If you enjoy stage plays based on animated films, which are in turn based on children’s books, mid-March augurs well for you: Shrek The Musical comes to—and Shrek himself all but takes up—Three Stages at Folsom Lake College.
Shrek, a melancholy ogre who just wants to be left alone in his swamp, was introduced to children 23 years ago in a book by William Steig. Film legend Steven Spielberg bought the screen rights and, with Mike Myers of Austin Powers fame supplying the hapless hero’s voice, the 2002 movie Shrek won the first Academy Award for best animated feature (directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson). That led to its being adapted for the stage, where it played more than 500 performances, picking up eight Tony Award nominations in 2009. It also led to three movie sequels and a spinoff starring Puss in Boots (hilariously voiced by Antonio Banderas).
If you happened to catch Shrek The Musical in its initial Broadway run, you may find yourselves delighted by some of the changes that have been made for the touring production (to wit: the flying dragon really flies). And while the songs by lyricist David Lindsay-Abaire, who also wrote the script, and composer Jeanine Tesori might not have become, uh, monster hits, they fit seamlessly into the show, which is part sincerely told children’s story and part snarky spoof of same.
Performances of Shrek The Musical take place March 14–17. Ticket information and other details can be found at threestages.net.