“Shrek the Musical”: Sutton Foster and a singing ogre


For the past few years, I’ve been studiously ignoring the fact that

Shrek the Musical is in development and coming to Broadway this November. It keeps getting delayed (I believe it was originally projected to open in 2006), so it’s been fairly easy to dismiss.

And it’s not a given that I’ll hate it if I see it. The movie wasn’t

bad. It won’t be a jukebox musical. And I haven’t heard any stunt-casting

rumors. Yet I find it difficult to get excited about a show starring

an ogre and wisecracking donkey. Odd, that.

But it just got interesting.

Tony Award winner Sutton Foster

has signed on to star as Fiona, the princess who

falls for the ogre. Sutton Foster is one of the best actresses in

musical theater these days. And her story is great. She was an ensemble

player in a number of shows in the late ’90s and early ’00s before she

was plucked from the

of Thoroughly

Modern Millie
and cast in the starring role. She won Best

Actress in a Musical for that performance and became one

of the most bankable actresses on Broadway as a result. Her story could

be the stuff of a corny Broadway musical (à

la 42nd


I wasn’t a huge fan of Millie,

but I became a huge fan of Foster. Here she singing and dancing her

heart out to “Forget About the Boy.” (An easy song to embrace.)

She’s the only reason I saw

the obscenely tedious Broadway production of Little Women. Well,

her and the fact that a friend of mine got comps so I didn’t have to

pay for it.

The show was really bad. But

she was much better than the material. (The other thing that kept me

engaged was my fantasy that Maureen McGovern [Marmie] would anachronistically

belt “The Morning After” — the theme from The Poseidon

— but it didn’t happen. Alas.) And, of course, I hope

that a incipient baby dyke or two crushed out on Foster’s portrayal of Jo.

Foster went on to star in

The Drowsy Chaperone
and is currently playing Inga in Young Frankenstein.

But even Sutton Foster cannot

induce me to see another overblown Mel Brooks musical.

Next, a legion of young boys

will likely crush out on her portrayal of Fiona. And legions of young

girls will learn that a princess doesn’t have to be ladylike. And that it’s

OK to love an ogre.

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