Stage and touring events may be a big and growing side business for studios, but DreamWorks Animation is looking to generate even more coin from its theatrical biz, with “Shrek the Musical” set to be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Oct. 15, and earlier on most digital platforms on Sept. 17.
The release is unique since most theatrical productions aren’t released on homevideo — producers worry that doing so would keep audiences at home rather than fill theater seats to see the shows.
In the past, Universal has released a 2012 performance of “The Phantom of the Opera” at London’s Royal Albert Hall; and a 2011 staging of “Les Miserables” filmed at London’s O2 Arena. But those were special productions, not the original stage version. The “Phantom” sequel “Love Never Dies,” also from Andrew Lloyd Webber, was released on homevideo.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release “Shrek the Musical” on all platforms for DreamWorks Animation and hype the release as part of a special “Shrektober” promo. Studio distributes the toon studio’s films in theaters as well.
The Broadway production that was filmed for the homevideo edition features Brian d’Arcy James as Shrek, Sutton Foster (Fiona), Daniel Breaker (Donkey), Christopher Sieber (Lord Farquaad) and John Tartaglia (Pinocchio). Production includes the musical’s 17 songs; Michael Warren recorded the performance using 10 cameras.
Like the four films in the series, “Shrek the Musical” revolves around a swamp-dwelling ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim the deed to his land. Joined by a wise-cracking donkey, Shrek fights a fearsome dragon, rescues a feisty princess and learns that real friendship and true love aren’t found only in fairy tales.
The musical is based on the story and characters from William Steig’s book “Shrek,” as well as the DWA toons, with a script and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, music by Olivier Award-winner Jeanine Tesori and Jason Moore (“Avenue Q”) as its director.
The homevid release’s deluxe edition Blu-ray will include “From Swamp To Stage: The Making of Shrek the Musical” documentary; and the “Shrek The Musical Songbook with Sing-Along” bonus.
“Shrek The Musical” was DreamWorks’ first foray into producing a stage version of one of its shows. Studio shuttered the Broadway run on Jan. 2, 2010, a little more than a year after it bowed.
While the show proved popular to tourists visiting New York, it struggled to keep theaters full during the off-season.
DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said at the time that despite the closure of the show, the company would continue to generate value from the show, and has done so through a touring version and versision in London’s West End, for example. The homevideo release is the latest example to make the elaborate production profitable.
SEE ALSO: Review: “Shrek the Musical”
“Shrek The Musical” was nominated for eight Tonys, including top tuner, but came away with a single trophy for Tim Hatley’s costume design.