The role of the Donkey who becomes Shrek’s best friend will be played by Nat Jobe in his first lead role in a commercial musical. Nat toured Australia in Aladdin, Horrible Harriet and The Gruffalo, played a hyena in Disney’s The Lion King, travelled the country dressed as a sheep in Pete The Sheep, and was both Dog and Frog in the family show Room on the Broom.
As well as the previously announced Sydney and Brisbane seasons, Marcia Hines will play The Dragon during the Melbourne season for performances from 18 March onwards. Australian music royalty Hines gained popularity as one of the judges on Australian Idol for several seasons, and has performed on stage in the Australian productions of the musical Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar, as well as GFO’s Big River, Jerry’s Girls and Saturday Night Fever.
Taking on a multitude of roles within the fairy-tale realm are Ross Chisari (as Little Pig), Annie Chiswell (Ugly Duckling), Benjamin Colley (Pied Piper), Andy Conaghan (Wolf), Denise Devlin (Mama Bear), Mackenzie Dunn (Swing), Blake Erickson (Papa Bear), Manon Gunderson-Briggs (Gingy), Hollie James (Swing), Rubin Matters (Peter Pan), Sarah Murr (Fairy Godmother), Joshua Robson (Little Pig), Monique Sallé (Red Riding Hood), Tom Sharah (Little Pig), Leigh Sleightholme (Swing), Suzanne Steele (Wicked Witch), Rhys Velasquez (Swing), Caleb Vines (Pinocchio) and Sascha Wykes (Baby Bear).
They join the previously announced lead cast members Ben Mingay as Shrek, Lucy Durack as Princess Fiona and Todd McKenney as Lord Farquaad (in Sydney and Melbourne only).
Widely known for his screen work in Packed to the Rafters, Wonderland, Home and Away and House of Bond as Alan Bond, on stage Ben Mingay has played Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys, the title role in The Phantom of the Opera, Zack in An Officer and A Gentleman, and Billy in the original Australian, UK and US productions of Dirty Dancing.
Lucy Durack shot to stardom as Glinda the Good Witch in the original Australian production of Wicked, and has since played Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, Glinda in GFO’s The Wizard of Oz, Sybil Chase in Private Lives and Peggy Sawyer in 42nd Street amongst others, and recently was a judge on Channel 7’s Australia’s Got Talent.
Todd McKenney has previously been seen on stage in countless musicals including The Rocky Horror Show, Grease, Anything Goes and The Boy From Oz, but is probably better known as a judge on Channel 7’s Dancing With The Stars.
With music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, Shrek The Musical is based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film Shrek and William Steig’s 1990 book Shrek!. When it was launched, the film Shrek was the first Academy Award winner for the Best Animated Feature, was the #1 highest grossing animated film and the #3 highest grossing film. Still today, three of the Shrek films are in the Top 20 Highest Grossing Animated Films of all time.
Shrek The Musical brings the hilarious story of everyone’s favourite ogre to life on the stage. In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre – not a handsome prince – shows up to rescue a feisty princess. Throw in a donkey who won’t shut up, a bad guy with a SHORT temper, a cookie with attitude, and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand … and his name is Shrek.
Featuring a terrific score of 19 songs, big laughs, great dancing and breathtaking scenery, the New York Times has proclaimed Shrek The Musical as “True Happiness!”. The show has been lauded by critics and audiences alike, receiving 8 Tony Award nominations, 12 Drama Desk nominations, 10 Outer Critics Circle nominations, 3 Drama League nominations and a Grammy Award nomination for Best Musical Show Album.
“I’m thrilled with the superb cast we have assembled for Shrek The Musical, led by Ben, Lucy, Todd and Marcia,” said John Frost. “It’s a genuine Broadway smash hit and so funny as well as touching, appealing to everyone from 5 to 105. I know Australia is going to fall in love with Shrek The Musical as much as I did.”
Shrek The Musical will play at the Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star from 1 January 2020, followed by seasons at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne from 16 February and at the Lyric Theatre, Brisbane from 9 May. New tickets will be released on Friday for the Melbourne season of Shrek The Musical due to huge demand. For more information, visit: www.shrekthemusical.com.au for details.
Image: Shrek The Musical (International Cast) – photo by Helen Maybanks