By Dianne R. Davis
Photo credit: Dianne or Burt Davis
Want to visit a strange land inhabited by creatures who look familiar, but not quite? Ever wonder what an ogre does? Looking for a way to introduce the kids to live theater and make them love it?
Shrek The Musical is playing until August 23 ( Wed – Sat) at the Super Summer Theater inside Spring Mountain State Park. The venue at the foot of the mountains and under the stars is unique. The Super Summer Theater provides audiences with both a show and an experience.
The outdoor venue is set in the foothills of the Spring Mountains just 10 miles and 10 degrees from the Las Vegas Strip. Drive out and get away from the glitz of The Strip yet still enjoy the talent that Las Vegas offers. You can pack a picnic dinner and sit on a blanket or chair in the general admission grass seating prior to the show. As the sun goes down behind the mountains, the show begins.
Shrek The Musical with music by Jeanie Tsori and books and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire is based on the 2001 Dreamwork’s film Shrek. It opened on Broadway in December 2008 and ran until January 2010 when it went on tour.
The Spring Mountain version of the show is produced by Feral Tale Theatricals. Like the movie, the musical is a tongue in cheek parody about fairy tales. It contains, among other characters, Pinochio, Three blind Mice, a huge dragon, and an Ogre named Shrek.
The cantankerous, solitary ogre Shrek becomes angry when he finds his peaceful swamp invaded by misfit fairy-tale folk. The noisy contingent had been banished from the Kingdom of Duloc by the bratty obnoxious Lord Farquaad, who dislikes misfits. Farquaad is one of the biggest misfits, having very short legs. (Just wait til you find out who he inherited them from.)
Shrek agrees to confront Farquaad to get the fairy-tale folk out of his swamp. He wants to be left alone. During the process, he makes friends with a talking donkey, rescues and ultimately marries a princess, and outwits a dragon. Spoiler alert for the next sentence. Poor Lord Farquaad is eaten by the dragon, but except for him everyone else lives happily ever after.
The delightful show is expertly directed by Erik Ball. The scenic designs by award-winning set designer Andy Walmsley enhanced the mystical fairy-tale theme with clever towering book trees representing a forest. The dance numbers choreographed by Christine Harper and Christian Escobar employed a variety of dance styles from ballet to tap. It all adds up to a whimsical theater experience for all ages.
The four leads in the musical carry on the whimsy that this show deserves. Ayler Evan as Shrek has to be both comedic and gruff while wearing a prosthetic. Amanda Kaiser expertly brings Princess Fiora to life and makes the interplay between her and Shrek delightfully believable. John Mazzocato has to not only sing well, but also perform while walking on his knees due to Lord Farquaad’s short size. Corey Davis’s donkey provides ample doses of comic relief in an already lively humorous show.
The supporting players as animals, fairy tale characters, and even wind up dolls are a fun and funny. The players are available after the show to mix and mingle with the audience.
Seeing a show at the Supper Summer Theater at Spring Mountain Ranch is a great unique theater experience. Shrek runs until August 23. If you miss Shrek, consider seeing Arsenic and Old Lace stating September 4.