By Carol-Ann Rudy

The World Premiere of Shrek, The Musical, will take place on the stage of The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle August 14 to September 21. It is scheduled to arrive on Broadway in November. This is the first project for legitimate theater by DreamWorks Animation, following in the footsteps of, and in competition with, Disney’s successful projects such as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

The companies involved are actually DreamWorks Theatricals and Neal Street Productions, Ltd. Jason Moore, director of the puppet musical comedy Avenue Q, will direct Shrek, The Musical, with set and costume design by Tim Hatley and choreography by Josh Prince. Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire wrote the book and lyrics with music by Jeanine Tesori. The production will include material from the original 1990 “Shrek!” book by William Steig, not included in the 2001 animated 80-minute film version.

It isn’t easy being green; look at the great choices for the lead. According to the New York Post, the frontrunners for the role of the kindly ogre are Kevin Chamberlin and Tony Award winner Dan Fogler. Chamberlin has had Tony and Drama Desk nominations for performances in Chicago, Dirty Blonde and Seussical. For his performances in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Fogler received a Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Theatre World and Lortel awards. Both have other theatrical performances to their credit.

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The film, Shrek the Third, ranks as the second highest grossing film of 2007 according to Animation Magazine. A recent holiday TV special, Shrek the Halls, also attracted large legions of fans.

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