Grand Rapids’ Civic Theatre will be painting the town green with its latest on-stage spectacle that brings new life to the old adage, “Ogres are like onions.”
Sound familiar? Fans of the 2001 hit comedy Shrek will surely remember this quip from its swamp-dwelling lead. As Shrek goes on to explain, ogres and onions share an important (and often overlooked) quality: layers. It’s easy to hear this and think, Gee, that’s a pretty big stretch for a kid’s story. And that’s because Shrek isn’t just a kid’s story. It’s a world story, crafted for real-world people of all places and qualities.
See for yourself in Civic Theatre’s June production of Shrek the Musical! Director Bruce Tinker has been struck by the parallels in this show and our current culture, “It’s about being marginalized just for being who you are…because you are different you are labeled as others” he said. “It examines conformity and the structures that we conform to at times because there are expectations of what it means to be ‘you’. When this happens we have the choice to flee and hide or even build a wall around yourself and go into sanctuary. This show encourages the importance of being ‘you’ and finding happiness in that.”
A quick refresher: the narrative of Shrek is a whirlwind mashup of classic fairy tales, following Shrek and his “noble steed” Donkey on a race to save their swamp, encountering bloodthirsty dragons, tantrum-prone tyrants, and thrill-seeking princesses along the way. But you’ll see more than just the Shrek you know and love. You’ll see a community of fairy-tale characters, expanded and enlivened to bring new experiences with each viewing, no lesser in complexity than their acting counterparts (albeit plenty more fantastical).
Viewers – both young and old – will leave Civic Theatre’s production in rousing refrains of anthems like “Freak Flag”, “Story of My Life”, and, of course, the classic Monkees’ tune “I’m a Believer”. Beyond that, however, they’ll leave with a powerful confidence and a message of self-acceptance that only a live, singing, dancing dragon can deliver. The land of Far, Far Away is closer than we think!
Shrek the Musical! will be running June 10-17. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit http://www.grct.org/events/shrek-the-musical/.