Arts & Culture

‘Shrek The Musical’ a monster hit at Solvang theater

Shrek (Erik Stein) and Donkey (Nathan Andrew Riley) talk in PCPA-Pacific Conservatory Theatre’s production of “Shrek The Musical.”
Shrek (Erik Stein) and Donkey (Nathan Andrew Riley) talk in PCPA-Pacific Conservatory Theatre’s production of “Shrek The Musical.” Reflections Photography Studio

An unlikely hero discovers the joy of love and friendship in PCPA-Pacific Conservatory Theatre’s fun-filled production of “Shrek The Musical,” playing at the Solvang Festival Theater.

Based on the 2001 Oscar-winning animated film “Shrek,” “Shrek The Musical” celebrates the many lovable characters from the popular movie. The Tony Award-winning show was written by David Lindsay-Abaire with music by Jeanine Tesori.

Shrek (Erik Stein), a huge green ogre, lives alone in a swamp away from the cruel world. He left home at age 7 with a warning from his parents: everyone will always hate him for his repulsive looks.

His solitary life is interrupted when a group of fairy tale creatures arrive at the swamp after being banished from the town of Duloc by devious Lord Farquaad (Michael Jenkinson).

Determined to get his swamp back, Shrek takes off to confront the mischievous Lord. Along the way, he rescues a wisecracking Donkey (Nathan Andrew Riley) who won’t leave his side. Meanwhile, Lord Farquaad is determined to find a princess to marry so he can become king.

When Shrek and Donkey arrive in Duloc, Lord Farquaad promises to give the ogre the deed to his swamp if he rescues feisty Princess Fiona (Karin Hendricks) from a castle guarded by a menacing Dragon (voiced by Annali Fuchs) and surrounded by lava.

After the daring rescue, Fiona is disappointed to learn that Shrek does not look or act like Prince Charming. However, Shrek and Fiona soon realize they have much in common and grow fond of each other.

Lord Farquaad’s marriage proposal — and Fiona’s shocking secret — cause Shrek to fight for his true love.

Directed by Brad Carroll, “Shrek The Musical” is a delightful comical adventure complete with a very talented cast, upbeat musical numbers and a remarkable creative team. The production features musical direction by Callum Morris and choreography by Jenkinson.

Stein portrays the ogre Shrek with a perfect blend of self-loathing, humor and sweetness. Riley sparkles as sidekick Donkey with his quick wit and animated mannerisms. Jenkinson is hilarious as Lord Farquaad, employing a unique costume to appear as a man with a smaller stature. And Hendricks superbly portrays the sassy and complex Fiona.

The entire cast — which includes such memorable characters as Pinocchio (George Walker) and the Sugar Plum Fairy (Brittney Mack) — lights up the stage with amazing singing voices and high energy.

The creative team brilliantly designs a “Big Bright Beautiful World,” to quote one of the show’s signature songs. Scenic designer Jason Bolen creates a storybook land filled with bold colors. Eddy L. Barrows’s costumes are wonderfully unique and whimsical.

The lighting designer is Jennifer ‘Z’ Zornow, and Elisabeth Weidner is the sound designer. Jahana Azodi is the stage manager.

The final song in “Shrek The Musical” is “I’m a Believer,” the popular 1960s hit by The Monkees, sung by all the cast members. This jubilant musical will surely make you believe in the power of love and the meaning of inner beauty.

‘Shrek The Musical’

8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, through July 31 (one performance on July 5)

Solvang Festival Theater, 420 Secnd Street, Solvang

$38.50 to $49.50, discounts for seniors, students and children

805-922-8313 or www.pcpa.org

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