Northampton Press

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Theater Review: PYT 'Shrek' terrific

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 by DOUGLAS GRAVES Special to The Press in Focus

"Ogres like nasty," claims Shrek, the ogre who just wants to be left alone in his miserable swamp.

However, in spite of himself, Shrek finds friends and true love in the terrific Pennsylvania Youth Theatre production of "Shrek the Musical," through Dec. 15, Charles A. Brown Ice House, Sand Island, Bethlehem.

The stage version is based on the Oscar-winning 2001 DreamWorks animated feature film, which was based on William Steig's 1990 picture book.

The original Broadway production opened in December 2008, closing in January 2010.

The stage show's music is by Jeanine Tesori. Book and lyrics are by David Lindsay-Abaire.

The energetic PYT show is directed by John Anker Bow. The "Ogre Swamp" cast was reviewed at the Nov. 30 performance.

Music director is Kim Van Orden. The duet by Shrek and Fiona, "I Think I Got You Beat," is, well, hard to beat.

Bill Bauman's costume designs are wondrous. John Getty's set design is simple yet believably transports the cast from dismal swamp to castle tower to Dragon's lair and back with ease.

The cast is full of talent.

Tom Mazur is perfect as Shrek. He's big, green and, sometimes, scary (when he's not being a charming hero, saving the swamp, defeating the Dragon, rescuing the maiden and being a great friend to the storybook critters). Mazur's singing is superb.

Camille Armstrong's Donkey is simply lovable and completely believable as a loyal friend. Armstrong's talent is on full display as the play's choreographer.

Angela DeAngelo's performance as Fiona is wonderfully comedic and her singing is inspirational.

The Fiona character is shown at different ages with Sarai Misic playing Young Fiona with great skill. Teenage Fiona is played by musical talent Lexi Brown, who also lends her skill as part of the Dragon.

Giuliana Augello's is in the Dragon Head. Her singing is first-rate.

Chris Singer as Pinocchio is magical as a leader.

Alex Vogegesang's Lord Farquaad is mesmerizing, playing the short, power-hungry villain to perfection.

Tessa Flynn, Lydia Wilson and Chloe Mondok are sterling in their portrayals of the Little Pigs, Blind Mice and segments of the Dragon's body.

Charlotte Samuelson's Pied Piper is very cute. She plays multiple parts.

The Little Bunny played by Sophia Ruth is sweet. She also is one of the yellow-haired villagers.

Liana Irvine shines as the Sugar Plum Fairy and as the Ginger Man's voice.