Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Pixie Dust Players' 'Shrek The Musical' at Summit Playhouse

Princess Fiona and Shrek

" 'Tis the season"....the Summer season, that is, for children's theater workshops across the state to stage their annual musicals. One of the most remarkable producers is The Pixie Dust Players based in Summit. The director and choreographer who has extensive professional credits is Lindsay Maron. Lindsay founded the Pixie Dust Players in 2007 and has since produced 19 different shows that perform from venues such as the current Summit Playhouse to nursing homes, hospitals, and special education schools. Oh, I must mention that Lindsay is only 18, newly graduated from Millburn, High School (Anne Hathaway's school). Starting this Fall she packs her bags to attend one of the finest drama programs in the nation...Northwestern University.

Lindsay's team of over 60 young performers and production staff members are currently presenting a delightful adaptation of the highly successful film (animated) and Broadway musical "Shrek The Musical." The play just became available this Summer to local groups. Already at least two other theatre groups in Northern New Jersey are planning productions. Yes, this is an all-family attraction featuring youngsters from as little as six to late teens supported nicely by more senior talent, a/k/a adults. As you would expect, the youngsters are talented, adorable and charged with great enthusiasm. It is obvious that they are loving the experience to participate in live theatre. Hopefully, this experience will instill in them a love for the magic of live theatre whether on stage or as an all important supporter of our local professional and community groups.

This production of "Shrek The Musical" has sets, costumes, music and choreography equal to a number of musicals we have reviewed in the past. Naturally, it is not the equal of the Paper Mill Playhouse, few are, but it is still an impressive, highly satisfying theatre outing. Grandparents and parents of small children in particular will find "Shrek" to be a perfect way to introduce their youngsters to a world of live actors, colorful costumes, clever, attractive scenery, bright music and a giant dragon (Devlin Stark).

The lead actors, all excellent, are Zachary Love as Shrek, he has a fine voice and he perfectly presents a non-frighting green hulk of an ogre; Princess Fiona, the adult version, is Alex Golden who displays a powerful, yet lovely, voice, plus significant charm even with ogre gear; the number one scene stealer is the Donkey who considers himself (or is it itself?) Shrek's "Tonto." Beautifully playing the Donkey, heavily disguised in an excellent furry costume, is an obviously first-rate actress, Isabelle Smelkinson; rounding out the leads is Lord Farquaad who dreams of marrying the princess in order to become King. Sean Puzzo is very impressive in this fun, buffoon role. He is clearly equipped with the best pipes in Summit and the best costume although it is a bit on the "short" side (tongue firmly in my cheek).

Deserving of a mention in the large cast are: Jillian Mauro who covered several roles with skill...a Queen, Knight and one of the Three Blind Mice; Darby Ryden as Teen Fiona, Grace Petersen as Young Fiona; Julianna Pica as the puppet who wants to be a boy, Pinocchio; plus the Duloc performers and the Rats (names are below). These two groups impressed with their dancing.

Assisting director Lindsay Maron, is the music director Brandon Ilaw; Roy Pancirov set construction; May Chan and Sandra Nissen costumes; Sean Puzzo properties; Wendy Roome lighting; plus the group listed below.
Shrek Cast

SHREK Zachary Love; PRINCESS FIONA Alex Golden; DONKEY Isabelle Smelkinson; LORD FARQUAAD Sean Puzzo;
DRAGON Devlin Stark; CAPTAIN OF THE GUARDS Ellie Anderson; GUARDS Beatrice Halper, Grace Petersen, Darby Ryden, and Truc-Lan Vu; THELONIUS Nicholas Skiba; GREETER Anna Claire Anderson; DULOC PERFORMERS: Anna Claire Anderson, Caroline Cariddi, Jessica Feit, Lily Lindstrom ,Molly Lindstrom, Sydney Schenker, Charlotte Wesson, and Lila Zinner:
FAIRYTALE CREATURES: GINGY Devlin Stark, PINOCCHIO Julianna Pica, BIG BAD WOLF Wasif Sami, THREE LITTLE PIGS Julia Turner, Halle Just, Anna Claire Anderson; WHITE RABBIT Charlotte Wesson; FAIRY GODMOTHER Kathryn McManus; PETER PAN Jack Nissen; WICKED WITCH Julianna de Diego; SUGAR PLUM FAIRY Lila Zinner; UGLY DUCKLING Jessica Feit; THREE BEARS Jillian Mauro, Nicholas Skiba and Elizabeth Bigham; 

MAD HATTER Donald Grennon; HUMPTY DUMPTY Ambika Chetal; SHOEMAKER’S ELF Eila Francis; TWEEDLE DEE Stephanie Ticas, TWEEDLE DUM Sydney Chan; LITTLE RED RIDINGHOOD Kate Petrella; JACK AND THE BEANSTALK Noah Bloom; WENDY Devlin Stark; MAMA OGRE Truc-Lan Vu; PAPA OGRE Nicholas Skiba; YOUNG SHREK Will Nissen; QUEEN LILLIAN Jillian Mauro; KING HAROLD Natalie Pereira; 

HAPPY PEOPLE/ANGRY MOB: Caroline Cariddi, Beatrice Halper, Lily Lindstrom, Molly Lindstrom, Darby Ryden and Sydney Schenker; YOUNG FIONA Grace Petersen; TEEN FIONA Darby Ryden; KNIGHTS: Jillian Mauro, Natalie Pereira, Julianna Pica and Truc-Lan Vu; PIED PIPER Jack Nissen;

RATS: Ellie Anderson, Lily Lindstrom, Molly Lindstrom, Jillian Mauro, Kathryn McManus, Julianna Pica,Sydney Schenker, Devlin Stark, Charlotte Wesson and Lila Zinner; THREE BLIND MICE ; Ambika Chetal, Jillian Mauro, Julianna Pica; BISHOP Natalie Pereira, DWARF Will Nissen;

Additional Production Staff: Assistant Directors Shannon Campbell, Garrett Gallinot, Juliana Genova, Eleanor Konrad, Max Sauberman; Producer Abbe Maron; Set Construction Roy Pancirov, Assisted by Don Grennon, Matt Puzzo, Sean Puzzo, Nicholas Skiba; Painting Hugh Mahon; Sound Brandon Ilaw; Photography Sandra Nissen; Poster & Graphics Sean Puzzo; Program Wendy Roome; Tickets Nancy Boucher & Mikel Uchitel; Ushers Sharon Uchitel, Ellen Korey & Mikel Uchitel; Publicity Breene Wesson​.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio  July 28, 2013


REMAINING SHOW DATES:
Thursday, August 1 7:00pm
Friday, August 2 7:00pm
Saturday, August 3 7:00pm
Sunday, August 4 3:00pm


Location: Summit Playhouse, 10 New England Avenue, Summit, New Jersey


Sean Puzzo



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