The Great Green Way: Shrek the Musical Opens on Broadway Dec. 14

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14 Dec 2008

Brian d'Arcy James and Daniel Breaker
Brian d'Arcy James and Daniel Breaker
Photo by Joan Marcus

Wicked's Elphaba, Young Frankenstein's Monster and Avenue Q's Nicky welcome a new green-skinned pal to the neighborhood when Shrek the Musical officially opens at the Broadway Theatre Dec. 14.

Following an out-of-town engagement at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre, the fairy tale-inspired Shrek arrived on Broadway Nov. 8.

Based on the story and characters from William Steig's "Shrek!" and the blockbuster DreamWorks Animation film of the same name, Shrek began previews Aug. 14 and officially opened Sept. 10 in the Emerald City. The Seattle engagement played through Sept. 21.

Following the Seattle run it was announced that Passing Strange Tony nominee Daniel Breaker would step into the role of Donkey, the part that was originated in the Seattle tryout by Chester Gregory (Cry-Baby). The role of the Dragon was also 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," according to a September press announcement. 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."

Directed by Jason Moore (Avenue Q and the Carnegie Hall Jerry Springer — The Opera), the production got an assist in recent months from Tony Award winner Rob Ashford (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Cry-Baby). A Dec. 2 preview of the new musical was also canceled to allow the Shrek creative team to "complete some final changes before the opening. There is not enough stage time during the current preview schedule to implement and rehearse the changes planned," according to a press statement.



Brian d'Arcy James, the singing actor who was recently seen in the Off-Broadway musical Next to Normal, plays the title role of the lovable green ogre in the new musical with Avenue Q Tony nominee John Tartaglia as Pinocchio, Tony winner Sutton Foster (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Young Frankenstein) as Princess Fiona and Christopher Sieber (Monty Python's Spamalot) as Lord Farquaad.

The ensemble comprises Cameron Adams, 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, Marty Lawson, Jacob Ming-Trent, Carolyn Ockert-Haythe, Marissa O'Donnell, Denny Paschall, Rachel Resheff, Greg Reuter, Adam Riegler, Noah Rivera, Heather Jane Rolff, Jennifer Simard, Rachel Stern, Dennis Stowe and David F.M. Vaughn.

 

Sutton Foster in Shrek
photo by Joan Marcus

Shrek, according to a press statement, "is an entirely new musical based on the story and characters from William Steig's book 'Shrek!,' as well as the DreamWorks Animation film."

Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole) penned the lyrics and libretto (based on the kid-lit character created by William Steig), and Tony Award nominee Jeanine Tesori (Millie, Caroline, or Change) wrote the music.

Song titles include "Big Bright Beautiful World," "Story of My Life," "The Goodbye Song," "Don't Le Me Go," "I Know It's Today," "What's Up, Duloc?," "Travel Song," "Donkey Pot Pie," "This Is How a Dream Comes True," "Who I'd Be," "Morning Person," "I Think I Got You Beat," "The Ballad of Farquad," "Make a Move," "When Words Fail," "Morning Person" (Reprise), "Build a Wall," "Freak Flag" and "Big Bright Beautiful World" (Reprise).

DreamWorks Theatricals is co-producing with Sam Mendes' Neal Street Productions Ltd.

Josh Prince has choreographed the production, which features musical direction by Tim Weil; set, costume and puppet design by Tim Hatley; lighting design by Hugh Vanstone; hair and wig design by David Brian-Brown; and sound design by Peter Hylenski.

Tickets are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com.

The production will also offer a daily rush lottery system, The Duloc Ticket Lottery, at Shrek's Swamp Shoppe, located on the third floor of M&M's World in Times Square (1600 Broadway). "Starting at 9 AM each morning," a press release states, "patrons are invited to enter a lottery drawing to purchase a limited number of rush tickets priced at $26.50 to that day's performance. Names will be drawn at random for 16 rush tickets at 10 AM. There will be a limit of two tickets per person and winners must be present with valid identification at the time of the drawing to purchase their tickets. On two show days, both drawings will take place at 10 AM, but patron's can only enter one drawing."

Show times are Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM and Sunday at 3 PM.

Visit www.shrekthemusical.com for more information.