SHREK THE MUSICAL; directed by Chase Ramsey; SCERA Center for the Arts; 745 S. State, Orem; 7:30 p.m. now through Oct. 5; tickets at www.scera.org; running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes, one intermission
OREM — It's hard to pick a star from the cast of "Shrek the Musical" at the SCERA Center for the Arts.
Pinocchio, played by Marshall Madsen, is hilarious and keeps the high-pitched whine throughout as his nose grows and he tries to convince the world he can be a real boy.
Donkey, played by Wes Tolman, is an amusing blend of the Eddie Murphy movie character and the costumed, fuzzy-headed man who brings him to life on the live stage. (He's somehow less annoying in real life.)
Lord Farquaad is incredibly fun to watch in this production as Carson Davies works the part on his knees, keeping a pair of stuffed small legs hanging from his shirt (well, except for the one scene where he lost hold of them). He's proud, vain and ruthless, which all make for a villain you really like to dislike.
Shrek, played by B.J. Oldroyd, does a decent job. He sings really well and when he's into his part, he's sweet, tough, vulnerable and roars loudly.
Fiona, though, played by Madeline Weinberger, probably gets the award for making the most of her part.
She leads with her chin as she dances, swaggers and moves with ease to the music of the moment. She's fascinating to watch as she goes from utter boredom in her castle to free in the meadow — yes, she bursts the bird and dines royally on shish kabob rat. Her emotions show on her face and she is so completely comfortable in the role. She's a delight.
Here is a show to share with children and family.
The music is unobtrusive. The dialogue is fun.
There's plenty of color and comedy and story with all the fairytale characters, the Gingerbread Man and the giant purple dragon coming together to defeat Lord Farquaad and his evil plan.
(Lauren Anderson gives voice to the dragon and does it very well.)
Everybody's into it and the pacing is crisp. Director Chase Ramsey and music director David Smith have done a remarkable job.
Those who wonder how a charming screen story can translate to the live theater need not fear.
This is a successful transition.
If you go:
What: "Shrek the Musical"
Where: SCERA Center for the Arts Indoor Theatre, 745 S. State, Orem
When: 7:30 p.m., Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, now through Oct. 5
Tickets: $12 adults, $10 children, seniors, 801-225-ARTS
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.