Shrek Comes to Broadway

Broadway just got a little uglier! Everyone’s favorite ogre is stomping onto the Great White Way in Shrek The Musical. Based on the popular film, this musical turns the world of fairy tales on its head, as Shrek journeys to rescue Princess Fiona from her tower. But it wouldn’t be Broadway without some showstoppers along the way. Featured in the ensemble is Denny Paschall, who sat down with Dance Spirit to discuss what it takes to infuse the story of an ogre with some Broadway pizzazz. —Matt Murphy


Dance Spirit: What was the first thing you thought when you heard they were adapting Shrek?


Denny Paschall: Anytime something is being adapted, I’m interested to see how the creative team is going to make that happen. The first thing that struck me was how good the writing is. The creators ventured away from the movie in order to make it better for a stage. They weren’t married to any of the dialogue in the movie; they were married to the story.


DS: What has it been like working with choreographer Josh Prince?


DP: He has a different way of approaching steps. They’re very quirky, which is perfect for Shrek. It’s cool to see someone who’s not thinking of doing big tricks all the time. He’s using steps to tell a story.


DS: What role does dance play in the overall production?


DP: There are some big dance numbers, but primarily the movement is forwarding the story, so it has to be given the same attention as a line of dialogue or a lyric in a song. It’s another way of informing the audience as to how the characters are feeling.


DS: What do you hope audiences will experience at the show?


DP: I hope they’re reminded that each individual is beautiful, just like Shrek. I hope audiences can come away with a sense of being more understanding and tolerant of people they might not understand.

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