Shrek the Musical: Wikis

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Shrek the Musical
Shrek the Musical logo.jpg
Music Jeanine Tesori
Lyrics David Lindsay-Abaire
Book David Lindsay-Abaire
Basis Shrek! by William Steig 2001 film adaptation
Productions 2008 Seattle tryout
2008 Broadway

Shrek the Musical is a musical with music by Jeanine Tesori and a book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. It is based on the 2001 DreamWorks film Shrek, which was based on the 1990 book Shrek! by William Steig.

After a tryout in Seattle, Washington, the musical opened on Broadway December 14, 2008. The show was nominated for eight Tony Awards and won Best Costume Design of a Musical for Tim Hatley. It was also nominated for twelve Drama Desk Awards, winning three. The show closed on January 3, 2010 after 441 performances and 37 previews.[1]

Contents

Production history

Lindsay-Abaire and Jason Moore (director of the Tony-award winning Avenue Q) began working on Shrek by 2002, and Tesori joined the team in 2004.[2] A reading of the musical took place on August 10, 2007 with Stephen Kramer Glickman in the title role, Robert L. Daye Jr. as Donkey, Celia Keenan-Bolger as Princess Fiona, and Christopher Sieber as Lord Farquaad.[3]

The musical debuted at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre on August 14, 2008 in previews, opening September 10, and ran through September 21, 2008. Moore was director and Josh Prince was the choreographer. The cast featured Brian d'Arcy James as Shrek, Daniel Breaker as Donkey, John Tartaglia as Pinocchio, Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona, Christopher Sieber as Lord Farquaad and Kecia Lewis-Evans as the Dragon.[4] The tryout played to generally favorable reviews, being cited as one of the few movie-to-stage adaptations "with heart".[5].

It began previews on Broadway at The Broadway Theatre on November 8, 2008, with the same director, choreographer and most of the cast. There was a new Donkey, Daniel Breaker; and the Dragon was edited to now be voiced by a chorus (and, from January 2009, a trio) instead of a soloist.[6] Changes between Seattle and Broadway versions of the show included the deletion of four songs: "The Line-Up," sung by the fairy tale characters, "I Could Get Used to This", sung by Donkey, "More to the Story," sung by Princess Fiona, and "I Smell a Happy Ending," sung by the company. "Story of My Life," "Don't Let Me Go", "When Words Fail," and "This is Our Story (Finale)" were added to take their place. "Freak Flag" and "Donkey Pot Pie" were shortened, and "Let Her In" underwent some minor changes to become "Make a Move". "Who I'd Be" changed from being a solo for Shrek, to a trio, with Fiona and Donkey joining him near the end. During Seattle previews, a brief reprise of "Who I'd Be" was sung after Shrek overhears Fiona's misleading comment about being with a hideous beast, which led into "Build a Wall". The "Who I'd Be" reprise was cut and "Build a Wall" was placed after "Morning Person (Reprise)" when the show moved to Broadway. Another minor change was a short-lived western-themed part in "The Ballad of Farquaad" during the Broadway previews.[5] The musical officially opened on Broadway on December 14, 2008.[7] The song "I'm a Believer" was added to the score, sung by the entire company at the end of the performance, on October 2, 2009.[8]

The Broadway production closed on January 3, 2010 after 441 performances and 37 previews.

A U.S. national tour is scheduled to launch on July 13, 2010 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, Chicago.[9]

Dreamworks is planning on releasing a DVD of the Broadway production sometime in 2010.[10]

Synopsis

Act I

Once upon a time, a young ogre named Shrek lives with his parents in a swamp. On his seventh birthday, Shrek's parents send the young ogre out of their house and into the world to make his living. They warn him that because of his looks, everyone will hate him, and he won't have a happy ending. Later, a now embittered, hardened Shrek is living contentedly alone in a swamp ("Big Bright Beautiful World"). His solitude is disrupted when all the fairy-tale beings of the land begin showing up on his property, exiled from the Kingdom of Duloc by order of the diminutive Lord Farquaad ("Story of My Life"). Shrek decides to travel to see Farquaad to try to regain his privacy ("The Goodbye Song") and along the way reluctantly rescues a talkative Donkey from some of the Lord's goons. Donkey insists on tagging along ("Don't Let Me Go").

Meanwhile, Lord Farquaad is torturing the Gingerbread Man into revealing the whereabouts of the remaining fairy tale creatures in hiding when his guards arrive with the one magical item for which he has been searching for years—the Magic Mirror. Upon asking if Duloc is the most perfect kingdom of them all, the Mirror informs him that Duloc is not a kingdom because Farquaad is technically not a king, but can become one if he marries a princess. Farquaad chooses the "perfect" Princess Fiona from three "eligible bachelorettes" but rushes out before the Mirror can explain "the little thing that happens after sunset". The Mirror shows us outcast seven-year-old Princess Fiona dreaming of the brave knight who, her storybooks tell her, will one day rescue her from her tower, and end her mysterious curse with "True Love's First Kiss". As she grows into a teenager, and then a headstrong woman, she becomes a little bit stir crazy, but never loses her faith in her fairy tales ("I Know It's Today").

Shrek and Donkey arrive in Duloc and make their way to Farquaad's palace, disrupting a kingdom-wide lottery to choose the "brave knight" who will finally rescue Princess Fiona from her castle (which is surrounded by lava and protected by a fire-breathing dragon) so that Farquaad may marry her and thus become a legitimate King ("What's Up, Duloc?"). Shrek impresses Farquaad with his size, appearance, and "expendability," and the ogre agrees to undertake the rescue in exchange for the deed to his swamp ("What's Up, Duloc? (Reprise)").

Shrek and Donkey set off to find Fiona ("Travel Song"). After crossing the rickety old bridge and arriving at the castle, Shrek sets off alone to rescue Fiona while Donkey encounters the guardian She-Dragon, who sees him as a tasty snack ("Donkey Pot Pie"). Donkey charms the fire-breathing creature by complimenting her teeth, and escapes death momentarily. When Shrek finds Fiona, his lack of interest in playing out her desired, romantic rescue scene annoys her, and Shrek must drag her off by force. The two of them reunite with Donkey and all three attempt to escape while being chased by the angry Dragon and her skeletons ("This Is How a Dream Comes True"). Once they are safe, Fiona insists that Shrek reveal his identity. She is appalled that her rescuer is an ogre, and not the Prince Charming her stories promised. Shrek explains that he is merely her champion; instead, she is to wed Lord Farquaad. As the trio begins their journey back to Farquaad's palace, the Princess is frightened by the setting sun and insists that they rest for the night and that she spend the night, alone, in a nearby cave. Donkey and Shrek remain awake and Donkey, delighted at being referred to by Fiona as a "noble steed," asks Shrek who he would be, if he didn't have to be an ogre anymore. As Shrek opens up to his new friend, Fiona, transformed into an ogress, stands apart and alone in the moonlight and listens ("Who I'd Be").

Act II

The next day, Princess Fiona rises early and sings with a bluebird and dances with a deer (before making the bird explode and throwing the deer off a cliff) and assists a Pied Piper in his rat-charming duties ("Morning Person"). Shrek brings down her mood by attempting to give subtle hints about her groom-to-be ("Men of Farquaad's stature are in short supply", "He's very good at small talk", etc.) and mocking her tragic childhood circumstances. The two begin a contest of one-up-man-ship, each trying to out-do the other by revealing their respective pasts ("I Think I Got You Beat"). Both admit to being thrown out by their parents; this connection, as well as bonding over a love of disgusting bodily noises, kindles friendship.

Meanwhile, back in Duloc, Lord Farquaad plans his wedding, and reveals his own sordid heritage after the Mirror asks him if his father should be on the guest list ("The Ballad of Farquaad"). As Shrek and Fiona's new-found camaraderie grows into love, Donkey insists, with the help of the Three Blind Mice, that Shrek should gather his courage and romantically engage Fiona ("Make a Move"). Shrek, finally beginning to come out of his caustic, protective shell, tries to find the words to explain his feelings to Fiona ("When Words Fail").

While Shrek is out finding a flower for Fiona, Donkey discovers that Fiona turns into an ogress at night, and she confesses that she was cursed as a child, which is why she was locked away in the tower. Only a kiss from her true love will return her to her proper form. Shrek arrives near the end of the conversation and misunderstands Fiona's description of herself as an ugly beast to be referencing him. Hurt by her presumed opinion, Shrek storms off. The next day, transformed back to her human form, Fiona decides to tell Shrek about her curse ("Morning Person (Reprise)"). When Fiona tries to explain, Shrek rebuffs her. During the night, Shrek went to fetch Lord Farquaad, who arrives now to claim Princess Fiona (he changes the name of the "pretty pony" he rides in each performance-some names have included Spielberg, Condoleezza, Plastic Horse, Sprinkles, Beyoncé, Queen Latifah, Miley Cyrus, and Fiberglass). While not very impressed with Farquaad, Fiona agrees to marry him and insists that they have the wedding before sunset. As they ride back to Duloc, Donkey tries to explain the misunderstanding to Shrek, (who's too angry to listen), and Shrek rejects him as well, declaring that he will return to his swamp alone and build a wall against the outside world, be what the world says he should be—a monster—and never allow himself to feel any kind of love again ("Build a Wall").

The fairy-tale creatures, now headed for a land-fill which is to be their new home, decide Farquaad's treatment of them is intolerable. Just because they are freaks, doesn't mean they deserve to be hated. Pinocchio, Gingy, the Three Little Pigs, and all the others gather new confidence in themselves and strength as they declare they'll raise their "Freak Flag" high against their tormentors ("Freak Flag").

Shrek returns to his again-private swamp, but he misses Fiona. Donkey follows him back, and convinces Shrek of his friendship by forgiving the ogre for his harsh words. Shrek apologizes, and Donkey convinces him that Fiona really cares for the ogre. Both of them hurry back to Duloc. Shrek interrupts the wedding before Farquaad can kiss Fiona, and Fiona convinces him to let Shrek speak with her. Shrek finally finds the words that he's been searching for, and declares his love for Fiona ("Big Bright Beautiful World (Reprise)"). However, his declaration of love is mocked by Lord Farquaad. Fiona, caught between love and her desire to break the curse tries to run away, but just then the exiled fairy-tale beings crash the wedding and protest their banishment. They are accompanied by a grumpy little dwarf, who is, in fact, Farquaad's father. Farquaad claimed earlier that Grumpy abandoned him in the woods as a child, but the dwarf reveals the true reason he kicked Farquaad out - he was 28 and living in Grumpy's basement. During the commotion, the sun sets, causing Fiona to turn into an ogress in front of everyone. Farquaad, furious and disgusted over the change, orders that Shrek be killed and Fiona banished back to her tower. As Farquaad proclaims himself the new king, Shrek whistles for the Dragon (she escaped the castle and followed Donkey back to the swamp), who crashes through the window with Donkey and devours Lord Farquaad. Shrek and Fiona admit their love for each other and share a kiss; Fiona's curse is broken and she takes her true form: an ogress. She is ashamed of her looks, but Shrek declares that she is still beautiful. The two live happily ever after and everyone celebrates ("This is Our Story/Finale").

Originally "I'm a Believer" was played by the orchestra as patrons exited the theatre, but as of October 2, 2009 the song is sung by the entire company after the curtain call.

References to the Shrek movies

  • Puss in Boots makes a silent cameo appearance during the "Travel Song". A bunny screams after Shrek calls him delicious. The cow jumps over the moon saying "Moo." The dish runs away with a spoon who say "Keep running." Shrek and Donkey see a giraffe and gazelles which almost looks like the gazelle wheel in The Lion King.
  • King Harold and Queen Lillian (Fiona's parents) originally sang a part during "Big Bright Beautiful World" explaining to Young Fiona that all ogres are monsters unloved by everyone. Now they walk past Young Shrek taking Young Fiona with them. She waves at Shrek, but they lead her away (the guards preceding them give the impression that they are taking Fiona to her tower).
  • Most of the spoken lines are taken right from the first movie, including the "muffin man" scene between Farquaad and Gingy, and Fiona explaining the curse to Donkey.
  • "Welcome to Duloc" is the only original song from the movie sung in the musical. It is sung by the Duloc Dancers, who resemble the puppets that sing it in the film. A version with different lyrics was used in a TV spot for the musical. Originally the orchestra played "I'm a Believer" after the curtain call, but as of October 2, 2009 it is sung by the entire company at the end of the performance.
  • Julie Andrews, who played Queen Lillian in Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, and the upcoming movie, Shrek Forever After, provides the spiel before each performance that reminds the audience to turn off their cell phones, the use of recording devices is forbidden, etc. and "if you refuse, a terrifying ogre will leap from the stage, lift you from your seat, and drag you far, far away."

Musical numbers

Act I
  • Overture/Big Bright Beautiful World – Orchestra/Mama Ogre, Papa Ogre, Shrek
  • Story of My Life – Guard, Fairytale Creatures
  • The Goodbye Song – Shrek, Fairytale Creatures
  • Don't Let Me Go – Donkey
  • I Know It's Today – Young Fiona, Teen Fiona, Fiona
  • What's Up, Duloc? – Lord Farquaad, Ensemble
  • Travel Song – Donkey, Shrek
  • Donkey Pot Pie – Donkey, Dragon
  • This Is How a Dream Comes True – Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Dragon
  • Who I'd Be – Shrek, Fiona, Donkey
Act II
  • Morning Person – Fiona, Ensemble
  • I Think I Got You Beat – Fiona, Shrek
  • The Ballad of Farquaad – Lord Farquaad, Ensemble
  • Make a Move – Donkey, Three Blind Mice
  • When Words Fail – Shrek
  • Morning Person (Reprise) – Fiona
  • Build a Wall – Shrek
  • Freak Flag – Fairytale Creatures
  • Big Bright Beautiful World (Reprise) – Shrek
  • This is Our Story – Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, Fairytale Creatures
  • I'm a Believer – Entire company

Recordings

The original Broadway cast recording was recorded on January 12, 2009 and was released on March 24, 2009 by Decca Broadway Records.[11] The soundtrack debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top Cast Albums chart and #88 on the Billboard 200.[12][13] "The Goodbye Song" as well as many other lyrics and dance sequences were cut from the recording, for unknown reasons. "I'm a Believer" is also not featured on the recording as it was only added to the score on October 2, 2009. Instead it was released as part of a Highlighted Cast Recording, released on November 17, 2009, and is also available to download via iTunes, in the same way the song "More to the Story" is, as it was cut from the final Broadway production. On December 4, 2009, when the Grammy Award nominees were announced, the cast recording was nominated for best musical soundtrack.[14]

Original Broadway Cast

  • Brian d'Arcy James - Shrek
  • Sutton Foster - Princess Fiona
  • Christopher Sieber - Lord Farquaad
  • Daniel Breaker - Donkey
  • John Tartaglia - Pinocchio, Magic Mirror
  • Haven Burton - Gingy, Sugar Plum Fairy
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Cast Replacement History

  • Robb Sapp replaced John Tartaglia as Pinocchio on August 18, 2009.
  • Ben Crawford replaced Brian d'Arcy James as Shrek on November 10, 2009.
  • John Tartaglia returned to the role of Pinocchio on December 15, 2009.

Reception

The musical received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Ben Brantley wrote in The New York Times: "'Shrek,' for the record, is not bad.... As the title character, a misanthropic green ogre who learns to love, the talented Mr. James is... encumbered with padding and prosthetics.... As the evil, psychologically maimed Lord Farquaad, the very droll Christopher Sieber is required to walk on his knees, with tiny fake legs dangling before him — an initially funny sight gag that soon drags". He praises Sutton Foster as "an inspired, take-charge musical comedian.... Ms. Foster manages both to make fun of and exult in classical musical-comedy moves while creating a real, full character at the same time."[15]

Variety noted that the production had a reported budget of $24 million. Any "theme-park cutesiness is offset by the mischievous humor in David Lindsay-Abaire's book and lyrics. The production's real achievement, however, is that the busy visuals and gargantuan set-pieces never overwhelm the personalities of the actors or their characters. The ensemble is talented and the four leads, in particular, couldn't be better."[16]

The Associated Press said that "the folks at DreamWorks have done their darndest to make sure we are entertained at "Shrek the Musical," the company's lavish stage adaptation of its hit animated movie. For much of the time, they succeed, thanks to the talent and ingratiating appeal of the show's four principal performers. The show's massive sets and colorful costumes (both courtesy of Tim Hatley) are so visually eye-catching that they often distract from what's going on with the story and score. Composer Jeanine Tesori has written attractive, eclectic, pop-flavored melodies that range from a jaunty Travel Song to a gutsy duet called I Got You Beat for Shrek and Fiona that revels in rude noises." The review also noted that Lindsay-Abaire's lyrics are often fun and quite witty.[17]

USA Today gave the show three and ½ out of four stars, writing: "Shrek, which draws from William Steig's book about a lovable ogre and the DreamWorks animated movie that it inspired, is nonetheless a triumph of comic imagination with a heart as big and warm as Santa's. It is the most ingeniously wacky, transcendently tasteless Broadway musical since The Producers, and more family-friendly than that gag-fest." The review also noted, however, that "Like other musical adaptations of hit films, Shrek... leans heavily on winking satire. There are the usual nods to more fully realized shows, from Gypsy to A Chorus Line, and Jeanine Tesori's blandly ingratiating score doesn't feature any songs you're likely to be humming 20 years from now."[18]

Awards and nominations

Tony Awards[19]

Wins

Nominations

Drama Desk Awards[20]

Wins

  • Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Brian d'Arcy James)
  • Outstanding Set Design (Tim Hatley)
  • Outstanding Costume Design (Tim Hatley)

Nominations

  • Outstanding Musical
  • Outstanding Actor in a Musical (Daniel Breaker)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Musical (Sutton Foster)
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Christopher Seiber)
  • Outstanding Director of a Musical (Jason Moore)
  • Outstanding Music (Jeanine Tesori)
  • Outstanding Lyrics (David Lindsay-Abaire)
  • Outstanding Book of a Musical (David Lindsay-Abaire)
  • Outstanding Orchestrations (Danny Troob)
Outer Critics Circle Awards[21]

Wins

  • Best Actor in a Musical (Brian d'Arcy James)
  • Best Actress in a Musical (Sutton Foster)
  • Outstanding Set Design (Tim Hatley)
  • Outstanding Costume Design (Tim Hatley)

Nominations

  • Best Musical
  • Best Score
  • Best Director of a Musical (Jason Moore)
  • Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Christopher Seiber)
  • Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Daniel Breaker)
  • Outstanding Choreographer (Josh Prince)
Drama League Award[22]

Nominations

  • Distinguished Production of a Musical
  • Distinguished Performance (Sutton Foster)
  • Distinguished Performance (Christopher Seiber)
Grammy Awards[23]

Nominations

  • Best Musical Show Album

References

  1. ^ Jones, Kenneth "Green Turns to Gray: Broadway's Shrek Will Close in January 2010", playbill.com. October 21, 2009
  2. ^ Gurewitsch, Matthew. "Orchestrating an Ogre's Monster Makeover", The New York Times, December 11, 2008
  3. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Keenan-Bolger and Sieber Are Part of Aug. 10 Shrek Reading", playbill.com, August 10, 2007
  4. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Seattle Goes Green: Shrek the Musical Makes World Premiere Aug. 14", playbill.com, August 14, 2008
  5. ^ a b Jacobson, Lynn. "Shrek the Musical", Variety, September 11, 2008
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Breaker Replaces Gregory and Other Changes Announced for NY Bound Shrek", playbill.com, September 30, 2008
  7. ^ Gans, Andrew. "The Great Green Way: Shrek the Musical Opens on Broadway Dec. 14", playbill.com, December 14, 2008
  8. ^ Shrek the Musical Adds "I'm a Believer" to Broadway Score
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Shrek Tour Will Launch in July 2010 in Chicago," playbill.com, September 4, 2009
  10. ^ Shrek the Musical' headed for DVD release
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Shrek CD Arrives in Stores March 24", playbill.com, March 24, 2009
  12. ^ SHREK THE MUSICAL CD Debuts at #1 on Billboard's 'Top Cast Album' Chart
  13. ^ The Billboard 200 Shrek: The Musical
  14. ^ BroadwayWorld.com OBCR Newsbroadwayworld.com
  15. ^ Brantley, Ben. "The Belching Green Ogre Has a Song in His Heart", The New York Times, December 15, 2008
  16. ^ Rooney, David. "Shrek the Musical", Variety, December 14, 2008
  17. ^ Kuchwara, Michael. "A mean green ogre named Shrek moves to Broadway" Associated Press, December 14, 2008
  18. ^ Gardner, Elysa. "On Broadway, 'Shrek the Musical' is a gas, gas, gas", Usatoday.com, December 14, 2008
  19. ^ Gans, Andrew and Jones, Kenneth."Nominations for 2009 Tony Awards Announced; Billy Elliot Earns 15 Nominations",playbill.com, May 5, 2009
  20. ^ Gans, Andrew.Ruined and Billy Elliot Win Top Honors at Drama Desk Awardsplaybill.com, May 17, 2009
  21. ^ Gans, Andrew."Billy Elliot, Carnage, Ruined and Avenger Are Outer Critics Circle Award Winners",playbill.com, May 11, 2009
  22. ^ Gans, Andrew."Billy, Carnage, Hair, Blithe and Rush Win Drama League Awards",playbill.com, May 15, 2009]
  23. ^ Ain't Misbehavin', Hair, 9 to 5, Shrek, West Side Story, Liza Nominated for GRAMMY Awards

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