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Shrek the Musical

Musical in 2 Acts. Book by David Lindsay-Abaire based upon Shrek!, by William Steig, and the DreamWorks' 2001 film of the same name; Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire; Music by Jeanne Tesori

5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle - 10 September to 21 September, 2008.

The Broadway Theatre, Broadway - Opened 14 December, 2008: Closed 2January, 2010 (441 perfs)


Act I

On his seventh birthday, Shrek's parents kick the young ogre out of their house and into the cruel world. They warn him that, because of his looks, everyone will hate him, and he won't have a happy ending. Later, a now embittered, hardened Shrek is living contentedly alone in a swamp. But his solitude is disrupted when all the fairy-tale beings of the land begin showing up on his property, exiled from the Kingdom of Duloc by order of Lord Farquaad. Shrek decides to travel to see Farquaad to try to regain his privacy and along the way reluctantly rescues a talkative Donkey from some of the Lord's goons. Donkey insists on tagging along.

Meanwhile, Lord Farquaad is torturing the Gingerbread Man into revealing the whereabouts of the remaining fairy tale creatures in hiding when his guards arrive with the one magical item he's been searching for for years - the Magic Mirror. Upon asking if Duloc is the most perfect kingdom of them all, the Mirror informs him that Farquaad is technically not a king, but can become one if he marries a princess. Farquaad chooses Princess Fiona from three "eligible bachelorettes" but leaves before the Mirror can explain "the little thing that happens after sunset". The Mirror shows us outcast seven-year-old Princess Fiona dreaming of the brave knight who, her storybooks tell her, will one day rescue her from her tower, and end her mysterious curse with "True Love's Kiss". As she grows into a teenager, and then a headstrong woman, she becomes a little bit stir crazy, but never loses her faith in her fairy tales.

Shrek and Donkey arrive in Duloc and make their way to Farquaad's palace, disrupting a kingdom-wide lottery to choose the "brave kinght" who will finally rescue Princess Fiona from her castle (surrounded by lava and protected by a fire-breathing dragon,) so that Farquaad may marry her and thus become a legitimate King. Shrek impresses Farquaad with his size, appearance, and "expendability," and the ogre agrees to undertake the rescue in exchange for the deed to his swamp.

Shrek and Donkey set off to find Fiona, seeing many strange things on the way (including Puss In Boots, a rabbit (who promptly runs away screaming after Shrek says he looks delicious), a cow jumping over the moon and a dish running away with a spoon (referencing the nursery rhyme Hey Diddle Diddle) and a African style giraffe head and a wheel with gazelles on it. Arriving at the castle, Shrek sets off alone to rescue Fiona while Donkey encounters the guardian she-Dragon, who sees him as a tasty snack. Donkey charms the fire-breathing creature by complimenting her teeth, and escapes death momentarily. When Shrek finds Fiona, his lack of interest in playing out her desired, romantic rescue scene annoys her, and Shrek must drag her off by force. The two of them reunite with Donkey and all three attempt to leave, angering the dragon, who chases Shrek, Fiona and Donkey out of the castle. Once they are safe, Fiona insists that Shrek reveal his identity. She is appalled that her rescuer is an ogre, and not the Prince Charming her stories promised. Shrek explains that he is merely her champion; instead, she is to wed Lord Farquaad. As the trio begins their journey back to Farquaad's palace, the Princess is frightened by the setting sun and insists that they rest for the night and that she spend the night, alone, in a nearby cave. Donkey and Shrek remain awake and Donkey, delighted at being referred to by Fiona as a "noble steed," asks Shrek who he would be, if he didn't have to be an ogre anymore. As Shrek opens up to his new friend, Fiona stands apart and alone, transformed into an ogre in the moonlight.

Act II

The next day, Princess Fiona admits to being a "Morning Person" as she assists a Pied Piper in his rat-charming duties. Shrek brings down her mood by mocking her tragic childhood circumstances, and the two begin a contest of one-up-man-ship, each trying to out-do the other by revealing their respective pasts. Both admit to abandonment at the hands of their parents; this connection, as well as bonding over a love of disgusting bodily noises, kindles friendship.

Meanwhile, back in Duloc, Lord Farquaad plans his wedding, and reveals his own sordid heritage. As Shrek and Fiona's new-found camraderie grows into love, Donkey insists, with the help of the Three Blind Mice, that Shrek should gather his courage and make a move. Shrek, finally beginning to come out of his caustic, protective shell, tries to find the words to explain his feelings to Fiona. While Shrek is out finding a flower for Fiona, Donkey discovers that Fiona turns into an ogress at night, and she confesses that she was cursed as a child, which is why she was locked away in the castle. Only a kiss from her true love will return her to her proper form. Shrek arrives near the end of the conversation and misunderstands Fiona's description of herself as an ugly beast to be referring him. Hurt by her presumed opinion, Shrek stalks off. The next day, transformed back to her human form, Fiona tries to explain her curse to Shrek, who rebuffs her. During the night, Shrek went to fetch Lord Farquaad, who arrives now to claim Princess Fiona. Donkey tries to explain the misunderstanding to Shrek, (who's too angry to listen), and Shrek rejects him as well, declaring that he will return to his swamp alone and build a wall against the outside world, be what the world says he should be - a monster - and never allow himself to feel any kind of love again.

The fairy-tale creatures, now headed for a land-fill which is to be their new home, decide Farquaad's treatment of them is intolerable. Just because they are freaks, doesn't mean they deserve to be hated. Pinocchio, the Gingerbread Man, the Three Little Pigs, and all the others gather new confidence and strength as they declare they'll raise their "Freak Flag" high against their tormentors.

Shrek returns to his again-private swamp, but he misses Fiona. Donkey follows him back, and convinces Shrek of his friendship by forgiving the ogre for his harsh words. Shrek apologises, and Donkey convinces him that Fiona really cares for the ogre. But the wedding is already underway. The duo interrupt the wedding before Farquaad can kiss Fiona, and Shrek is allowed to speak with her. Shrek finally finds the words that he's been searching for, and declares his love for Fiona, and his desire to share his world with her. His declaration of love is mocked by Lord Farquaad, but just then the exiled fairy-tale beings gate-crash the wedding and protest at their banishment. They are accompanied by a grumpy little dwarf, who is, in fact, Farquaad's father. Farquaad claimed earlier that Grumpy abandoned him in the woods as a child, but the dwarf reveals the true reason he kicked Farquaad out - he was 28 and living in Grumpy's basement. During the commotion, the sun sets, causing Fiona to turn into an ogress in front of everyone. Farquaad, furious and disgusted over the change, orders Shrek killed and Fiona banished back to her tower. As Farquaad proclaims himself the new king, Shrek whistles for the Dragon (she escaped the castle and followed Donkey back to the swamp), who crashes through the window and swallows Farquaad. Shrek and Fiona admit their love for each other and share a kiss; Fiona's curse is broken and she takes her true form: an ogress. She is ashamed of her looks, but Shrek declares that she is still beautiful. The two live happily ever after and everyone celebrates.


  1. Shrek
  2. Princess Fiona
  3. Donkey
  4. Lord Farquaad
  5. Pinocchio
  6. Magic Mirror
  7. Dragon Puppeteer
  8. Gingy
  9. Sugar Plum Fairy
  10. Shoemaker's Elf
  11. Duloc Performer
  12. Blind Mouse
  13. Mamma Bear
  1. Young Princess Fiona
  2. Teen Princess Fiona
  3. Fairy Godmother
  4. Magic Mirror Assistant
  5. Bluebird
  6. Young Shrek
  7. Queen Lillian
  8. Wicked Witch
  9. Mama Ogre
  10. Humpty Dumpty
  11. Papa Bear
  12. Thelonius

Musical numbers

  1. Big Bright Beautiful World – Shrek and Cast
  2. Story of My Life – Pinocchio and Fairy Tale Creatures
  3. The Goodbye Song – Shrek and Fairy Tale Creatures
  4. Don't Let Me Go – Donkey
  5. I Know It's Today – Fiona, Young Fiona, and Teen Fiona
  6. What's Up, Duloc? – Lord Farquaad and Duloc Dancers
  7. Travel Song – Shrek and Donkey
  8. Donkey Pot Pie – Dragon and Donkey
  9. This Is How a Dream Comes True – Fiona
  10. Who I'd Be – Shrek, Fiona and Donkey
  11. Morning Person – Fiona
  12. I Think I Got You Beat – Shrek and Fiona
  13. The Ballad of Farquaad – Lord Farquaad
  14. Make a Move – Donkey and Blind Mice
  15. When Words Fail – Shrek
  16. Morning Person (Reprise) – Fiona
  17. Build a Wall – Shrek
  18. Freak Flag – Gingy, Pinocchio, and Fairy Tale Creatures
  19. Big Bright Beautiful World (Reprise) – Shrek
  20. Finale – Cast


Violins I, II, III; Cello I, II; Acoustic Bass; Fkute, Trumpet I, II; Trombone I, II; French Horn; Keyboard; Guitar I, II; Drums; Percussion