Thursday, December 11, 2008

Far Far Away - Shrek The Musical - Musical Review

Shrek The Musical - Broadway Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - ** (out of 5 stars)
Music by Jeanine Tesori, Book & Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, Directed by Jason Moore

Once upon a time, in a land Broad Broad a-way, there was a beautiful princess named Sutton Foster, and she could sing and dance and sparkle because a fairy godmother must have sprinkled her with some magical dust. There were also several handsome princes in this New land of York. A tall and handsome blond prince named Christopher Sieber who once hammed it up a lot in a land named Spam, a spry and adorable John Tartaglia who moved a few streets over from Avenue Q, Next to Normal Brian d'Arcy James, who once had the Sweet Smell of Success , and the newest prince in the land, Daniel Breaker who was Passing Strange places before he arrived in Broad-way.

There was also this magician, Jason Moore, who had once turned foam puppets alive so they could sing and dance for people on the street of Avenue Q and a smart professor David Lindsay-Abaire who appeared from a Rabbit Hole and smart people screamed "pull-its-her" when they saw him.

Then one day, an evil kingdom that made Dreams work captured the magician, the professor, the beautiful princess, the 4 handsome princes and an assortment of other fairies, dwarves and townsfolks and forced them to work in a cavernous Broadway where they were forced to sing and dance and mug for the unknowing townsfolk who were being robbed as they laughed away. The evil kingdom enticed the townsfolk visiting this New land of York with a night of pleasure and delight and then blinded their senses with colours and candy at the market set up on the way to the show.

So the usually sparkly princess Sutton Foster was forced to change her name to Princess Fiona and her sparkle disappeared under the stress. Brian d'Arcy James fell into an even worse fate and was put under an evil spell that turned him into a big green ogre named Shrek with a fake Scottish accent and the evil kingdom forced him to mimic Mike Myers.

The handsome and tall prince Christopher Sieber had his legs cut off and the audience laughed and laughed as they called him Lord Farquaad, but being the true prince that he is, Sieber stayed just as wonderful as his usual self and made do with his newly short stature, even making fun of himself along the way and ended up stealing the show from the evil kingdom. The magician managed to give Sieber his legs back just for a few moments and Sieber ran with the sightly pun and won the hearts of the restless townsfolk.

The newest prince Daniel Breaker was cursed and turned into a Donkey but Breaker showed his true star quality by making Donkey such a delight that you felt sorry for his new fate.

Sadly, the usually adorable John Tartaglia was cursed into a wooden character with a nose that grew every time he lied, and then the evil kingdom sent him off into the background chorus never to be really seen again.

A few of the fairies and dwarves like Haven Burton and Jennifer Cody tried to save the show and they tried with all their might, but alas, it was all too much for them to bear. There was even a gigantic Dragon trying to save the day. She was big and beautiful but alas, she lost her voice in Seattle and now sounded like a big jumbly mess as a background chorus tried to speak for her.

In the end, the evil kingdom stole the soul from the show and killed it while they tried to control everything without having the proper recipe for success and it all became a big mess. The songs were pleasant enough but unmemorable. The dancing was forgettable, especially when the evil kingdom made the beautiful princess Fiona dance with rats. The plot and story was unmoving and even the land looked surprisingly flat, strange since the evil kingdom was putting a spell at turning a 2D world into a 3 dimensional place.

The professor and the magician were able to spice it up with some funny moments that made fun of popular musicals that had played in the land of Broad Ways, but most townsfolks didn't really get it since the evil kingdom had enticed townsfolks that usually don't attend musicals. Instead, the townsfolks laughed and laughed at the farting jokes as they were still under the evil kingdom's spell.

But alas, between a whole song about farting, wasting away the talents of the talented prisoners (er... actors?), and a strangely cheap looking world, the kingdom of Dreams works very hard at losing its dream of putting on a great show and ends up with something mediocre. Yes, Shrek was marginally happier than the other monster Young Frankenstein but Shrek should have been living in the happiest place on earth, especially if they were going to tease and make fun of those that lived there. Apparently the evil kingdom and its puppets of magicians and professors have made some changes since, and were supposed to add in a closing encore song and dance that will hopefully make the land of Broad ways a happier place but this towns folk could only reach into the skies and pull out 2 stars.

A lot more magic would be needed to get more stars. A lot.

At least the evil kingdom, trying to trick the little kids with sugar and spice, announced a $26.50 lotto at 10 am daily in the M&M Shoppe near the Times Square, a strange and magical place that isn't actually square.

1 comment:

Esther said...

I love it! Your review is much funnier than the show! They should call you in as a consultant. And I agree - they definitely needed more magic in this kingdom. Say what you will about Disney, at least the House of Mouse knows how to make your jaw drop in amazement. I can't say the same about the kingdom of Dreams that don't quite work.