Tony Nominee Daniel Breaker Is Shrek's New "Donkey"

News   Tony Nominee Daniel Breaker Is Shrek's New "Donkey" The cast of Shrek the Musical will welcome Tony Award nominee Daniel Breaker, who is assuming the role of Donkey, into New York rehearsals starting Oct. 6 toward the Broadway premiere Nov. 8.

Daniel Breaker
Daniel Breaker

The producers of the musical by David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori announced Sept. 30 that the Passing Strange actor would take the part that was originated in the Seattle tryout by Chester Gregory (Cry-Baby). Breaker was nominated for a 2007-08 Tony as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Passing Strange.

Additionally, the role of the Dragon will be re-defined in the show. "As first conceived, the voice of the dragon was performed by a principal vocalist, supported by a chorus of eight performers." Following the Seattle run, "the creative team is pursuing voicing the Dragon solely by the chorus." Kecia Lewis-Evans, the principal who played the Dragon soloist in Seattle, "has decided by mutual consent not to continue with the production on Broadway as part of the chorus."

Opening at the Broadway Theatre is still set for Dec. 14.

The changes were made based on what the creative team and producers learned during the out-of-town run.

Set in the fantasy land of "far, far away," Shrek the Musical stars Tony Award nominee Brian d'Arcy James as Shrek, Tony Award winner Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona, Tony Award nominee Christopher Sieber as Lord Farquaad and Tony Award nominee John Tartaglia as Pinocchio. Joining them are Haven Burton, Jennifer Cody, Ben Crawford, Bobby Daye, Ryan Duncan, Sarah Jane Everman, Aymee Garcia, Leah Greenhaus, Justin Greer, Lisa Ho, Chris Hoch, Danette Holden, Jacob Ming-Trent, Carolyn Ockert-Haythe, Marissa O'Donnell, Denny Paschall, Greg Reuter, Adam Riegler, Noah Rivera, Heather Jane Rolff, Jennifer Simard, Rachel Stern, Dennis Stowe, David F.M. Vaughn.

Shrek the Musical "is an entirely new musical" based on the story and characters from William Steig's 1990 book "Shrek!," as well as the DreamWorks Animation film "Shrek," the first chapter of the "Shrek" movie series.

Shrek features a book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize winner, David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole), music by Olivier Award-winner Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Caroline, or Change), and is directed by Tony Award nominee Jason Moore, who staged the Tony Award–winning Best Musical, Avenue Q and Jerry Springer - The Opera in Concert at Carnegie Hall.

Shrek the Musical is DreamWorks Animation's first venture in legit theatre. The production was initiated when Sam Mendes, a big fan of the first "Shrek" film, suggested the idea of creating a musical to DreamWorks Animation's Jeffrey Katzenberg around the time the second film was in production. The musical is being produced by DreamWorks Theatricals (Bill Damaschke, president) and Neal Street Productions, Ltd (principals Sam Mendes and Caro Newling).

The creative team includes Tony Award-winning set and costume designer Tim Hatley (Monty Python's Spamalot, Private Lives), three-time Olivier Award-winning lighting designer Hugh Vanstone, sound designer Peter Hylenski, choreographer Josh Prince and Rent's Tim Weil (music director).

The first "Shrek" feature film hit theatres in the summer of 2001, and went on to win the first-ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Shrek the Musical played a pre-Broadway engagement at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre Aug. 14-Sept. 21.

Breaker's credits include Cymbeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Well (Longacre), Fabulation (Playwrights Horizons), Pericles (Red Bull, Culture Project), London's How to Act Around Cops, Life is a Dream (South Coast Rep), The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare Theatre Company; Helen Hayes nomination), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (SCR), The Tempest (STC; Helen Hayes nomination), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (STC), The Rivals (STC), The Silent Woman (STC), H.M.S. Pinafore (Berkshire Theater Festival), Blacksheep (Barrington Stage) and more.

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