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Rob Ashford Joins the 'Shrek' Creative Team

Variety is reporting that Tony-nominated choreographer Rob Ashford will be joining the creative team of the upcoming production of SHREK THE MUSICAL on Broadway.

Rob Ashford made his Broadway debut dancing in the 1987 Lincoln Center revival of Anything Goes with Patti LuPone. Soon after he found himself lending his dancing feet to Crazy for You, My Favorite Year, The Most Happy Fella, Victor/Victoria and the Hal Prince directed Parade.

As a choreographer his first show to shape dance wise was a production of Kiss of the Spider Woman in Buenos Aires. His return to New York City found him teaming with Kathleen Marshall to co-choreograph the 1999 revival of Kiss Me, Kate. His reputation firmly in place, Ashford’s next gig was Thoroughly Modern Millie, for which he won the Tony and earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Choreography. He also was nominated for both awards for The Wedding Singer and the Tony for Curtains. Across the pond in London one of his many credits was his celebrated work on Guys and Dolls with Ewan McGregor and Jane Krakowski. He also staged the musical numbers for the film Beyond the Sea starring Kevin Spacey.

This past awards season, his work on Cry-Baby has brought a number of accolades to his crowded mantle, including both the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding Choreography. He was also nominated for a 2008 Tony for Best Choreography.

SHREK THE MUSICAL stars Tony Award® nominee Brian d'Arcy James as Shrek, Tony Award® winner Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona, Tony Award® nominee Christopher Sieber as Lord Farquaad, Chester Gregory II as Donkey, Tony Award® nominee john tartaglia as Pinocchio and Kecia Lewis-Evans as The Dragon.

Joining these actors will be Haven Burton (Legally Blonde, Rent), Jennifer Cody (Urinetown, The Pajama Game), Ben Crawford (Les Misérables), Bobby Daye (The Color Purple, The Lion King), Ryan Duncan (Altar Boyz), Sarah Jane Everman (The Apple Tree, Wicked), Aymee Garcia (Avenue Q), Leah Greenhaus,Justin Greer (The Producers), Lisa Ho (A Chorus Line), Chris Hoch (Spamalot, Die Mommie Die!), Danette Holden (Jackie Mason's Laughing Room Only), Jacob Ming-Trent (Epic Theatre Center's Widowers' Houses), Carolyn Ockert-Haythe (The Pajama Game, Wonderful Town), Marissa O'Donnell (Annie in 30th Anniversary tour of Annie),  Denny Paschall (Chicago, Beauty and the Beast), Greg Reuter (Spamalot), Adam Riegler (York Theatre Company's I and Albert), Noah Rivera (Wicked), Heather Jane Rolff (Wanda's World), Jennifer Simard (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Rachel Stern (High Fidelity, Tarzan), Dennis Stowe (The Apple Tree, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), David F.M. Vaughn (Doctor Doolittle National Tour) and Keaton Whittaker.

 The show will play a pre-Broadway run at Seattle's The 5th Avenue Theatre, August 14 to September 21.

SHREK THE MUSICAL is an entirely new musical based on the story and characters from William Steig's book Shrek!, as well as the Dreamworks Animation film Shrek, the first chapter of the Shrek movie series.

SHREK THE MUSICAL features a book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize® winner, David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole), music by Olivier Award-winner Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie & Caroline, or Change), and is directed by Tony Award® nominee Jason Moore, who staged the Tony Award®-winning Best Musical, Avenue Q and Jerry Springer - The Opera in Concert at Carnegie Hall.

SHREK THE MUSICAL is Dreamworks Animation's first venture in legitimate theater. The production was initiated when Sam Mendes, a big fan of the first Shrek film, suggested the idea of creating a musical to Dreamworks Animation's Jeffrey Katzenberg around the time the second film was in production.  The musical is being produced by DreamWorks Theatricals (Bill Damaschke, President) and Neal Street Productions, Ltd (principals Sam Mendes and Caro Newling).

Other members of the SHREK THE MUSICAL creative team include Tony Award®-winning set and costume designer, Tim Hatley (Monty Python's Spamalot, Private Lives, among others), three-time Olivier Award-winning lighting designer, Hugh Vanstone, whose Broadway credits include Monty Python's Spamalot, Bombay Dreams, The Blue Room and Art, and sound designer Peter Hylenski (Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me and upcoming, Cry-Baby).

The choreography is by newcomer Josh Prince, and Tim Weil (Rent) is serving as music director.

SHREK THE MUSICAL is based on a popular 1990 book by William Steig.  The characters of Shrek, Donkey and Fiona, and the other inhabitants of "Far, Far Away," have been featured in three major animated films and a popular television special to date. The first Shrek feature film hit theaters in the summer of 2001, and went on to win the first-ever Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature. The 2004 sequel, Shrek 2, remains the third highest grossing movie of all time and highest grossing animated film of all time. The latest chapter of the Shrek story, Shrek the Third, is the 2nd highest grossing film of 2007.  Shrek the Halls, the recent ABC television special, was one of the most watched TV programs of 2007.

Tickets for SHREK THE MUSICAL will be available beginning May 31 by calling Telecharge.com at (212) 239-6200, (800) 432-7250 outside the NY metro area, or online at Telecharge.com. Group sales are available by contacting Telecharge Group Sales at 212-239-6262, or 800-432-7780.

For more information, visit www.shrekthemusical.com

Photo Credit Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.


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