Monday, November 10, 2008

Shrek, a musical for green people of color

Funny thing about the Broadway Theatre (1681 Broadway @ 53rd St), where the new Shrek The Musical began preview performances Nov. 8. For a long time, it was Broadway's multicultural destination. If you got a musical with non-white people in it, mount it at the Broadway Theatre.

Here are examples of shows that went up there in the past 10-20 years: Miss Saigon, in which mostly Filipino Americans and some British actors performed as Vietnamese in a helicopter-heavy show about the Vietnam War; Bombay Dreams, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in the manner of Bollywood films; The Color Purple, in which an Alice Walker novel about slavery in the South was transformed into an Oprah-produced spectacular. Briefly, the Broadway theatre advertised another culturally themed show, Mambo Kings, based on the Oscar Hujelos novel, but which ultimately did not make it.

Now, the Broadway Theatre has moved on to another color of people: green people.
This special interest group presumably remains underserved, despite the existence of the musical Wicked, which won a Tony award for best musical for extolling the goodness in the hearts of green people.
Advertising itself with the banner "Bringing Ugly Back!," Shrek even opened a social network site called Shrekster to seal the deal.

Written by David Lindsay-Abaire and Jeanine Tesori, the musical stars Brian d'Arcy James as Shrek, Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona, Christopher Sieber as Lord Farquaad, Daniel Breaker as Donkey and John Tartaglia as Pinocchio. It is an entirely new musical based on the story and characters from William Steig’s book Shrek!, as well as the DreamWorks Animation film Shrek. Jason Moore, who staged the Tony–winning best musical Avenue Q, is the director.

SHREK THE MUSICAL is DreamWorks Animation’s first venture in legitimate theater. 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).

Tickets for SHREK THE MUSICAL are available by calling at (212) 239-6200, (800) 432-7250 outside the NY metro area, online at, or in person at The Broadway Theatre box office (1681 Broadway @ 53rd St). Group sales are available by contacting Telecharge Group Sales at 212-239-6262, or 800-432-7780.

To see interviews with the cast and creative team of SHREK THE MUSICAL click the link below:
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