“DreamWorks Theatricals and Neal Street Productions, Ltd. have announced that Shrek the Musical will play an exclusive world premiere engagement at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, August 14th to September 21st, prior to opening on Broadway in the Fall of 2008. Preview performances will begin in early November at a theater to be announced.” The full press release and title treatment follow:
Exclusive World Premiere at Seattleâ€™s 5th Avenue Theatre
August 14 – September 21, 2008
Opens on Broadway Fall 2008
SEATTLE â€“ ONCE upon a time in a land not so far, far away a new musical began its journey to Broadway.
DreamWorks Theatricals and Neal Street Productions, Ltd. have announced that Shrek the Musical will play an exclusive world premiere engagement at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, August 14th to September 21st, prior to opening on Broadway in the Fall of 2008. Preview performances will begin in early November at a theater to be announced.
Shrek the Musical is an entirely new musical based on the story and characters from William Steigâ€™s book Shrek!, as well as the DreamWorks Animation film Shrek, the first chapter of the Shrek movie series.
Shrek the Musical features a book and lyrics by Pulitzer PrizeÂ® winner, David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole), music by Jeanine Tesori (Olivier Award-winner for Caroline, or Change and three-time Tony AwardÂ® nominee), and is directed by Jason Moore, who staged the Tony AwardÂ®-winning Best Musical, Avenue Q.
Shrek the Musical is DreamWorks Animationâ€™s first venture in legitimate theater. The production was initiated by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Sam Mendes, who has a long-term relationship with DreamWorks. Mendes, a big fan of the first Shrek film, suggested the idea of creating a musical to DreamWorksâ€™ 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).
Other members of the Shrek the Musical creative team include Tony AwardÂ®-winning set and costume designer, Tim Hatley (Monty Pythonâ€™s Spamalot, Private Lives, among others) and three-time Olivier Award-winning lighting designer, Hugh Vanstone, whose Broadway credits include Monty Pythonâ€™s Spamalot, Bombay Dreams, The Blue Room and Art.
The choreography is by newcomer Josh Prince, and Tim Weil (Rent) is serving as music director.
Casting and additional members of the creative team will be announced shortly.
â€œWithout a doubt this will be the major event of Seattleâ€™s theatrical season,â€ said 5th Avenue Theatre Producing Artistic Director David Armstrong, continuing, â€œWhat I am most excited about is the first class creative team that has been assembled for this production. These are some of the most talented and exciting artists working in the musical theater today. Once again our audience will have the opportunity to experience the creation of a new Broadway musical.â€
â€œWe are delighted that Shrek the Musicalwill play in Seattle prior to Broadway,â€ said Bill Damaschke, President of DreamWorks Theatricals. â€œSeattle audiences are well known for their enthusiastic support of new work and their discerning taste. This, in addition to the experience and expertise of The 5th Avenue Theatre team, provides us with a fantastic environment for the creation of our show.â€
Shrek the Musical is based on a popular 1990 book by William Steig. The characters of Shrek, Donkey and Fiona, and the other inhabitants of â€œFar, Far Away,â€ have been featured in three major animated films and a popular television special to date. The first Shrek feature film hit theaters in the summer of 2001, and went on to win the first-ever Academy AwardÂ® for Best Animated Feature. The 2004 sequel, Shrek 2, remains the third highest grossing movie of all time and highest grossing animated film of all time. The latest chapter of the Shrek story, Shrek the Third, is the 2nd highest grossing film of 2007. Shrek the Halls, the recent ABC television special, was one of the most watched TV programs of 2007.
5th Avenue Theatre season subscriptions go on sale Monday, February 4 and single tickets for Shrek the Musicalgo on sale Friday, June 13. For more information about The 5th Avenue Theatre, visit www.5thavenue.org.
DAVID LINDSAY-ABAIRE (Book & Lyrics) was most recently awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Rabbit Hole, which premiered on Broadway last season at MTCâ€™s Biltmore Theater. The play also received five Tony Award nominations, including Best Play, and the Spirit of America Award. His other plays include Fuddy Meers, Kimberly Akimbo, Wonder of the World and A Devil Inside, among others. In addition to his work in theater, David wrote the screenplay for the upcoming Newline feature Inkheart, and is currently at work on screen adaptations of his plays Rabbit Hole for 20th Century Fox, starring Nicole Kidman, and Kimberly Akimbo for DreamWorks. David is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and the Juilliard School, as well as a proud member of New Dramatists, the Dramatists Guild and the WGA.
JEANINE TESORI (Music) has written three Tony-nominated scores for Broadway; Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center, Thoroughly Modern Millie (lyrics, Dick Scanlan), and Caroline, or Change (lyrics, Tony Kushner). The production of Caroline or Change at the National Theater in London received the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. Her first off-Broadway musical, Violet, written with Brian Crawley, received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1997. She has been the recipient of many other honors including Drama Desk and Obie awards, and was cited by ASCAP as being the first woman composer to have â€œtwo new musicals running concurrently on Broadway.â€ She composed the music for The New York Shakespeare Festivalâ€™s production of Brechtâ€™s Mother Courage, as translated by Tony Kushner, starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline. She has written songs for the movie Shrek The Third. Her film scores include Nights in Rodanthe, Winds of Change, Show Business, and Wrestling With Angels. She has composed songs for Disney DVD releases Mulan II, Lilo and Stitch II, and Little Mermaid III. She has produced sixty CD’s for Silver-Burdett Ginnâ€™s Making Music and the original cast albums for Twelfth Night, Violet, and Caroline, or Change. Ms. Tesori, a graduate of Barnard College, lives in Manhattan with her husband, Michael Rafter, and daughter, Siena.
JASON MOORE (Director). Upcoming: The Jerry Springer Opera at Carnegie Hall. Broadway: Steel Magnolias, Avenue Q. Off-Broadway: Speech and Debate (Roundabout), Avenue Q, Guardians, The Crumple Zone. Regional: Vices (Mixed Blood Theatre, Minnesota), Opening Day (Powerhouse Theatre, Los Angeles). Associate directing: Les MisÃ©rables (Broadway, National Tour), Ragtime (Vancouver). Writer: The Floatplane Notebooks (Charlotte Repertory Theatre). TV: episodes of Dawson’s Creek, Everwood, One Tree Hill, and Brothers and Sisters. Jason has a B.S. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.
TIM HATLEY (Set & Costume Design). Winner of the 2005 Drama Desk Award for Spamalot. Winner of 2002 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for Private Lives on Broadway. Winner of the 2002 Olivier Award for Humble Boy and Private Lives in the West End and a 1997 Olivier Award for Stanley at the Royal National Theatre. Broadway credits: Private Lives, Vincent in Brixton, The Crucible, Stanley. Film credits: StageBeauty (Costume Designer), Closer (Production Designer) and Notes on a Scandal (Production & Costume designer). Previous theatre work includes working with Theatre de Complicite, Royal National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, English National Opera and Londonâ€™s West End. Graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art, London.
HUGH VANSTONE (Lighting) has designed lighting for plays, musicals and operas in London, New York and around the world. He has received three Olivier Awards for his work in London, most recently for Pacific Overtures (Donmar). New York credits: Spamalot (for which his lighting was TONY nominated); Bombay Dreams (Broadway); Life(x) 3 (Circle in the Square); Uncle Vanya, Twelfth Night and Hamlet (BAM); The Graduate (Plymouth); Follies (Belasco); Blast! (Broadway); The Unexpected Man (Promenade); The Blue Room (Cort); Closer (Music Box); Art (Royale). Plans for 2008 include the new Yazmina Reza play The God of Carnage and Peter Gill’s Small Change in London and Boeing Boeing on Broadway and in Australia.
JOSH PRINCE (Choreography). Upcoming: The Jerry Springer Opera at Carnegie Hall (dir. by Jason Moore). Previous regional choreography credits: Emerald Man (NYMF, 2006); Barnum (LA); Cabaret; Guys and Dolls; One Way Ticket To Hell (LA); The Full Monty; La Boheme; Singinâ€™ In The Rain. As an actor, he has appeared on Broadway in Little Me and Saturday Night Fever. In addition to two Broadway by the Year performances at Town Hall, three City Center Encores! and one New York City Opera production, Josh is a proud alumnus of Forbidden Broadway. Off-Broadway: I Can Get It For You Wholesale, George M., So Long 174th St., In The Wings. He has toured in Cats and played â€œCarmen Ghiaâ€ in The Producers in Los Angeles. Film/TV: A Cinderella Story and Law and Order: SVU.
DREAMWORKS THEATRICALS (Producer). Established in 2007 by DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (NYSE: DWA) to produce stage productions based on DreamWorks Animation’s existing and upcoming projects as well as other original and adapted works for the stage. Bill Damaschke, President of DreamWorks Theatricals and Co-President of Production for Feature Animation for DreamWorks Animation, oversees creative production and development for the studio and is currently involved with the production of the Company’s upcoming film slate, including Kung Fu Panda, Monsters vs. Aliens, How to Train Your Dragon and Madagascar 2. He joined DreamWorks Animation at its inception in 1995 and has worked on virtually all of DreamWorks Animation’s feature productions.
NEAL STREET PRODUCTIONS (Producer). Established in 2003 by Sam Mendes and Caro Newling following their tenure at the Donmar Warehouse 1992 â€“ 2002 under an umbrella first-look deal with DreamWorks SKG, Neal Street Productions produces film and theatre. Theatre productions: world premieres of stage version of Pedro Almodovarâ€™s All About My Mother by Samuel Adamson at the Old Vic Theatre starring Diana Rigg; David Hareâ€™s The Vertical Hour on Broadway with Julianne Moore and Bill Nighy, directed by Sam Mendes; The Hound of the Baskervilles with Peepolykus at the Duchess Theatre. Also West End transfers of Sondheim and Lapineâ€™s five-time Olivier Award winning production of Sunday in the Park with George from the Menier Chocolate Factory (opens 21 Feb 08 at Studio 54 with Roundabout Theatre) and Schillerâ€™s Mary Stuart from the Donmar Warehouse to Apollo Theatre. NSPâ€™s theatre slate since 2003 : world premiere of Owen McCaffertyâ€™s new version of JP Millerâ€™s Days of Wine and Roses premiered at the Donmar Warehouse; UK premieres of Nilo Cruzâ€™ Pulitzer prize-winning Anna in the Tropics at Hampstead Theatre and David Lindsay-Abaireâ€™s Fuddy Meers at Birmingham Rep and the West End. Projects ongoing include: The Bridge Project, a three year initiative with The Brooklyn Academy in NYC and the Old Vic Theatre in London in which NSP will creatively produce six plays with a transatlantic company led by Mendes. Also new stage version of Melchior Lengelâ€™s To Be or Not to Be, world premiere of The House of Special Purpose by Heidi Thomas (author of BBC series Cranford). Film slate, produced in concert with NSP co-director, Pippa Harris, includes Mendesâ€™ film, Jarhead, for Universal Pictures; Starter for Ten, in association with Playtone for HBO Film/BBC, Stuart: A Life Backwards in association with HBO Film/BBC, Things we Lost in the Fire for DreamWorks starring Benicio Del Torro and Halle Berry. Also Mendesâ€™ third movie for DreamWorks, Revolutionary Road, based on the Richard Yates novel starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo di Caprio.
THE 5TH AVENUE THEATRE is Seattleâ€™s premier musical theater. In 1980, the non-profit 5th Avenue Theatre began producing and presenting top-quality live musical theater for the cultural enrichment of the Northwest community. The 5th Avenue Theatre maintains a subscription audience of nearly 24,000 and an annual attendance of more than 287,000. It ranks among the nationâ€™s largest and most respected musical theater companies. The Theatre is committed to encouraging the next generation of theatergoers through its Educational Outreach Program which includes: The Adventure Musical Theatre Touring Company, The 5th Avenue High School Musical Theatre Awards, the Student Matinee Program and Spotlight Nights. Unique in its Chinese-inspired design, the exquisite theater opened in 1926 as a venue for vaudeville and film. Today, under the leadership of Managing Director Marilynn Sheldon and Producing Artistic Director David Armstrong, The 5th Avenue Theatre continues to achieve the highest standards in all aspects of artistic endeavors and facility operations, while preserving its artistic, architectural and historic legacy. Visit www.5thavenue.org.