“Shrek the Musical” marks the halfway point of Beef and Boards’ 2017 season. This whimsical, fun musical tells the tale of an ogre and a princess, both sent away by their parents at a young age to fend for themselves. With the help of several fairy tale creatures and one outspoken donkey, the two navigate a series of misadventures and discover true love within each other.
The show starts out on a high note with Shrek’s mother and father (Kelly Teal Goyette and Kenny Shepard) telling him about all the opportunities the world holds for everyone but him, as an ogre’s place is on his own. Early on, Goyette’s vocals soar above the rest and continue to do so as she plays various roles throughout the show, including Mama Bear, Dragon and Bishop.
Goyette, who is definitely a standout in the show, has several Beef and Boards’ credits in addition to having been in the national touring casts of “Annie,” “Grease,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Shrek.”
We then learn the story of young Fiona (Emery Allen), teenage Fiona, (Reagan Minnette) and finally present day Fiona (Emily Grace Tucker).
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The age progression is outlined in a song regaling the audience of Fiona’s days spent in a tower where she was sent by her parents to wait for a prince to rescue her.
Tucker makes a wonderful Fiona, perfectly capturing the sassiness of the character while remaining true to the nature of a princess. Her vocals are both sweet and powerful, as the show demands, and she keeps the pace of the show moving at full speed.
Tucker has experience playing a princess, as she comes to Beef and Boards after having played Rapunzel in Disney’s newest Broadway style production of “Tangled the Musical.” She is a delight to watch.
Pete Scharbrough as Shrek brings to life a character tough on the outside but full of heart and compassion. His playful nature makes the character lovable, while his skilled vocals leave the audience breathless several times, most notably after “Who I’d Be,” a song featuring Shrek, Fiona and Donkey. Scharbrough is a Beef and Boards regular, and his confidence shows as he effortlessly carries the show.
The show also boasts a quirky ensemble of fairytale creatures that perform the bulk of the show’s choreography and help to move the story along. Notable performances from the ensemble include Sean Seager (Big Bad Wolf), AnnaLee Traeger (Queen Lillian/Gingerbread Man/Sugar Plum Fairy) and Reagan Minnette, Anjali Rooney and Mary Kate Tanselle as the cutest trio of the Three Little Pigs.
The ensemble was small but mighty, filling the theater with sound and expertly performing choreography by Ron Morgan (who also directed the show).
Other standouts include Julius Thomas III as Donkey and John Vessels as the diabolical Lord Farquaad.
This show truly has every element of a big, show-stopping musical and will leave the songs stuck in your head for days. “Shrek the Musical” is a must-see and continues on the Beef and Boards stage through July 2.