The Center for the Arts in Murfreesboro has a special treat for all Shrek loving kids … Shrek the Musical! The cast if full of children of varying ages that performed to the best of their own ability. While the performance doesn’t take a parallel ride next to the Shrek movie (pretty close), it does stay in stride with the Broadway performance. With each changing of the scenes, each cast member poured their acting ability and enthusiasm to put on a great show out to the audience — which is filled with kids. One can tell that this cast is full of young performers destined for greatness. So, I’ll tell you a few of my favorites.
Shrek, Jeffrey LaPorte, was played out wonderfully. His loud, full voice had the perfect Shrek accent and didn’t falter throughout the entire show. Although he could’ve used a little more green makeup across his forehead, his costume was great and he held on to his role even through some minor technical difficulties … like the kid from the audience who went running right in front of him to the horror of the parent. Jeffrey LaPorte didn’t even show that he noticed, which there’s no way he couldn’t have since the boy was a mere 3 feet from him! LOL. It was funny.
One of my favorite costumes was that of Pinocchio, played by Adam LaPorte. The design was marvelous and his portrayal of the character was splendid down to the unique voice as known from the show. Adam LaPorte really put a lot of enthusiasm into this character and could be seen well throughout his appearances. My daughter was excited to see that his costume was even rigged to make his nose grow!
Then there’s Lord Farquaad, played by Blake Holliday, who was absolutely phenomenal! Having to play the role of a man of such short stature, the play lends itself to one walking around on his knees. This was quite funny in the eyes of youngsters and I found my daughter, age 7, practically standing up to see around the people in front of her and down to the floor where Lord Farquaad was walking around. She was amazed by this. Holliday’s personality must be wonderful because he made each and every facial reaction and tone of voice go right with his character. He mastered this role perfectly.
We can’t forget Donkey, played by Sevon Askew. His playfulness adheres to the true Donkey character and is so funny! There was so much life and effort put forth to this character as Donkey, I think, is a hard role to fulfill. With all the running and walking around, you know he was out of breath, but he pulled off the part with an apparent ease.
Princess Fiona, played by Rachel Norris, was quite splendid as well. She is a wonderful actress and played her part smoothly and effortlessly. She, too, put on such a magnificent performance down to each and every facial expression. The roles of Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Pinocchio and Lord Farquaad were so well done it was like second nature to them. Like they’d been studying these lines for years and have taken on each role for so long that the performance that day was so smooth and natural.
Throughout the show, my daughter pointed out (very quietly) some of the things she liked. For instance, the Big Bad Wolf (Conner McCabe) had on heels and painted nails! She giggle at this but still loved it. Oh, and then there was her favorite part when he removed his robe during “Freak Flag” and revealed a sparkly red dress to compliment his heels!
One part of the show that seemed to have a pulled a lot of laughs and giggles from the audience was the “I Think I Got You Beat” song sang by Princess Fiona and Shrek. During the song, they have a sort of farting and belching battle.
Some of the performers had multiple roles and some alternated who played which role on which day and time. So, you might get something different with a cast change-up. Special note for the Princess Fiona transformation part of the performance near the end: strobe light was used. Technical difficulties do happen, too. During the first song, “Big Bright Beautiful World,” the mic to Papa Ogre (played by Matthew Wells), was not on. Even close to the front, we could barely hear what he was saying. I could only imagine he sung his part well for all his other roles (King Harold/Papa Bear/Thelonius) were wonderful and clear. As was so with Teen Fiona, played by Leanah Chestnut. Even though her mic was off, we could still hear her a little at the front … not sure of the back. Even with little things, which can happen in any production, the cast did wonderful and kept their lines smooth.
This show is definitely a must see. The kids will love it!
The Center for the Arts
110 W. College Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
904-2787 | boroarts.org
Shrek the Musical
Remaining shows: Jan 17 – 19, 24 – 26
Admission: adult $15, senior (60 and up) $13, student (with ID) $13, military (active w/ID) $13, child (12 and under) $11