Young Palisadians Dazzle in ‘Shrek The Musical’

Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about Shrek, the beloved ogre whose life sparked two sequels and a holiday special, Theatre Palisades Youth brings the classic story to life with a few new twists.

Featuring 23 young cast members, Shrek the Musical goes beyond the movie’s cinematic boundaries and is one of the best youth productions in TPY’s recent history.

Lauren Bernstein as Dragon, Mia Ruhman as Donkey, Rachel Grossman as Fiona Ogre, Paul Kedeshian as Bishop, Ethan Egilsson as Shrek, Becca Whitaker as Little Piggy, Kerry Cooper as Pinocchio, Isabella Trask as Little Piggy,  Julia Peterson as Wicked Witch of the West, and Zoe Egilsson as Little Piggy in wedding scene. Photo: Cynthia Peterson
Lauren Bernstein as Dragon, Mia Ruhman as Donkey, Rachel Grossman as Fiona Ogre, Paul Kedeshian as Bishop, Ethan Egilsson as Shrek, Becca Whitaker as Little Piggy, Kerry Cooper as Pinocchio, Isabella Trask as Little Piggy, Julia Peterson as Wicked Witch of the West, and Zoe Egilsson as Little Piggy in wedding scene.
Photo: Cynthia Peterson

Upon discovering that his swamp has been infested with all kinds of fairytale creatures by Lord Farquaad’s decree, Shrek sets out on a quest, with a chatty donkey by his side, to convince Farquaad to give his swamp back.  Instead, Farquaad sends Shrek to rescue Princess Fiona and bring her to Farquaad so that he can marry her and become King.  However, it soon becomes clear that Princess Fiona has feelings for Shrek, and has also been living with a deep secret.

The show starts on a strong note, thanks to Rachel Grossman’s vocals as Momma Ogre, and maintains that energy throughout.

Ethan Egilsson as Shrek and Trinity Drummond as Princess Fiona. Photo: Cynthia Peterson
Ethan Egilsson as Shrek and Trinity Drummond as Princess Fiona.
Photo: Cynthia Peterson

Ethan Egilsson’s witty timing and sarcastic delivery as Shrek had the audience laughing out loud, especially when paired with Donkey’s (Mia Ruhman) sassy retorts.  The charismatic duo’s obvious chemistry shines through in musical numbers like “Don’t Let Me Go,” in which Donkey must persuade Shrek to keep him around.

Trinity Drummond’s portrayal of earnest Princess Fiona is true to the classic character, and her vocals are quite professional.  Underscoring all of this talent is Riley Stoler, who plays Lord Farquaad just as originally intended – supercilious and snotty.  Her performance makes the show.

The costumes and makeup in the TPY production add yet another dimension to the performance.  Little details shine through, from Pinocchio’s growing nose to the ogres’ cinematic makeup design.

Riley Stoler as Lord Farquaad with his knights and guards - Lauren Bernstein, Ava Baak, Rebecca Aragon, Lilian Santiago, Elle Baker and Paul Kedeshian. Photo: Cynthia Peterson
Riley Stoler as Lord Farquaad with his knights and guards – Lauren Bernstein, Ava Baak, Rebecca Aragon, Lilian Santiago, Elle Baker and Paul Kedeshian.
Photo: Cynthia Peterson

Dorothy Dillingham Blue’s confident direction lifts this production far above a standard children’s show.  Her creative vision allows Shrek’s world to extend into the audience on several occasions. The show is produced by Jody Crabtree; musical direction by DJ Brady.

‘Shrek’ continues at the Pierson Playhouse, (310) 454-1970. Tickets: $14

Thursday, July 31 at  7:30 p.m.

Friday, August 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 2 at 5 p.m.

Sunday, August 3 at 2 p.m.