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Milburn Stone Theatre Shrek the Musical

By • Aug 28th, 2013 • Category: Reviews
Shrek the Musical
Milburn Stone Theatre: (Info) (Web)
Milburn Stone Theatre, North East, MD
Through September 8th
2:30 with intermission
$18/$15 Students, Seniors/$10 Children 12 and under
Reviewed August 24th, 2013

It would be definitely safe to say that family musicals are not what they used to be. From the roots of Annie, Oliver, Barnum and Cats have sprung and grown a whole new generation of family entertainment for the stage. In the last two decades shows such as Beauty and the Beast, Lion King and Mary Poppins have dominated the Broadway family musical arena. With massive sets, high-tech special effects, humor and some subject matter that is quite different to what “Family Musicals” were back then. Shrek the Musical is the latest installment in this phenomenon.

Based on the Dream Works Animation motion picture and the book by William Steig Shrek tells the story of a colossal, green, sharp-tongued, big-hearted, belching, flatulent ogre named Shrek (Dickie Mahoney) who is suddenly disturbed from his hermit-like life on his swamp by every possible fairy tale character you can think of led by a frantically obsessive Pinocchio (Gannon Webb) who were exiled from their homes in the city of Duloc by the small-minded, conceited, short-tempered Lord Farquaad (Jamie Mikijanic). Determined to get his home back, Shrek reluctantly makes a deal with the half-pint Farquaad to go rescue a princess named Fiona (Shereen Ahmed) in a tower whom Farquaad only wants to marry to become king. So to get the deed to his heavenly swamp, the adventure begins. With the assistance of Shrek’s wise-cracking, witty, mile-a-minute, get on your last nerve, loving, good-hearted sidekick Donkey (Eyvo) the journey is full of twists, turns, surprises, and most definitely a great moral!

The Milburn Stone Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director S. Lee Lewis, choreographer extraordinaire Bambi Johnson, and practically pitch-perfect musical direction from Niki Tart, bring this massive production to life beautifully, transforming the entire theater into the fantasy world of fairy tales, and sparing no expense with sets, costumes, props, and a cast of almost 60 very talented local actors of ALL ages.

The house was sold out with majority of its seats filled with families and children of all ages. And it was clear that the show was enjoyed by all, especially the children. And though some humor, dialogue, and choreography was a bit inappropriate for the younger members of the crowd, the performances and the heart of the story and its message for the most part made up for the crude jokes and over the top use of bodily functions.

To say that Mahoney was born to play the part of Shrek would be a massive understatement. Mahoney’s performance was remarkable. From the second he majestically entered the stage he had you in the palm of his hand. Mahoney skillfully grew emotionally from scene to scene. A role such as this can easily be ruined by going over the top or not knowing were to stop. Mahoney not once crossed that line. Underplaying some of the bigger moments allowing the rest of the actors to shine. And passionately with strength attacking the gentler moment of his journey to really allow us to see the ogre’s gentle and loving heart. And also the fact that his vocals could hold up to a number of actors working on Broadway today didn’t hurt either. Eyvo also delivers a tour de force performance as the iconic sidekick. Perfect comic timing, a beautiful range of emotional struggle and contemplation, pitch perfect vocals, and quite impressive dance moves all occurred in a head to toe donkey costume. Ahmed also nails the impatient, clever, humorous, and struggling with her own secrets princess Fiona. With passion, exuberant confidence, and a beautiful vocal range, Ahmed’s talent, experience and professionalism show every step of the way. Mikijanic tackles the truly difficult and physically demanding role of Farquaad quite well, definitely being the fan favorite of the audience (at least on the night that I attended) vocally achieving every note and nuance. However Farquaad is a role that also can easily be taken over the top unnecessarily. And at times Mikijanic crossed that line becoming a caricature rather than the character that for the most part he had to perfection.

In local musical theatre production a huge ensemble is usually a staple, but it’s not always a good thing. However the entire ensemble of Shrek the Musical is very notable, with singing, dancing, puppetering, and added personal touches along the way. Rebekah Latshaw is full of energy and joy as the sugar-plum fairy, and I practically crumbled laughing with her performance as Gingy. Also a standout was Barbara Walker (Mama Ogre/Bear) and Karalynn Joseph (Teen Fiona) both equipped with a great range of talent they brought something very special to their respective moments on stage. And even under the Blond/Black Wigs and dark sunglasses the energy and striking vocals of Christy Wyatt were never missed.

As I mentioned before “Family Musicals” are definitely not what they used to be. Times have changed. However Milburn Stone’s production of Shrek the Musical is well done, skillfully produced, and beautifully executed by the cast. But keep in mind that our children are not as na├»ve as we might think they are.

Cast Of Characters

  • Shrek: Dickie Mahoney
  • Fiona: Shereen Ahmed
  • Donkey: Eyvo
  • Lord Farquaad: Jamie Mikijanic
  • Pinocchio: Gannon Webb
  • Sugar Plum Fairy/Gingy: Rebekah Latshaw
  • Dragon: Jayne Lewis
  • Mama Ogre/Bear: Barbara Walker
  • Papa Ogre/Bear: Frankie Gillette
  • Baby Shrek/Bear: Ethan Taylor
  • Teen Fiona: Karalynn Joseph
  • Young Fiona: Sammi Flickinger
  • Baby Fiona: Katie Hetzer
  • Baby Donkey: Nikolas Weatherington
  • King Harold: John “Doc” Mulvey
  • Queen Lillian: Cindy Mulvey
  • Thelonius: Matthew Cannon
  • Captain Of The Guard/Bishop: Steve Flickinger
  • Three Pigs: Zack Langrehr, Codey Odachowski, Nick Epps.
  • Dragonettes/Blind Mice: Stephanie Mahoney, Megan Valle, Christy Wyatt
  • Big Bad Wolf: Matt Peterson
  • Ugly Duckling: Mary Spacht
  • Wicked Witch: Nancy Denton
  • Shoemakre’s Elf: Tigga Smaller
  • Garden Gnome: Adam Nelson
  • Fairy Godmother: Carrie Dill
  • The Mad Hatter: Kelly Wolffe
  • White Rabbit: Tyler Fritz
  • Pied Piper: Jamie Verderamo
  • Grumpy: Grant Bailey
  • Maleficent: Shelby Smith
  • Peter Pan: Cody Palmer
  • Captain Hook: Matt Lucatamo
  • Tweedle Dee: Matt Wolffe
  • Tweedle Dum: Michael Maistros
  • Queen Of Hearts: Alicia Downs
  • Little Red Ridding Hood: Kelleigh Pangratz
  • Dance Corps: Heather Bounds, Holly Ann Ciampaglio, Miranda Daviduk, Amanda Deflippis, Taylor Gallihue, Alli Graham, Steven Pritchard, Duncan Smith, Tiara Smith.
  • Ensemble: Erin Bourn, Erick Copper, Delany Flickinger, Gracelynn Fritts, Lannon Frits, Kerre O’neill

Production Staff

  • Director: S. Lee Lewis
  • Musical Director: Niki Tart
  • Choreographer: Bambi Johnson
  • Lighting Design: William A. Price Iii
  • Properties Design: Eyvo Johnson
  • Stage Manager: Bevin Hensley
  • Assistant Director: Maren Lavelle
  • Assistant Stage Managers: Brandie Biddy And Bailey Woodruff
  • Master Electrian: Tyler “Danger” Bristow
  • Costumiere: Gay Lynn Price
  • Charge Artist: Leila Briggs
  • Scenic Artist: Lynne Twining
  • Sound Engineer: Terry Edwards
  • Loght Board Operator: Tyler “Danger” Bristow
  • Follow Spot Operators: Charlie Johnson And Sondra Mckeever
  • Fly Rail Operators: Ryan Sofa, Kayla Whisman
  • Backstage Crew: Brandie Biddy, Bob Denton, Brandon Gorin, Hailey Joseph, Serenity Rowland, Bailey Woodruff.
  • Costume Crew: Betty Angelucci, Charis Bartenslager, Kristen Hessenauer, Bambi Johnson, Alexa O’neil, Cynthia Wham, Missy Wyatt.
  • Wardrobe Crew: Deb Bailey, Missy Wyatt.
  • Scenic/Lighting Crew: Sheeren Ahmed, Shawn Allbright, Brandie Biddy, Tom Collins, Matt Cannon, Carrie Dill, Tyler Fritz, Marty Gorin, Tom Gorin, Bevin Hensley, Alli Graham, Great Holtackers, Matt Lucatamo, Jayne Lewis, Micheal Maistros, John Mulvey, Adam Nelson, Kerrey O’neill, Cody Palmer, Serenity Rowland, Tigga Smaller, Tiara Smith, Jamie Verderamo.

Disclaimer: Milburn Stone Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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worked for twenty years as a professional actor and director, as well as worked a myriad of other theatrical production roles at various levels. In recent years, he served as Artistic Director/President of STROyKA Theatre in Washington, DC. Roman privately teaches acting, voice, and piano and serves as a consultant to various groups and schools. His primary role is stay-at-home dad and full-time college student. He also directs the Voices Unlimited Youth Choir at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Bel Air, MD.

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