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by Charlsie Dewey | charlsie@revuewm.com THEATRE


Shrek Visits the Far Far Away Land of Grand Rapids


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HREK AND THE BELOVED char- acters of the original animated film find their way to DeVos Performance Hall this month in the Broadway hit Shrek the Musical. Ousted from their home in the Kingdom of Duloc, the fairy tale characters seek refuge


in the swampy outlying areas, but soon find they are unwanted there as well. The swamp’s resident bad guy, ogre Shrek, is eager to see this motley crew returned to the kingdom and have his swampy oasis to himself once more. He sets out to speak with Lord Farquaad, ruler of the kingdom, hoping to restore his privacy, but instead ends up on a mission to save Princess Fiona and reluc- tantly befriends Donkey along the way. Alan Mingo, Jr. plays Donkey on the national tour


SHREK THE MUSICAL DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids June 21-26, show times at 1, 2, 6:30, 7:30 and 8 p.m. $32-$62 devosperformancehall.com, (616) 742-6500


and says although Shrek the Musical follows the original story, it is not a carbon copy of the film. Instead, the stage version, written by David Lindsay-Abaire, offers original musical numbers and choreogra- phy, as well as a slew of additional situations for our heroes. “The songs add on


to the story and may give more depth,” Mingo said.


“For instance, in our show you get to see Shrek as a little kid and you see Fiona as a little kid, as they are being cast off by their parents.” This will be the third time Mingo’s reincarnated


an animated character on the stage. He also appeared in productions of The Lion King and Little Mermaid. He understands the challenges of bringing favorite characters to life. “Just the name recognition of Shrek, people are


coming with an expectation of these characters. So it is really important to try and make sure the characters are identifiable and easily recognizable.” While the cast has made the characters their own,


Brian d’Arcy James as Shrek. PHOTO: JOAN MARCUS


audiences won’t be disappointed by the portrayals. Mingo assures us that all of Eddie Murphy’s best “isms” are pres- ent in his portrayal. Audiences will also be happy to know that the duality of child and


adult humor from the movie has been translated to the stage, making it a fun night out for everyone. “We have a lot of jokes that go right over the kids’ heads.” The musical also takes a jab at several other well-known Broadway


productions, including Les Miserables and Dream Girls, adding yet an- other comedic level.


Shrek the Musical was nominated for seven Tony awards, and de-


signer Tim Hatley won for Best Costume Design of a Musical. Hatley designed both the elaborate costumes and set so that kids and adults alike will be transported into the land of far, far away with all of its wonderful, mesmerizing grandeur. Mingo said Dragon will amaze audiences, and he promises a show-


stopper of a number when the giant puppet – spanning the length of the stage – flies overhead. This comedic story is one of self-acceptance that will likely have everyone singing along to the final number, “I’m a Believer.” n


SCHEDULE | DINING |SIGHTS


SOUNDS | SCENE


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