Sunderland Empire to host Shrek on two-week run

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A MONSTER musical will be the latest West End show to hit Wearside.

As part of its UK tour, Shrek The Musical will take over the Sunderland Empire for a fortnight this November.

It’s the latest hit show to confirm a run at the High Street West theatre which has enjoyed a string of high-profile productions including The Lion King, Jersey Boys and the forthcoming Wicked.

At the helm in the director’s chair will be Nigel Harman who starred as Lord Farquaad in the West End version, which ran at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

The tour is currently playing at Newcastle’s Theatre Royal, where it’s proving popular with North East audiences thanks to its blend of fairytale meets comedy. But this will be its first time in Sunderland.

Ben Phillips, general manager at Sunderland Empire said: “We are delighted to announce that Shrek the Musical will play Sunderland Empire for a limited two week run this November. Audiences across the region will have the opportunity to enjoy this enchanting and magical smash-hit direct from London’s West End.”

Speaking about bringing the stage version of the DreamWorks Animations film on the road, Nigel Harman said: “This show is very special to me with its dizzying blend of great characters, a hilarious script and sublime music.

“This production is visually stunning, and the story has the magic ingredient of moving at great pace while still being surprisingly intimate.

“In short, there was no way I was going to say no to the challenge of realising the production for the UK and Ireland.”

Nigel, who shot to fame as Dennis Rickman in EastEnders. added: “If you’re a parent, yes, be assured that the kids will come along and love Shrek The Musical.

“They will recognise the story and the characters and they won’t believe what they see on the stage but, just like the film, adults can also rely on the humour, a little risqué in places, delivered with a wink of the eye.

“It’s a family show at its heart, and suitable for everyone, from eight to 80, so bring your kids or a date!”

Shrek is based on the story and characters from William Steig’s book Shrek!, but is best-known as the 2001 Oscar winning DreamWorks Animations feature film.

It tells the story of a reclusive ogre who is tasked with rescuing Princess Fiona from a tower by pint-sized ruler Lord Farquaad.

The casting for the Sunderland dates will be announced over the coming weeks.

l Shrek The Musical will be at Sunderland Empire from November 11-22. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10am to theatre card holders and at noon to groups. They go on general sale at 10am on Monday. Visit the Empire box office on High Street West, call the ticket centre on Tel. 0844 871 3022 or go online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland.