Review Roundup: SHREK THE MUSICAL at Broadway At Music Circus; What Did The Critics Think?
The 2019 season gets underway with the Broadway At Music Circus premiere of the Tony Award-winning musical comedy Shrek the Musical. Sure to delight the entire family, the musical comedy, which Variety calls "a gently subversive fairytale with a contemporary edge, conjuring genuine enchantment and brimming with heart and irreverent charm," runs Tuesday, June 11 through Sunday, June 16 at the Wells Fargo Pavilion.
Making his Broadway At Music Circus debut as the gruff but lovable ogre in Shrek the Musical, Jacob Keith Watsonappeared on Broadway as Enoch Snow in the recent revival of Carousel, as well as in Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler, Amélie, The Phantom of the Opera and Violet. Appearing as his trusty sidekick, André Jordan toured in the role of Donkey with Shrek the Musical, as well as appearing in the Legally Blonde and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat national tours. Portraying Princess Fiona is Kristen Beth Williams, whose Broadway credits include Hello, Dolly!, Pippin, Nice Work If You Can Get It and Anything Goes.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Courtney Symes, BroadwayWorld; The quality that we have come to expect from Broadway at Music Circus is evident in spades, from the set design to the costumes and the principals to the ensemble. Leading the charge to save the princess is Jacob Keith Watsonas Shrek in his Music Circus debut. It isn't easy to sing with a huge prosthetic nose and head, but Watson sure makes it look as if it is. His lumbering, crotchety, and eventually heroic Shrek is exactly what I was looking for. Director Glenn Casaleplucked him straight out of the DreamWorks movie and set him in the round for all of us to enjoy. Joining him at the hip, falling straight out of the sky and into our hearts, is Andre Jordanas Donkey. Having played the role in the national tour, it fits him like a well-worn glove. Some comedic braying and Donkey-fied dance moves put him well into the unforgettable category for this season at Music Circus. The object of their quest, Princess Fiona, seems to hardly need rescuing. Kristen Beth Williamsis a strong, fearless female who can outwit, out-screech, and out-fart any man or beast that comes her way. Steven Strafforddoes NOT come up short as Lord Farquaad. His slimy condescension makes it easy to hate him while simultaneously loving him for being THAT good.Jennifer Leigh Warren, of the original Broadway casts of Big River and Little Shop of Horrors, brings that famous Broadway belt to the role of Dragon, another character who wants to be valued for who she is inside. A flawless ensemble keeps the audience on its feet with familiar favorites and boundless energy. "Story of My Life," "Freak Flag," and "I'm a Believer" deliver on the feel-good power of music while inspiring us all to value who we are.
Jeff Hudson, Capital Public Radio: The score hopscotches through many musical styles, including the blues. André Jordan play the motormouth donkey, and gee, it must get hot doing all that prancing and preening in a head-to-toe costume. Actor Jacob Keith Watson, as the ogre, has clearly absorbed Kermit the Frog's lesson that "It's not easy being green." Kristen Beth Williams is beautiful and commanding as Princess Fiona. All three of these actors are at the Music Circus for the first time. A final word to grownups: While "Shrek" isfor kids, it also runs 2.5 hours, so if you're going to bring a 4-year-old, you might want to consider an afternoon matinee. Though carrying a sleeping preschooler back to the car after an evening show can also be a rewarding parental experience.
Michael P. Coleman SAC Cultural Hub: Pay rapt attention to the songs in this production, as there are brilliantly humorous lyrics hidden in this show's standard fairy tale fare. Don't blink or you'll miss a MAGA reference in addition to pseudo tributes to other legendary Broadway musicals like The Lion King, Dreamgirls, and Gypsy. The very young ones may miss them - in fact, Shrek the Musicalis rife with adult-targeted jokes. I'll think of one of them, and smile, the next time a bug hits my windshield. Those jokes aren't adult-themed, mind you: this show is decidedly family-friendly. In fact, there's even a few flatulent-esque funny moments for the kids (off all ages...what's become of us that we all think these stinkers are so funny?). There's also a special program booklet for children who attend the show.