Open Door Community Theatre opened "Shrek The Musical," its first show on Friday, June 21. The Woodbury-based nonprofit produces theatrical shows through the work of volunteers. Money raised is donated to other community nonprofits. For example, ticket sales for "Shrek" will be donated to the Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf.
"Shrek The Musical" is a monstrosity to stage; it has a big cast, big song numbers and big performances. The show is also as straight-forward as the name suggests: "Shrek," the Dreamworks movie that has way too many sequels, is put onstage with 23 new songs. The songs result in a show that is a little over two hours, plus an intermission.
Though the musical can feel a little slow at times for those who have seen the movie, the cast of Open Door Community Theatre's production does a great job of keeping the audience engaged and entertained with fart and burp jokes, greatly appreciated by the youngest audience members, all the way to weakly-veiled jokes meant to make the adults in the audience laugh.
The main characters Shrek, Princess Fiona and Shrek's "noble steed" and side-kick donkey; named "Donkey," all have wonderful voices that can easily transition between light-hearted and silly songs to those with more depth. Brooklyn Schwiesow (Fiona) plays the princess with flair and sass and Gabriel Gomez (Donkey) threatens to steal the show with his Donkey that is part Eddie Murphy (the film's voice of Donkey) and part Lin-Manuel Miranda.
While the show heavily focuses on a handful of main characters, there is a large cast made up of fairy tale creatures. A variety of chorus members stood-out amongst the crowded stage: Gingy (Abigail H. Peterson), a gingerbread woman, Pinocchio (Anders Nelson) and the Big Bad Wolf/Pied Piper/Bishop (Lewis Youngren) all made their presence known throughout the musical.
While talented voices are not lacking, the award for best-voice might go to Kayla Kauffman, who plays the dragon that guards Fiona in her castle and, spoilers for those who haven't seen the 18-year-old movie, falls in love with Donkey. Kauffman blows the audience away and received cheers as loud as those given for Shrek, Fiona and Donkey during opening night.
Though this is the first show put on by Open Door, the cast moved together like they had been performing together for years. Kicklines were on-point (no pun intended), scene transitions were smooth, and no one stumbled over lines or feet.
As the audience filed out of the theater once the final curtain fell, there were compliments for the show mixed-together with the awed voices of children saying, "that was my auntie," or "my mom was on stage!"
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story had the wrong name for Kayla Kauffman in the role of the dragon. The Bulletin regrets the mistake.