New production of Shrek The Musical has made many changes

This first look at the brand new national tour of Shrek The Musical in North America has got a lot of people talking.

The new non-equity production has seen the show, which originally debuted on Broadway in 2008, undergo a major makeover.

Some of the differences are obvious, with new costumes that do away with layers of prosthetics in favour of Shrek having… hair.

Then there’s the not-so-small Lord Farquaad, who was previously portrayed by an actor on their knees to emphasise his short stature.

These choices, according to the official website, have been made to offer up a more “intimate and engaging experience” for audiences.

But it’s not just visual changes. Tony winners Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-Abaire have also revised the book and score.

Some changes were a long time coming, such as updating controversial lines relating to The Big Bad Wolf and that bipolar line in I Know It’s Today.

Other updates include the addition of puppets for young Shrek and Fiona, while some songs – including Don’t Let Me Go, Build A Wall and Ballad of Farquaad – have all been cut.

There’s also a new framing device which changes how the musical is told, and explains those costumes.

Lindsay-Abaire reveals: “They’re a group of people who have gathered together to present the story of Shrek.

“And someone puts on a costume and suddenly, they’re one of the three little pigs. And somebody else puts on a nose, and they’re the wolf, and so on. But you can still see the human underneath”

Tesori adds: “This version is coming from the human beings themselves, as opposed to lots of latex and covering the human to make the fairytale.”

While there have been some brutal comments on social media in response to the new look, early reviews of the tour, which opened in February, have been positive.

Tesori concludes: “We were inspired to make this lighter, simpler, charming version for the next generation, so they get to be the storytellers.”

About the author: Rachel Wise

UK based freelancer journalist Rachel contributes regularly to Stageberry with features and interviews from the hottest new shows and stage stars.


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