Ashford flew into Seattle — where the multi-million-dollar show is trying out before a scheduled fall Broadway run — on Sept. 2 to assist director Jason Moore. "I called Rob Ashford and asked him to come out and take a look at the show," Moore said. "We've been adding three or four new musical numbers…. We want to get as much accomplished here as we can. Rob got here last night. He'll be with us through Seattle. It will be another pair of hands on deck."
Shrek the Musical — based on the story and characters from William Steig's "Shrek!" and the blockbuster DreamWorks Animation film of the same name — made its world premiere Aug. 14 at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre. It is due to open there on Sept. 10. Moore mentioned that rehearsal will likely continue after the official opening.
"[Ashford] just got here last night," said Moore, "so we'll figure out exactly how we'll distribute the tasks. Really it will be on a number-to-number basis. He's a friend of so many of us in the show, including the actors."
A statement from the show's producers said, "Jason Moore and Josh Prince have invited their friend Rob Ashford to Seattle to provide a fresh set of eyes on the musical staging of the Broadway-bound Shrek the Musical. Luckily, Ashford has an opening in his schedule which allows him to consult with the production in an unbilled capacity. The show continues to be positively received by preview audiences in Seattle as the creators work together to ready the show for New York."
Ashford won his Tony Award for the choreography of Thoroughly Modern Millie. He has subsequently been nominated for The Wedding Singer, Curtains and Cry-Baby. He made his London directing debut last season with a new production of the musical Parade. Following its out-of-town tryout, Shrek is scheduled to arrive at New York's Broadway Theatre Nov. 8 with an official opening scheduled for Dec. 14.
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 Cry-Baby's Chester Gregory II as Donkey, Avenue Q Tony nominee John Tartaglia as Pinocchio, Tony winner Sutton Foster (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Young Frankenstein) as Princess Fiona, Christopher Sieber (Monty Python's Spamalot) as Lord Farquaad and Kecia Lewis-Evans (The Drowsy Chaperone) as the dragon.
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.
DreamWorks Theatricals is co-producing with Sam Mendes' Neal Street Productions Ltd.
Visit www.shrekthemusical.com for more information.