Friendly Monster at the Performing Arts Center
Instead of urging my girls into their baths and beds, last Tuesday I ushered them into the car. The occasion? We were on our way to see “Shreck: The Musical” at the Segerstrom Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa.
I was a hesitant about the performance for two reasons: the mid-week school repercussions and our not so successful visit to the Performing Art Center last year to see “Beauty and the Beast,” which left us totally underwhelmed.
At 7 p.m., I had that, “Do I really want to leave town?” feeling as we headed out the canyon to the 405. Rush hour traffic had passed, and I had wisely prepared dinner at home to reduce the “out” time on a weeknight. We made it to our seats just as the bells chimed for the 7:30 curtain and we settled in to be entertained.
And we were! I’m not a theater critic so I won’t try to decipher what makes a good night at the theater. But the actors held our attention as did the catchy musical numbers. The evil dragon guarding Princess Fiona was a spectacular puppet, the likes of which I couldn’t have imagined when I was watching Mr. Rogers and his puppets back in the ‘70s. Villain Lord Farquaad was especially amusing. In the Shrek movies he is very short of stature. To accommodate this on stage, the directors have a regular sized actor on his knees with a large cape to camouflage and little fake legs attached to his lower torso, creating a Farquaad who is not quite four feet tall.
There is no deep message in Shrek other than be true to yourself. The girls and I, being true Lagunatics, especially enjoyed “Let Your Freak Flag Fly,” a song urging the much-maligned storybook characters of the musical to celebrate their differences and eccentricities.
This is not a night at the theater devoted to stimulating academic discussions on human existence. Shrek provides a much-needed dose of pure entertainment that is enjoyable for children and adults. The few adult jokes went right over the girls’ heads and all three Meekmas stood and cheered at the happy ending, accompanied, as it is in the movie, by the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer.”
Leaving the theater on that happy note, the girls raced playfully through the hedge “maze” outside the Performing Arts Center. Five minutes later, as I turned back onto the 405 they were already peacefully asleep.
Shrek: The Musical runs through this Sunday at the Segerstrom Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. 714-556-2787. www.SCFTA.org.
A reminder to well-intentioned parents and grandparents: please consider the maturity of your child or grandchild and whether they can sit quietly through a 90 minute performance. Don’t waste your money or ruin the experience of other theater-goers by bringing a 4- or 5-year-old who talks incessantly through the play or needs to be taken out to the lobby.
NB: Earlier this week, Goldstar has had Shrek tickets available. For those of you who don’t know, www.Goldstar.com is a service that offers discounted tickets to major and not-so-major performances and events in Orange County (and many other cities.) This is a great source for Angels and Ducks as well as theater, whale-watching, ballet, etc tickets.
Rebecca Meekma is that friend who always knows something fun to do and the Calendar Editor for Parenting OC. Follow her blog at www.ParentingOC.com.