BAR HARBOR — The Acadia Community Theater crew can always be counted on to get audiences smiling with their contagious enthusiasm. But this year’s spring musical took that to new heights.
With a cast of more than 60 souls, an audience dance party and an enormous dragon puppet, “Shrek, the Musical” is a smashing success. Remaining performances are set for the Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor on Friday, April 14, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 15, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Based on the DreamWorks Animation movie, the musical tells the story of the ogre Shrek, who travels with his friend Donkey to rescue a princess so that she can marry a king and break a curse through true love’s first kiss.
Playwright and screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire (the play “Fuddy Meers” and the screenplay for “Rise of the Guardians” are among his credits) wrote the book and lyrics, and Jeanine Tesori wrote the music. The result is a cheeky, goofy frolic through a fairy tale universe.
The musical extends the humor of the movie (including some of Donkey’s classic lines, like “Everybody loves parfaits!”) and adds new songs and characters. The show is a great fit for ACT, since there are more than 50 distinct named roles for performers to make their own. They come together in ensemble numbers, but they also get a chance to shine individually.
That’s central to why director Mark Puglisi chose the play, he said in a director’s statement. “It is appropriate that some of the music in the play is inspired by the ‘60s and early ‘70s, an era of ‘doing your own thing’ and not being ‘square.’ We have come a long way (baby) since that time, but we have farther to go.”
Jeff Servetas as Shrek and Jon Wood as Donkey do an admirable job anchoring the show. Christina Longstreeth plays a not-to-be-messed-with Princess Fiona and also served as choreographer. A highlight of the show is a trio between Ruby DeMuro as a young Fiona, Mary de Koning as a teen Fiona and Longstreeth, moving through time as Fiona grows up alone in her tower awaiting rescue. Brian Booher has the audience chortling as the diminutive Lord Farquaad.
Bar Harbor artist Heather Thayer created a spectacular dragon puppet, operated by a crew of four puppeteers. The puppet sings and dances alongside Julie Creed, who plays the role of the pretty purple dragon, as she first threatens and then falls in love with Donkey.
Tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and children 12 and under, as well as active military. All shows are general admission. Tickets can be purchased at the door or reserved in advance via the “Store” on the ACT website, www.acadiacommunitytheater.net. Email [email protected].