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“Shrek the Musical” piles on the promotions, gets ready to launch its national tour in July of 2010

“Shrek the Musical” piles on the promotions, gets ready to launch its national tour in July of 2010

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You gotta give DreamWorks Theatricals & Neal Street Productions their props. These folks will do whatever they have to in order to make sure that “Shrek the Musical” stands out from the crowd. Seem that much more different than all the other shows that are currently running on Broadway.

Take – for example – what these folks did last month (Or – as the promotions staff at “Shrek the Musical” like to call September – SHREKtember). In order to garner some extra publicity for their show, they held a “Not Your Ordinary Princess” contest. During which two young ladies – 9 year-old Hannah Beatt of Sarasota, FL. and 14 year-old Laura Laureano of RonkonKoma, NY – won the right to appear onstage with Sutton Foster and perform “I Know It’s Today” during a Saturday night performance.

Which – I know – is kind of an unusual move. But what ‘til you hear what the show’s producers have just decided to do with “Shrek the Musical” ‘s finale. Starting tonight, the entire company will begin perform that hit Monkees song, “I’m a Believer” (Which – as you may remember – was the number that Donkey performed at Shrek & Fiona’s wedding torwards the very end of this 2001 DreamWorks Animation release) as this show’s new curtain call.

Shrek the Musical on Broadway
Copyright 2009 DreamWorks Theatricals. All Rights Reserved

Wait. It gets better. Over the next few weeks (Or – as the folks in Promotions now like to call this time of year – SHREKtoberfest), the Broadway Theatre will become home to a “Festival of Ogre-sized Fun.” There’ll be free giveaways, special offers on NYC attractions & dining as well as cast member talkback sessions which will be held after Wednesday matinee performances.

And among the “Shrek the Musical” cast members that will be taking part in this talkback program are:

And did I mention that – for 40 select performances over this 5 week period – tickets for “Shrek the Musical” will be sold for 40% off (Provided – of course – that you know to mention code SHK1007)?

Shrektober promotion for Shrek the Musical on Broadway
Copyright 2009 DreamWorks Theatricals. All Rights Reserved

Mind you, on November 8th, Brian d’Arcy James will be exiting the show so that – after a brief breather – he can then begin rehearsals for “Time Stands Still.” Which will begin previewing at the Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on January 5th. With the New York premiere of this new Donald Margulies’ play now  scheduled to take place on January 28th.

“So where does that leave ‘Shrek the Musical’ ?,” you ask. In the very capable hands of Ben Crawford. Who – on November 10th – will go from being Brian’s standby to playing the title role in this Tony Award-winning show full-time.

And Crawford is actually quite good as the big green guy. Don’t believe me? Okay. Then check out this YouTube video of Ben performing “Build A Wall” at the “At This Performance” understudy concert that was held back on April 20, 2009.

Ben Crawford takes over as Shrek in Shrek the Musical on Broadway
Ben Crawford as he gets ready to play the title role
in "Shrek the Musical."
Copyright 2009 DreamWorks
Theatricals. All Rights Reserved

As to what the future holds for “Shrek the Musical” … Well, given that tickets are now on sale for performances through May 30, 2010, I’d say that the folks at DreamWorks Theatrical & Neal Street Productions are fairly certain that their show has settled in for a nice long run at the Broadway Theatre. So now all eyes are on the launch of this musical's national tour. Which is expected to get underway next July at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago.

In fact, if you’re interested in scoring tickets for the first stop on “Shrek the Musical” ‘s national tour … Well, you may want to consider signing up for the Broadway in Chicago. You see – while members of the general public will have to wait ‘til early 2010 before they can snag seats to this show – subscribers to Broadway in Chicago  have actually been able to order their “Shrek the Musical” tickets since the middle of last month.

As for what the folks in Chi-town can expect to see … Given that Jason Moore has agreed to come back & direct the national tour, I’d expect that the road company of "Shrek the Musical" will be just as fun as the Broadway original. Though Variety has revealed that the national tour will get a radically redesigned version of this musical’s massive dragon puppet.

John Tartaglia as Pinocchio in Dreamwork's Shrek the Musical on Broadway
Copyright 2009 Dreamworks Theatricals. All rights Reserved.

And speaking of puppets … John Tartaglia, the very talented guy who usually plays Pinocchio in “Shrek the Musical,” stepped away from the Broadway production back in August so that he'd then be able to do fun stuff like attend last month’s D23 EXPO.

Not to worry, though. Starting on December 15th, this "Avenue Q" star will return to the Broadway Theatre and once again begin playing the little wooden boy. So all you “Johnny and the Sprites” fans out there might want to hold off on buying “Shrek the Musical” tickets until just before Christmas.

Which – I’m sure – is when the folks at DreamWorks Theatricals & Neal Street Productions will be telling us that it’s now time to “SHREK the Halls.”

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