‘Shrek’ announcement leaves theatre staff ‘ogre-joyed’

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Shrek, centre stage.

“SHREK the Musical” is coming to the Canberra Theatre Centre from February 14, it has been announced today (December 11), by its newish director Alex Budd.

In a coup for Budd and the theatre, the Gordon Frost Organisation’s production of “Shrek” will come directly from its opening at Brisbane’s Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and will play at 75 per cent capacity under the ACT government’s new covid-related regulations. The window is open for the season to run for up to a month.

Managing director of GFO, John Frost, was last in Canberra 30 years ago with “Jerry’s Girls”, featuring Marcia Hines, who will also appear in the QPAC production, playing the lovesick dragon.

It is not yet confirmed that the Brisbane line-up, which also includes Ben Mingay as Shrek, Lucy Durack as Princess Fiona and Todd McKenney as Lord Farquaad, will be the same as in Canberra, but the likelihood is strong.

Most Canberrans will be familiar with the story from the Oscar-winning film “Shrek”, and from Free Rain Theatre’s sell-out production of the musical at The Q in 2018, directed by Ylaria Rogers.

In it, lovable ogre-hero Shrek and his “loyal steed”, Donkey, set off to rescue Princess Fiona from her tower, guarded by the dragon and from the diminutive Lord Farquaad.

Budd, who predicted that the production would delight audiences of all ages, said in making the announcement, “Canberrans can’t wait for a great night out, and we’re delighted that come February, everyone’s favourite ogre will be giving us just that, eight times a week”.

“Shrek The Musical” opened on Broadway in 2008, with music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. Filled with raucous comedy, dancing, lavish costumes and no fewer than 19 songs, it went on to receive eight Tony Award nominations.

Staff at the Theatre Centre, filled with anticipation of the biggest show to hit their stage since “Mamma Mia” in 2017, could not resist a pun, declaring themselves jointly to be “ogre-joyed”.

“Shrek The Musical” Canberra Theatre, opening February 14. Bookings now open via canberratheatrecentre.com.au or 6275 2700.

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Helen Musa
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