Behold The Forgotten Nightmare That Was 'Shrek The Musical'
It’s been 20 years since the loveable green ogre Shrek and his amusing pal Donkey first graced the big screen. Naturally, the internet has chosen to celebrate this milestone with a bunch of rancorous arguing that began with a Guardian editorial criticizing the film and was promptly followed by a social media backlash led by passionate Shrek-heads. While we’re steering clear of showering in the metaphorical mud of this particular controversy, we would like to talk about one of the creepiest tie-ins Shrek ever spawned -- and no, we don’t mean the “surgery”-themed game in which you remove foreign objects from Shrek’s disembodied head at his gleeful instruction.
We’re talking about Shrek the Musical, the 2008 Broadway adaptation featuring live actors dressed as the beloved animated characters. We probably use the “porn parody” comparison too often, but take a look at this cast and tell us that their make-up wasn’t applied in the back of an unmarked van in the San Fernando Valley.
Conceived as part of Dreamworks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg’s long-time war on Disney, who had found success with theatrical versions of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, Shrek was a big-ass flop. It didn’t help that orchestra seats cost “more than $100,” and the show came out smack in the middle of a recession. The Broadway production ended up losing “more than $1 million.”
Plus, the musical was just plain creepy. When the touring version debuted, they scrapped the dragon puppet, which was “kind of scary and off-putting,” and switched out the song “Donkey Pot Pie,” Dragon’s soulful tune about murdering her future husband.
So while a lot of the Shrek canon is up for debate, can we all agree that this was a nightmare which we should never talk about ever again?
Top Image: Dreamworks