3D Theatricals Shrek The Musical At Cerritos Performing Arts Center Cody Rodriguez Review

‘Shrek The Musical’ is Not Short on Talent

The 2018-2019 season for 3-D Theatricals is coming to a close in a big way. The theatre group produced Shrek The Musical back in 2013 and now is bringing the popular show back. T.J. Dawson returns in the title role of Shrek. David F.M. Vaughn, the original Lord Farquaad in the National Tour of Shrek The Musical, also returns to direct and choreograph the show which runs on select nights through August 25, 2019.

Shrek The Musical is the perfect show to take kids and family, even those who may never have seen a musical. The kids will most definitely love watching their favorite animated film come to life, while the adults will come away from the show possibly enjoying it more than their kids.

Now if you don’t have kids don’t be scared away from Shrek The Musical. A few years back, the National Tour of the show was in Dallas for the State Fair of Texas. I was skeptical about going to see it, I didn’t care for the movie so had little hope for the musical. I ended up getting tickets since I would be at the fair and my impressions were quickly changed a few musical numbers into the show.

3D Theatricals Shrek The Musical At Cerritos Performing Arts Center Cody Rodriguez Review T.J. Dawson as Shrek and the Cast of Shrek the Musical. Photo By: Caught in the Moment

This is one of those shows that surprises people on a regular basis, converting audiences that are skeptical into actually becoming a fan. Now I will say, no matter who performs the show it can start off a bit slow for some. Those who have never seen the show may start second guessing their ticket purchase. Just hold on for the ride though because once Lord Farquaad makes his appearance the shows takes off in a pretty amazing way.

In 3D Theatricals performance of Shrek The Musical, the real magic starts happening the moment Daniel Dawson makes his appearance on stage as Lord Farquaad. It’s a crowd pleasing moment not only because people are in awe at his comedically short stature, but for 3D Theatrical regulars Lawson is one part of the D in 3D.

His first song ‘What’s Up Duloc’ is a spectacle for the eyes as Lord Farquaad and his merry dancers form a dance line to perform the big number. Not only are we introduced to Lord Farquaad but also to the town of Duloc and the demands he puts on its residents.  …He just kicked out dozens of fairytale characters because of the way they looked. Lawson in this role certainly isn’t short on talent as he belts out the number while dancing the choreography from Vaughn, all while on his knees.

Daniel Dawson as Lord Farquaad. Photo By: Caught in the Moment

By this point we have already been introduced to Shrek (T.J. Dawson) and Donkey (Cornelius Jones Jr.). Dawson has numerous memorable moments throughout the performance and it’s a role that fits perfectly with his talents. In the two years I’ve been seeing shows at 3D Theatricals, I’ve only ever seen Dawson on stage making announcements, but to see him take the stage in a role that he commands so deftly is a gift for the audience. He reels you in during ‘Big Bright Beautiful World’ getting you excited for what’s ahead. Ends act one with arguably one of the best renditions of ‘Who I Am’ that I have ever heard. Then concludes the show with a Finale that literally had the audience on its feet.

Cornelius Jones Jr. has stage presence and a vocal talent exactly matching what you picture Eddie Murphy’s Donkey to be in a musical version. He delivered the needed extra comedic bump with numerous one liners and plays well opposite Dawson. The characters in this show demand actors that are giving 110% at all times and Cornelius does that.

3D Theatricals Shrek The Musical At Cerritos Performing Arts Center Cody Rodriguez Review T.J. Dawson as Shrek and Cornelius Jones Jr. as Donkey. Photo By: Caught in the Moment

Shrek and Donkey’s task at hand is to rescue Fiona so that Lord Farquaad can marry her, but as with all fairytales, it’s just not that simple. The two must travel to the tower in which she resides, scale the doorless tower all while fending off a large dragon (Amber J. Snead) and make it back to Duloc in one piece. This is where some magic happens on the stage as the large dragon confronts donkey. The amazing puppet, as well as the puppetry skills of the actors bringing her to life, is a spectacular sight. You’ll be feeling some real Jennifer Hudson ‘Dream Girl’ vibes during Snead’s number ‘Forever.’

One of the fun tidbits about 3D Theatricals version of Shrek the Musical is that T.J. Dawson gets to play opposite his wife Jeanette Dawson in the role of Princess Fiona. First introduced to us during ‘I Know It’s Today,’ her character Fiona is full of dreams.

3D Theatricals Shrek The Musical At Cerritos Performing Arts Center Cody Rodriguez Review Jeanette Dawson as Princess Fiona. Photo By: Caught in the Moment

One of Dawson’s big stand-out spots of the musical was at the beginning of act 2 during ‘Morning Person.’ Singing about the joys of what makes her happy she endlessly crushes everything in her path whether a bird or a deer. Ultimately ending the number with a chorus line of rats who tap their way around the stage with choreography reminiscent of ‘A Chorus Line.’ Dawson’s warmth and charisma really shine through, delivering real heart to a character who wants her dreams to come true all while dealing with a big internal struggle that’s quickly revealed to the audience.

3D Theatricals Shrek The Musical At Cerritos Performing Arts Center Cody Rodriguez Review T.J. Dawson as Shrek, Cornelius Jones Jr. as Donkey, and Jeanette Dawson as Princess Fiona. Photo By: Caught in the Moment

As the three make their return to Duloc and each settle into their new lives, new revelations are had by the two leads. Ultimately, as in all fairytales, the cliches ring true, Shrek must return to Duloc and rescue Fiona from the grips of Lord Farquaad. Will he make it on time? Well of course he does this is a fairytale after all. As he abruptly stops the wedding another contingent has arrived, the group of fairytale characters Farquaad had earlier in the musical kicked out of Duloc.

This group of actors portraying Pinnochio, Peter Pan, the Wicked Witch, a Sugar Plum Fairy, among many have a few fun moments in the show. Arguably though for them and their characters their stand-out number is ‘Freak Flag.’ This song is the all encompassing number that ties everything that we have seen thus far together. Ultimately taking a stand that no matter their differences that it’s what’s in your heart that matters, not the outward appearances that so many use to judge.

3D Theatricals Shrek The Musical At Cerritos Performing Arts Center Cody Rodriguez Review Adam Mantell as Pinocchio. Photo By: Caught in the Moment

Shrek the Musical at 3D Theatrical is worth seeing, it delivers some of the top talent in the roles making it an equal to the Broadway version of the show. Even the behind the scenes crew has given us quality work as Tom Buderwitz’s set takes us into the depths of the swamp and back to the glittering glitz of Duloc. Tim Hatley’s costumes make you feel like these animated characters actually are real and   Jean-Yves Tessier as always has a lighting design that excels.

The actors in Shrek the Musical give their all in this show and you really can tell as you are transported into this fairytale world of fun that WILL have you laughing and by the end standing and smiling.

The Cast

SHREK The Musical stars T.J. Dawson as Shrek, Jeanette Dawson as Princess Fiona, Cornelius Jones Jr. as Donkey, Daniel Dawson as Lord Farquaad, with Sloane Adams as Young Fiona, Keith A. Bearden (Captain of the Guard), McKenna Bisaha (Baby Bear), Jude Dawson as Young Shrek/Dwarf, Natalli Dorn (Lady Gnome), Madeline Ellingson (Ugly Duckling), Kyle Frattini (Mad Hatter), Kenny Gary (Pig), Chris Hunter (Papa Bear/Thelonius), Rachael Johnson (Shoemaker’s Elf), Mia L. Jones (Wicked Witch), Colden Lamb (Pig), Timothy H. Lee (Wizard), Noelle Lidyoff (Teen Fiona), Adam Mantell (Pinocchio), Robert Ramirez (Peter Pan), Dayna Sauble (Sugar Plum Fairy/Gingy), Allison Sheppard (Fairy Godmother), Alyssa M. Simmons (Tweedle), Amber J. Snead (Dragon/Mama Bear), and Rodrigo Varandas (Big Bad Wolf).

Production Team: The production will feature the original Tony Award-winning Broadway costume design by Tim Hatley, with set design by Tom Buderwitz, lighting design by Jean-Yves Tessier, sound design by Julie Ferrin and projection design by Jonathan Infante. Musical director and conductor is Julie Lamoureux. Associate Director and Choreographer is Leslie Stevens. Assistant Director is Jack Boyle. Production Stage Manager is Nicole Wessel. Production Manager is Terry Hanrahan. Assistant Stage Manager/Company Manager is David Jordan Nestor.

Shrek The Musical: Music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire.

3-D Theatricals Shrek The Musical

Tickets vary in price depending on the venue. Online Ticketing: www.3dtheatricals.org

  • SCHEDULE: Show times at Cerritos Performing Arts Center
    • Friday, August 9 at 8:00 pm
    • Saturday, August 10 at 8:00 pm (Opening)
    • Sunday, August 11 at 2:00 pm
    • Friday, August 16 at 8:00 pm
    • Saturday, August 17 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm
    • Sunday, August 18 at 2:00 pm
    • Thursday, August 22 at 7:30 pm
    • Friday, August 23 at 8:00 pm
    • Saturday, August 24 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm
    • Sunday, August 25 at 2:00 pm
  • LOCATION: 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos, CA 90703
  • PARKING: Complimentary parking located directly in front of the theatre

Theater Box Office: 562-916-8500.

Hours: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Tuesday – Friday; 12:00 – 4:00 pm Saturday.

Box Office at the theatre opens two hours prior to weekday and Saturday performances; and one hour prior to Sunday performances.

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