our freak flags fly!”

Shrek makes his first friend in Donkey, whether he likes it or not. Lamar Jefferson, who plays Donkey in First Stage’s adaptation, loves the musical songs that bring life to the production and the characters.

Lord Farquaad (Matt Daniels) and the
Duloc Performers
“I think it does dive into a little bit of the emotional side, a little bit more than the movie did,” said Lamar. “It still has all the humor, all the laughter, all the fun of the movie and still delivers the great message of ‘we might be different but, hey, being different is great.’”

He says the songs give a good look into the character’s inner thoughts and background. It’s also a way to get one of the messages out. The character of Gingy says “We spend our whole lives wishing we weren’t so freaking strange.” By the end of the musical, the characters learn how to accept their differences and not to mold to everyone else. Shrek learns that even a big, ugly ogre can be a hero and win the princess’s heart. Fiona realizes that looks are not everything and you should never hide who you are meant to be.

“It’s not about molding into some society of being similar or being in a clique,” said Tommy Novak who plays the Big Bad Wolf. “It’s really a beautiful story because it has a message of be who you want to be and that’s okay. We’re all different but we need to embrace that difference.”

Young performers in Shrek The Musical, Night Cast
In the musical, Shrek embraces how he is different, and raises his Freak Flag with the other fairy tale characters. During the run of Shrek, local students and theater goers are invited to fly Freak Flags in the lobby. These Freak Flags encourage children to celebrate what is unique about them, and embrace what makes them special in a positive way like Shrek. Children can make their own Freak Flag when they come to the theater, or you can download your freak flag before the show. 

“I think it’s a really fun show for families to see,” said young performer Mari Duckler who plays Teen Fiona in the Day Cast. “There’s humor for kids and there’s humor for adults. It’s so touching at points and yet so fun and hilarious at others.”

Lamar agrees. “People are going to love it; they’re going to eat the show up. It’s going to be great.”

SHREK THE MUSICAL runs through November 17, 2013. 

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