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What young audiences have to say about ‘Shrek’

Alec Herbert sat on the steps of the Victoria Theatre lobby Tuesday evening, studying the colorful program for “Shrek the Musical,” and waiting for the theater doors to open.

The Huber Heights 8-year-old arrived early enough to pick out a T-shirt at the Shrek Shop before seeing his first Broadway musical.

Alec was one of dozens of kids who’d come to see what one of their favorite movies would look like when brought to life on stage. If opening night was any indication, they won’t be disappointed.

The family-friendly show, based on the 2001 Oscar-winning Dream Works film, features 19 all-new musical numbers and is in town for a two-week run. Tuesday night’s audience rose to its feet — cheering and singing — when Wright State alum Jeremy Gaston took his curtain call as the wise-cracking but wise Donkey.

The show features 19 all-new musical numbers.

Nine-year-old Danielle Dargan, dressed in purple for the special occasion, said she likes the story “a whole bunch,” labeling it “awesome!” Her favorite character is the mean king Lord Farquaad. “I like him,” she said, “because I’m a drama queen!”

On a 1-10 scale of excitement, 8-year-old Lainey Miller of Greenville proclaimed it a “10.” Sabirah Howard of Centerville said she loved the make-up and the way the Gingerbread Man was brought to life. Celestin Pacia, 7, of Beavercreek said he’d enjoyed his first big musical.

Hannah Addington of Centerville had the chance to interview two of the kids in the show for her mother’s parenting website:

“They are two sisters — Katie and Maggie Tompkins — and one plays the Young Shrek and one plays Young Fiona,” Hannah said. “What I found interesting is that they are home schooled and travel all the time. Their dad comes to meet them on the road sometimes and brings their dog.”

Hannah said the show was “way different” than the movie “because they can do stuff in the play that they couldn’t do in the movie.”

Her mom, Angela, agreed with her daughter that the show was a winner.

“I’m loving this!,” she said at intermission. “I thought the Dragon was amazing, I was mesmerized by the puppeteers. Kids get it and there’s comedy for adults too. I don’t think it’s too old for the younger kids and it’s not too young for the older kids.”

One of those younger kids opening night was 4-year-old Carson Cusick of Kettering, who insisted on sticking around after the show to get autographs.

“It was funny and entertaining,” said his dad, Eric, a Beavercreek teacher. “He stayed interested the whole time and he liked all the fairytale characters. He was up and clapping at the end!”

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