Shrek the Musical to Open at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in May 2011

By Mark Shenton
02 Jul 2010

Shrek the Musical, originally produced on Broadway in 2008 and about to launch a U.S. national tour in Chicago, is heading to the West End, where it will begin performances at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in May 2011 at a date to be announced. The official opening will be June 7, 2011.



It succeeds Oliver!, currently running to Jan. 8, 2011. The musical, based on the story and characters from William Steig's book "Shrek!" and the 2001 Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation feature film of the same name, is brought to the stage by an Anglo-American creative team that is led by co-directors Jason Moore and Rob Ashford and includes David Lindsay-Abaire (book and lyrics), Jeanine Tesori (music), Tim Hatley (scenic, costume and puppet design), Hugh Vanstone (lighting design), Peter Hylenski (sound design) and Josh Prince (choreography). Casting, performance dates, and box-office details will be released soon.

According to press materials, Shrek the Musical tells the story of the swamp-dwelling ogre who, in a faraway kingdom, embarks on a life-changing adventure in order to reclaim the deed to his land. Joined by a wise-cracking donkey who won’t shut up, this unlikely hero - not a handsome prince - fights a fearsome dragon, rescues the feisty Princess Fiona and learns that real friendship and true love aren’t only found in fairy tales. With all-new songs, and an old favorite in "I'm a Believer," this stage musical brings to life the film's cast of dysfunctional characters and the accompanying subversive fun.

The show originally played at Broadway's Broadway Theatre from  December 2008 to January 2010, after a prior try-out in Seattle, and was nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning Tim Hatley the Tony for Best Costume Design of a Musical. The original creative team has now re-assembled to stage the production with new songs and additional scenes. Currently in rehearsal, this production will tour 60 cities in the United States beginning in July 2010. The U.K. production will start rehearsals in London in early 2011.

Shrek the Musical is DreamWorks Animation’s first theatre venture. The production was initiated when Sam Mendes, a fan of the first "Shrek" film, suggested the idea of creating a musical to DreamWorks Animation's Jeffrey Katzenberg around the time that the second film ("Shrek 2") was in production. The musical is produced by DreamWorks Theatricals (Bill Damaschke, president) and London-based Neal Street Productions (Caro Newling, producer).

Lindsay-Abaire won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for his play Rabbit Hole, which also attracted five Tony nominations. He recently wrote the screenplay for a film version which stars Nicole Kidman (currently in post-production).

Tesori won the Olivier Award for Caroline, or Change when it transferred to the National Theatre in London. The production received a Tony nomination for Best Musical; one of three Best Musical nominations for Tesori. She has written numerous songs for films which include "Shrek the Third."

Moore has directed Avenue Q (Off-Broadway, Broadway and London), and Steel Magnolias (Broadway) and Jerry Springer: The Opera (in concert at Carnegie Hall). He has also directed TV episodes of "Dawson's Creek," "One Tree Hill" and "Brothers and Sisters."

Ashford is an associate director of the Donmar Warehouse and recently directed A Streetcar Named Desire there with Rachel Weisz as Blanche DuBois. He has also directed Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry's Parade there. Other West End credits include choreography for Guys and Dolls, Evita and Thoroughly Modern Millie. He is currently represented on Broadway by his production of Promises, Promises.

The final chapter in the feature film series, "Shrek Forever After," is on general release in cinemas now.

Tickets will go on sale for Shrek the Musical to the general public on Oct. 1. Register for priority booking and sign-up for the newsletter at www.shrekthemusical.co.uk