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Tune Thursday: Big Green Ogre heads for Great White Way

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Tune Thursday: Big Green Ogre heads for Great White Way

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He's been the star of three hugely popular animated features. He's got his own theme park attraction. And -- just last month -- he appeared in his first holiday special. Which then went on to be one of the most watched television programs of 2007.

So what worlds are left for Shrek to conquer (Before -- of course -- the next film in this DreamWorks Animation franchise, "Shrek Goes Fourth," makes its bow at the multiplexes in May of 2010)? Would you believe that this Big Green Ogre is now heading for the Great White Way?

 Copyright 2008 DreamWorks Theatrical. All Rights Reserved

Yep, get ready for "Shrek the Musical." Featuring music by Jeanine Tesori (Best known to theater fans for her Tony-nominated work on "Thoroughly Modern Millie" and "Caroline, or Change," though Disneyana fans may recall the songs that Jeanine wrote for "Mulan II," "Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch" as well as the forthcoming "The Little Mermaid -- Ariel's Beginning"), this production was actually initiated by Jeffrey Katzenberg. Who (some of you may recall) was very hands-on when it came to the Walt Disney Company's very first full-fledged Broadway show, "Beauty and the Beast."

And Katzenberg seems determined to make the musical version of William Steig's book and the Oscar-winning film just as popular as "B & B" was. Which is why Jeffrey has assembled a pretty amazing creative team for "Shrek the Musical." Hiring acclaimed playwright David-Lindsay-Abaire to handle the book & lyrics while Jason Moore (of "Avenue Q" fame) will direct the show.

Before arriving on Broadway in the Fall of 2008, "Shrek the Musical" will first try out at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theater with performances tentatively scheduled for August 14th through September 21st. Once all of the kinks are worked out, this new show will begin previews at a yet-to-officially-be-announced NYC theater. Though it's rumored that Katzenberg has his eyes on the Palace, which is where "Beauty & the Beast" had its Broadway debut back in 1994.

As for the show's cast ... Though nothing official has been announced yet, Tony Award-winner Christopher Sieber has reportedly been offered the role of Lord Farquaad and "Johnny and the Sprites" 's star John Tartaglia is supposedly being sought to play the part of Pinocchio.

Speaking of Mr. Tartaglia, this Tony nominee will be in NYC this coming weekend. At the World of Disney store on 5th Avenue, to be precise. Where John and his puppet pal, Root, will be greeting their Playhouse Disney friends at 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. & 2 p.m. on Sunday.

 Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

Truth be told, this in-store appearance is a low key promotion for "Johnny and The Sprites Live – A Spofulous Broadway Concert," a Broadway Cares / Equity Fights Aids fundraiser which will be presented at Town Hall on February 3rd at 5 p.m. Tickets for this family-friendly event (Which will include a meet-n-greet after the concert is complete, where Johnny & his Sprite friends will be on hand to sign autographs & pose for pictures) can be purchased online at www.broadwaycares.org or by calling 212-840-0770 EXT 268.

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  • Ew.  I think I'm pretty progressive when it comes to theatre, but I can't imagine that Shrek is something that I'd ever want to see on stage.

  • Animated features turned into musicals = CG Movies with talking animals

    Too many and the goodwill of the first few outings has evaporated... expect a quick bow

  • This should go over like a NASCAR wine and cheese reception - most theatregoers will share Smilee306's opinion.

  • Did you guys know that Katzenberg offered this Shrek show to the creators of South Park and they turned him down?

  • A wise choice!

  • I'm a big Broadway fan, and see shows often, but this is moronic.

  • Quote: I'm a big Broadway fan, and see shows often, but this is moronic. :End Quote

    Quoted for Truth.

    Thanks for writing this article, Jim. Now my family gets to spen another night making fun of Jeff Katzenburger around the dinner table.

  • more shrek,  they should had stopped with the sequal and even that was the same tired crap as the first

  • I think part of the problem is that there's been far too many Shrek-styled CGI "revamped" fary tales. It's no longer a "fresh take" when it's been done again and again. They've even made a couple in Europe based on things like Roman du Renard (complete with Nintendo 64 graphics) and there's something just released about historical royalty- all with that overdone snarkiness and American pop songs.

  • "Did you guys know that Katzenberg offered this Shrek show to the creators of South Park and they turned him down?"

    I'm not surprised - given how independent they are, I can't see them working with other people's characters and having to deal with restrictions on what kind of plot and jokes they could have.

    That said, I would've loved to see what Trey Parker and Matt Stone came up with if they'd decided to do it.  The South Park movie is one of my favorites, in large part because of the brilliant songs, and they probably could have made a Shrek musical into something genuinely good.

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