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Once upon a time … BPA brings to life a very different kind of fairy tale
The hero has gas.
His sidekick is a sarcastic donkey.
The princess has an attitude and all the fable creatures are on the lam.
This is clearly not your grandmother’s fairy tale, and if you think you know the story, you better think again.
Bainbridge Performing Arts is going green this month with the Tony-award-winning production of “Shrek, The Musical.” It opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11.
Part romance, part twisted fairy tale and all fun, “Shrek” gives viewers a new version of the beloved characters they thought they knew from the hit movies such as Shrek himself, Princess Fiona, Donkey and even the villainous Lord Farquaad in all-new songs.
Produced by special arrangement with Music Theatre International and based on the DreamWorks Animation motion picture and book by William Steig, BPA’s production brings together the artists behind past-season hits including direction by Ken Michels (“The Full Monty,” “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”), musical direction by Josh Anderson (“25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”) and choreography by Joanna Hardie (“Rocky Horror,” “Chicago,” “The Full Monty” and “A Chorus Line”).
The cast radiates a fun and lively energy.
Shrek, everyone’s favorite emerald-skinned reluctant hero, is played by Justin Lynn with the perfect combination of charming awkwardness and casual cool. Emily Kight gives a wonderful performance as Princess Fiona, keeping the leading lady sweet and sassy.
Returning BPA favorite DeSean Halley portrays Donkey, arguably the most popular and often-quoted character from the movie.
“I’m a huge Eddie Murphy fan,” Halley said. “I saw all his comedy specials growing up, and I wanted to bring the character back to more of what he did in the movie.”
Halley went on to say his favorite scene from the movie is also in the musical, and it’s still hilarious.
He’s talking, of course, about the famed “parfait” scene, in which Shrek attempts to explain emotional layers to Donkey through the example of an onion, only to find that Donkey prefers parfaits.
“It’s so true,” Halley laughed. “I do love parfaits. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t.”
Bainbridge is quickly becoming a second home to Seattle-based Halley.
“This will be the fifth or sixth show I’ve done on Bainbridge,” he said. “The more I do here, the more I feel like I’m part of the community. I’ve even been stopped down at Town & Country and people say, ‘You were in ‘Full Monty!’ It’s a great atmosphere.”
Portraying the tiny tyrant Lord Farquaad is James Sgambati, who in order to complete the illusion of his character’s diminished size performs the entire musical on his knees.
“It’s hard but it’s a lot of fun,” Sgambati said. “I’m having lots of fun with it. I’m usually cast as the comic relief and he [Farquaad] is funny, but I also get those moments where I get to be nasty.”
The story is entertaining and uplifting, imparting a positive message about the subjectivity of what is beautiful and the importance of individuality. “Shrek, The Musical” breathes new life into the story that breathed new life into everyone’s favorite fairy tales. It’s the perfect way to get younger kids interested in musical theatre.
The show will run from Oct. 11 through Oct. 27 with shows at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays, as well as additional matinees at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 and 26.
Tickets are on sale now. The cost is $27 for adults, $22 for seniors and $19 for students, youth, military and teachers. Tickets can be purchased online at www.bainbridgeperformingarts.org, by phone at 206-842-8569 or in person at BPA.
BPA is located at 200 Madison Ave. Box office hours are 1 to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, and one hour prior to each performance.
For more information about “Shrek” and other upcoming productions or to purchase tickets to any BPA event visit www.bainbridgeperformingarts.org.