“Shrek the Musical” has almost everything you could ask for in a truly entertaining all-ages romp based on the first and best installment of the Dreamworks hit animated movie franchise.
The Broadway Across America show running through Sunday at the Music Hall definitely delivered the satiric and toe-tapping goods in Wednesday’s opening night performance. It featured everyone’s favorite big green ogre with a Scottish brogue not looking for love but still finding it amid a bevy of fractured fairy tale characters, from a civil-rights-minded Pinocchio to a sarcastic Gingerbread Man no less sassy for being stuck on his baking tray.
Eric Peterson as Shrek delivered the right mix of stubbornness and tender-heartedness in the title role, along with an audience-pleasing enthusiasm for repeatedly uninhibited farting and belching. Hey, give the people what they want, right?
Haven Burton as Princess Fiona, the apple (or, on second thought, maybe onion) of Shrek’s eye, was clearly the most musical entertainer on stage – not counting the unseen talent of Carrie Compere, who supplied the dynamic r&b singing voice of the Dragon, an enormous and expertly manipulated puppet that accounted for the evening’s most impressive eye-popper in a production rife with visual imagination.
Stealing-the-show honors were a pick ’em between Shrek’s nattering sidekick Donkey (Alan Mingo, Jr.) and knee-high nemesis Lord Farquaad (David F.M. Vaughn, a member of the show’s original Broadway company). Mingo’s knack for comedy timing and ability to jump into a James Brown routine were more than a kick. And Vaughn’s snide take on an undersized megalomaniac proved as clever as his costuming, which required him to play the part on his knees and got laughs all by itself.
Performances of “Shrek the Musical” continue at 7:30 p.m. today, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $26 to $61 at broadwayacrossamerica.com.
Take the kids. Take the grandparents. Take yourself. Unlike too many other family musicals, there’s something in this show for everyone. In fact, there’s really only thing missing: Twiggy the Water-Skiing Squirrel.
For that astonishing sight to see, you’ll have to visit the 57th annual Kansas City Boat and Sportshow, where the gifted bushy tailed rodent is performing his incongruous H20 balancing act today through Sunday at Bartle Hall – that’s right, just across the street from “Shrek” at the Music Hall. Make it a twofer!
Sportshow hours are 2 to 9 p.m. today, noon to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $9 (ages 15 and younger get in free) at kansascitysportshow.com.
Twiggy skis behind a radio-controlled boat in a heated pool – so no shivers if he takes a spill. And he wears a teeny-weeny life jacket. It’s that rare combination of bizarre animal high jinks and water-safety role-modeling in a single attraction!
To wind up on a more serious note (not that Twiggy doesn’t take his job seriously), there’s the reality based stage drama, “Another American: Asking and Telling,” which details the struggles of gays in the U.S. military prior to the recent repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
The play was created by Marc Wolf, and utilizes monologues culled from his interviews with straight, gay and lesbian military personnel. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday at Spencer Theater in the UMKC Performing Arts Center, 4949 Cherry. Tickets cost $15 to $40 at kcrep.org.
Saturday’s performance is free to active duty service members and veterans with a military ID. To reserve a seat, call the box office at 816-235-2700.
Want more? Why wouldn’t you? I give, you take. Hear me in the radio flesh chat about these and other things to do this weekend when I visit with Steve Kraske on “Up to Date” at 11:48 a.m. (give or take) today on KCUR-FM (89.3).