‘Shrek is more than a simple tale

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Cast of Shrek the Musical at Marriott Theatre
Cast of Shrek the Musical at Marriott Theatre

There are many reasons to see “Shrek the Musical,”   now playing in Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences’ series.

As has come to be expected of Marriott shows whether for adult, general or young audiences, the singing, choreography and costumes are first rate.

Directed by Scott Weinstein, with musical direction by Matt Deitchman and choreography by William Carlos Angulo, “Shrek” has a cast actors known to Chicago audiences. Shea Coffman is Shrek, Jacquelyn Jones plays Fiona, Jonathan Butler-Duplessis is Donkey and Steven Strafford portrays Farquaad.

Then there is Marriott’s understanding that a show for young audiences shouldn’t be more than an hour and that scary creatures such as dragons should be shown as merely clever representations actually moved by actors they can see yet still ferocious enough to interest older children.

But what these shows really come down to for parents and grandparents of grade-school youngsters are talking points for discussions on the way home.

Adapted by Jeanie Tesori and David Lindsay Abaire form DreamWorks’ Oscar-winning movie, “Shrek the Musical,” the show revolves around fairy-tale characters sent to ogre Shrek’s swamp because they have no place to go after being ousted from Farquaad’s kingdom. Farquaad considers them weird and he wants what he considers to be an ideal realm.

Families who think this theme is similar to what is going on now and in the past across the globe or merely want to ask their youngsters what they think about Farquaad and his ideas have a strong basis for discussion in “Shrek.”

Shea Coffman, Jonathan Butler-Duplessis, and Jacquelyne Jones in Shrek the Musical.
Shea Coffman, Jonathan Butler-Duplessis, and Jacquelyne Jones in Shrek the Musical.

However, the ending also  leaves a lot open to discussion. Shrek accedes to Farquaad’s wishes to bring him a princess in order to become a king and have a queen . Shrek does so because his reward is to have total ownership and control of the swamp.

The proposed match doesn’t work out. The ogre and the princess realize they’re in love . Shrek welcomes the princess and fairy tale characters to his swamp and everyone is supposedly happy.

So first, there is the argument that love’s first kiss can reveal one’s true self which is what the princess was told when a spell was cast upon her. In the musical  the princess and Shrek find out they are alike.  And there is the question of do princesses still need rescuing?

Then, there is the talking point, not made in the show, of why should characters who are unlike those in a kingdom, country or area have to reside outside it even if they are welcome elsewhere, such as the show’s swamp.

DETAILS; “Shrek the Musical” is at Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, through Dec. 30, 2018. Running time: One hour. For tickets and other information call (847) 634-0200 or visit Marriott Theatre.

Jodie Jacobs

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago

 

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