Sunday, July 13, 2008

Broadway Preview: Shrek The Musical

Broadway Preview: Shrek The Musical

I don't mean to be an ogre, but could it be that I'm the only living person who hasn't seen any of the Shrek movies?

I'm not exactly sure why I never took them in, but the longer I've gone, the less interested I've become. Perhaps I've avoided them because I've been told that they're too smarmy for their own good, and I've never been able to shake that notion.

So it's against that backdrop that I find myself less than excited about the upcoming Shrek The Musical, which already begins its out-of-town tryout next month in Seattle at the city's 5th Avenue Theatre -- the very same venue that proudly launched Hairspray six years ago.

The 5th Avenue Theatre describes their tryout:
This summer, the most beloved swamp-dwelling ogre of all time will make his theatrical debut in the World Premiere of Shrek The Musical, at The 5th Avenue Theatre. This all-new production is based on Shrek’s adventures in the classic William Steig book and Oscar-winning film. Joining Shrek on his journey from the swamp to the stage will be his wisecracking sidekick Donkey, Princess Fiona, Lord Farquaad and a chorus of everybody’s favorite fairytale creatures. With more layers than ever and a completely original new score, Shrek The Musical proves there’s more to the story than meets the ears.
Shrek The Musical is due to land at the Main Stem's Broadway Theatre in time for previews starting November 11, with an opening night slated for December 14.

Now, if there is anything to get excited about, it's that Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, Or Change) is writing the music for its score. The fact that Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole) is supplying the lyrics and book should also have me intrigued, but we all know what happend during his previous musical effort. Knowing a thing or two about monsters is Tony nominated director Jason Moore (Avenue Q), who helms the show, yet the choreography comes from Broadway first-timer Josh Prince. You see, everything I see as good is somehow tempered.

OK, another positive is that the criminally underused, Tony-nominated Brian d'Arcy James returns to Broadway in the title role. Tony-winning actress Sutton Foster will portray Princess Fiona; regular readers will recall that it wasn't until my fourth attempt to see her that she was actually performing in a show, but on the plus side, I thought she was incredibly talented when I finally saw her. Other cast members include the Tony-nominated Christopher Sieber as Lord Farquaad, Chester Gregory II as the Donkey, Kecia Lewis-Evans as the Dragon and the Tony-nominated John Tartaglia as Pinocchio.

Nevertheless, with the lackluster critical success of recent film translations to the stage, along with some early negative press already appearing in some important quarters, I'm left still feeling a bit like a bogeyman.

So, I ask you, dear readers. Should I bite the bullet and see the "Shrek" trilogy on film? Will it have me thirsting for the stage incarnation?

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for Shrek Seattle tickets.
Click here for Shrek Broadway tickets.
Related Stories:
Is It Just Me, Or... (Part III) (January 22, 2008)

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16 Comments:

At 13 July, 2008, Blogger par3182 said...

not the trilogy!

watch the first one, fast forward through most of the second one and avoid the third entirely

or, better yet, ignore the films and go into the musical a blank slate

 
At 13 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Par3182, Appreciate your advice. I half expected a half dozen suggestions from you!

 
At 13 July, 2008, Blogger SarahB said...

Par3182 is right about the films - the first one and second are a lot of fun. There are lots of little adult jokes and you'll find yourself charmed.

 
At 13 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Thanks Sarah, Since I generally see eye to eye with you, I just may rent it.

 
At 14 July, 2008, Blogger Victor said...

I haven't seen any of the Shrek films either...nor any of the Harry Potter films nor any of the Lord of the Ring films....and I am a regular film goer.

 
At 14 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Victor, But I see you've been to see "Mamma Mia!" Those of us stateside have to wait until Friday of this week to get our first glimpse.

 
At 15 July, 2008, Blogger Alicia said...

I think you will be surprised how much you will like the first film. I echo the sentiments about the whole trilogy - the first will give you what you need. HOWEVER - rumor has it that this SHREK will be a little darker, which makes me feel that are trying up their adult appeal.

A friend of mine went to a SHREK presentation the other day and said that the music is amazing...

Personally, I can't wait. Many of my favorites are attached to this project, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will deliver!

 
At 15 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Thanks so much, Alicia. So who are those favorites of yours, anyway?

 
At 15 July, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recommend NOT seeing any of the movies. They are all terrible. (OK, admittedly, I didn't see the third one, but after suffering through the first two I couldn't get myself to watch the third.)

I understand they are very popular, but I found nothing entertaining in those movies. Awful animation...bad jokes...terrible!

 
At 04 August, 2008, Anonymous mcinseattle said...

first one was so much fun to watch, the second one was still enjoyable, and the third one...a lil bit boring... :) but I'm definitely gonna taste the broadway version. :)

 
At 04 August, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Mcinseattle - Thanks for the advice. Will you be seeing the show during its Seattle run?

 
At 27 August, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not ready for B'way. We attended the show in Seattle on Saturday,August 23, and walked out at intermission. The music was sub-par, the plot was along the lines of the first film, yet missed the mark. The show opens with Shrek's parents telling him how ugly he is and the world is a beautiful place....but not for him and finally on his 9th birthday its time for him to hit the road.
For those that invested....get ready for a long cold shower. This show needs a total make over or even better simply turn out the lights. Sorry Shrek.

 
At 27 August, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not ready for B'way. We attended the show in Seattle on Saturday,August 23, and walked out at intermission. The music was sub-par, the plot was along the lines of the first film, yet missed the mark. The show opens with Shrek's parents telling him how ugly he is and the world is a beautiful place....but not for him and finally on his 9th birthday its time for him to hit the road.
For those that invested....get ready for a long cold shower. This show needs a total make over or even better simply turn out the lights. Sorry Shrek.

 
At 31 August, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the show in Seattle August 29th and loved it. A mother of two and lover of the original Shrek film, I felt it was more creatively concieved than a certain Broadway Disney musical and can't wait for the production to come to Texas.

 
At 05 September, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw it last weekend and loved it !!!

 
At 17 September, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definately watch the first two films, but skip the third. From what I've heard and seen online I'm sure it's gonna be a great musical. Not sure if it will get any Tony nominations, maybe for design or something. Who knows...

 

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