I'm usually excited to see new musicals. Tonight, Deonn and I got to see Shrek: The Musical at the 5th Avenue here in Seattle. There were 2 problems with this musical going in. First, I'm not really that big of a Shrek fan, so I wasn't excited to see it. Second, I've had this back and neck ache, and sitting for long periods of time is extremely uncomfortable (although not as bad as standing for long periods of time).
So, the first thing I can say is that the musical is too long. My neck didn't appreciate it. They managed to make a 80+ minute movie into a 2.5 hour musical. That takes talent... and not the kind I like. My opinion? They could probably cut 5 or so songs. They could shorten the musical. The flow is not good, sort of like this blog, but with more ballads. Really, there are some really funny and clever moments. The problem is that they are few and far between. Just when you think the pace is quick and fun, they throw in a ballad. Shrek sings many ballads. Wouldn't you think his character would sing some up beat comedic hoe-down? Nope, he gets ballads.
The best thing about this musical? Lord Farquad. Holy moly. That guy is freakin' hilarious. His role is well done. You get some major laughs every time he's around. His costume is wonderful! His songs had very clever lyrics, although none of the music in this musical is particularly memorable. Still, there are good laughs with Farquad. Space Invaders. Hilarious!
Donkey - less annoying than Eddie Murphy, and to me, that's not a good thing. He was not used well, in my opinion. Fiona - she was OK. I mean, I liked Sutton Foster in Young Frankenstein, but I think they wasted her talent. She's good, and they didn't really give her great songs. She can sing, but they don't let her. Shrek - wasted again. I mean, he's good, but he's not loveable. Too much potty humor. When you do a "fart dance", that's too much for me.
Funny thing is, the crowd loved this. They hooted and hollered. So, I didn't think it was that great, but the crowd sure seemed to. How will it do on Broadway? I don't know. Really, it's not that good. But, if it's like The Little Mermaid, people will go just because it's Shrek. It will appeal to people who are fans of Shrek but are not musical theatre goers. To those who see lots of musical theatre, I imagine you will be disappointed. It's probably a little better than The Little Mermaid, but only cuz Farquad is so good and they're not on Heelys.
I don't think it's easy to make Shrek into a musical. They took the humor out of Shrek, just like they took the heart out of the Little Mermaid. People really need to learn to leave well enough alone.
Since I really haven't rated other musicals, here's my quick rundown so you can see if you should listen to my review:
The Little Mermaid: D
Young Frankenstein: B
Avenue Q: A-
Damn Yankees: B- (but Sean Hayes is super funny)
Mary Poppins: C-
Me and My Girl: A+ (it is my favorite musical, and this was the Roosevelt High School production, but I saw it at the 5th Avenue a long time ago)
Les Miserables: A
Phantom of the Opera: C+
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: B+
Parade: A (gotta love Jason Robert Brown)
OK, I've seen way more than that, but I'll stop there. Take this for what it's worth (as Buffalo Springfield would say).
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