“What’s an ‘ogre’ mommy?” the kid asks. The mommy answers, “A dreaded person, a hideous giant.” And the Daddy says, “She’s not talking about me, pal. That’s the stuff of fairy tales.”

Right. Once upon a time, ogre parents send Shrek, their little monster, out into the world to fend for himself, reminding him that he’s not the most good-looking thing on the block. As a grown up, way grown up, the looming big guy is doing OK living alone in his swamp. However, his solitude is disrupted when a whole bunch of fairytale creatures show up on his property. They’ve been banished by the somewhat abbreviated and nasty Lord Farquaad because their unusual looks and personalities don’t fit in with everybody else. E.g. a wooden boy with a grotesque nose, a very unattractive baby duck, some shrunken former buddies of Snow White, and a large wolf with an unfair negative reputation. So, to get back his soggy solitude, Shrek sets off on a quest. An impossible dream. 

Cartoonist, sculptor, and illustrator and writer of children’s books William Steig dreamed up this story of the lovable but not-so-jolly green giant. Shrek became a legend for the ages, inspiring delightful movies. And a musical. That show takes the stage at The Rose Theater.

To continue our story, out on the trail, Shrek goes along singing and dancing, joined by a cousin of Rocinante named Donkey, and stumbles into rescuing the hot Princess Fiona; she’s surrounded by flaming lava and a dragon with smokin’ breath. Then things heat up between Dragon and Donkey. S & F might get help finding their way with three vision-impaired mice. Maybe not. Meanwhile all those beloved misplaced immigrants keep on hoping to be accepted for what and who they are.

Look, Mom and Dad! A message. Oh, there’s another: It could be a curse to be human.

The musical, with songs by Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-Abaire’s lyrics and book ran for over a year on Broadway from late 2008 to early 2010 and got ten Tony nominations, including those for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. Later it played in London, and there have been productions elsewhere, for example, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Israel, Panama. Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, the Philippines. Whew! Talk about kingdoms. Republics. Democracies. Whatever.                                                                        

Tesori is the theatre’s most prolific and honored woman composer these days: five Broadway musicals, and five Tony Award nominations, plus a winner last year for Fun Home. Other examples: Caroline or Change (seen at the Playhouse earlier this year) and Thoroughly Modern Millie. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeanine_Tesori

Lindsay-Abaire won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Rabbit Hole. He also wrote, among others, Kimberley Akimbo and Fuddy Meers, as well as six screenplays including Robots, Poltergeist and Rise of the Guardians.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lindsay-Abaire

Don’t forget: the pellet with the poison’s in the flagon with the dragon. Get it? Got it. Good.

Shrek The Musical plays Sept. 30-Oct. 16. Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam St. Fri: 7 p.m. Sat 2 & 5 p.m. Sun 2 p.m. & 5 p.m. (Oct 9 & 16), $20. http://www.rosetheater.org

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