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    MOFT: Episode 15 (Shrek The Musical)

    I've been a very bad dagblogger of late, but I'm full of good excuses for my badness. First, there was the whole engagement to plan and pull off (and already a fair amount of wedding madness), and then right after that I had to help plan my brother's 40th birthday party, which included a week-long visit from the folks (a surprise to my brother). The folks stayed at my pad, which was just a real treat and a great time, and now that they're gone, it feels a little bit empty here (why does it often take us so long to appreciate mom and dad??)

    My family actually deserves to be My One Favorite Thing this week, but I thought it'd be a little cheesy to do that right after bestowing the award to my fiancee. So instead I am going to do something much cheesier ... and name 'Shrek The Musical' as this week's MOFT.

    Swear it, this is not a joke. I know I certainly didn't expect to love Shrek the Musical as much as I did. I barely expected to be able to keep my food down while watching it. I must admit, I loooovvved the first movie - thought it was a genius kids film, very funny with lots of adult humor and a useful, serious message. But I generally abhor Broadway musicals - Even the classics like Les Miz and Miss Saigon don't do much for me and I really expected Shrek to be a treacly, overproduced disaster which made a mockery of the source film. But my mom wanted to see it, and I thought it'd be a nice Mother's Day gift for her.

    As it turned out, however, I think I had a big goofy grin on my face from almost start to finish. Far and away the best thing about the show was the amazing set design and prop work. The way they recreated the look and feel of the movie was terrific. It's really tough for me to adequately describe the technical feats of fancy that take place here, but the elaborate high-tech touches, like the electronic Magic Mirror and the enormous dragon, will likely wow the most cynical adult. (And how exactly did they transform Fiona from beautiful princess to hideous beast so seamlessly???)

    The songs aren't very impressive, certainly nothing that will really stay with you much after the curtain falls (with the possible exceptions of a joyous and somewhat subversive 'Freak Flag' and the crude but fun 'I Think I Got You Beat'). The lyrics though are of above-average intelligence, and the voices are quite strong, most notably from the lead actor Brian D'Arcy James, who earns his money considering all the hours of preparation he must go through every day to become Shrek, and Daniel Breaker, the actor who plays Donkey and also was very good in Passing Strange (one of the other few Broadway musicals I enjoyed).

    The acting was also solid, with all of the main characters doing quite passable impersonations of their counterparts on the big screen so that any kid in love with the movie will feel right at home. A much-deserved bit of credit must go to Christopher Sieber, who was hilarious as Lord Farquaad (still perhaps the best character name ever for a children's movie) and had to perform almost the entire play while on his knees (I actually thought it was two people but my family assured me I was an idiot).

    Aside from a notable alteration during the climatic wedding scene and the addition of a father-son side story regarding Lord Farquaad, which frankly didn't seem to help or harm the production much at all, the plotline pretty much hewed to the movie.

    All in all, it was quite an enjoyable night at the theater and I heartily recommend it for anyone who appreciated the film, and especially those folks with kids. I really haven't seen anything else on Broadway this year, so I can't say whether Shrek the Musical has a good chance to win any of the many Tonys it's up for, but I'm sure cast and crew will take enormous pride in winning this week's MOFT.

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    D-man, I'm sorry that nobody commented on your newfound love of green cartoons with Scottish accents. Yay for musicals!

    I agree, why stop at Shrek?

    The Incredibles?

    The Dark Knight?



    Passion of the Christ?

    The Communist Manifesto

    Mein Kampf

    The Heretic's Bible

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