Shrek is Back in Dubai

Written by Silvana Fitzpatrick

Is time to embark on a bright, new musical adventure this month with Shrek on stage at Dubai Opera from the 22nd to the 26th of February. After winning hearts and great reviews all across the world, Shrek The Musical is coming back to Dubai, in all its bright-green glory. The musical comedy will be lighting up the opera house with a host of much beloved funny characters delivering a unique musical extravaganza for all ages.

Shrek The Musical is a Tony Award-winning fairy tale, a Broadway and West End hit based on the 2001 Oscar-winning DreamWorks animation film. The production features music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire.

With a cast of vibrant characters taking to the stage, the fun-filled musical comedy retains its “shrek-tacular’” score and proves there is more to the story than meets the eye, or indeed the ears. The show will feature 19 additional songs from Jeanine Tesori such as Thoroughly Modern Millie, Caroline, and Change, as well as awe-inspiring backdrops, costumes, and creative choreography.

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UAE enjoys this musical genre and bringing Shrek to Dubai Opera is an important initiative for the globalisation of musical theatre.

Get ready for magic nights at the opera, as the prickly green ogre with a heart of gold stomps into Dubai this week.

The Show

Shrek’s story takes us to a faraway kingdom where things get upside down when the rescue of a feisty princess by an ogre instead of a typical dashing prince becomes an almost impossible mission.

The musical offers five-star Broadway-quality performances as colourful characters are brought to life with great flair and vigour. The show is sure to delight children but will also take adults on a journey of humour, laughter, romance, and adventure. This intricate production features over 55 cast members and their talents elevate the expectations of audiences to a new calibre of quality performances. The show based on the 2001 film also incorporates elements of its sequels, including Shrek 2 and Shrek Forever After.

It is not Shrek’s first time in Dubai. Described by USA Today as a “BIG FAT HIT!”, the show has toured the Middle East region before and came to the emirate in 2016 with 9 performances played at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Shrek The Musical is arranged and choreographed by Music Theatre International. Original costumes are designed by Tony Award winner Tim Hatley. The make-up sessions for the main character can be quite intense, and take over an hour, with a lot of face paint and prosthetics involved. But the artists always succeed in making Shrek look like he just hopped off the screen right onto the stage.

After its Broadway debut in 2008, the show was nominated for eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Actor, and Best Actress, and it has performed on stages across the world, including Thailand, France, Italy, Germany UK, Ireland, and China.

Shrek brings on stage a wealth of creative display. From the costumes, music, and impressive sets to some great dance sequences, fire-breathing dragon puppets, and scenography, the storyline will capture all ages.

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What’s The Story?

"Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek.”

This is how the tale of Shrek begins when he embarks on a life-changing adventure alongside the endlessly talking Donkey and Fiona, the princess who resists her rescue. Accompanying them on this journey are a bunch of magical characters, like the evil Lord Farquaad, a beloved cookie with an attitude, and the short-tempered bad guy. Soon enough, they all find themselves in a big mess that calls for daring escapes and a real hero to the rescue.

Luckily, there is one around, and his name is Shrek.


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However, behind all the fun and jokes, the show explores some deeper themes, such as love and self-acceptance. The musical builds upon the original Shrek movie with the message that everyone can find true love, that friendship matters, and that intercultural relationships can work.

The idea that a beautiful princess can fall in love with an ugly ogre who becomes a hero, proves that being true to oneself is what truly matters and that ultimately, true beauty is in the eye of the…. ogre.

Dubai Ready to be Shrek Spellbound

Over the years, the opera house has brought to life some of the most memorable performances that are still emotionally resonating with the audience.

The venue reinforces the emirate’s reputation as a pioneer of luxury and connoisseur of culture, and it has drawn comparisons to the world’s top opera houses such as the Sydney Opera House in Australia and the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in terms of architectural splendour and artistic opulence.

Dubai Opera is no stranger to a stellar repertoire of shows and concerts taking centre stage Downtown each season. This year Dubai Opera is hosting more than 16 shows, including Tchaikovsky Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra, West Side Story – the most famous American musical of all times – and Shrek The Musical, presented by Broadway Entertainment Group and Live Nation.

This universal story continues to delight audiences wherever it is seen. The 2023 tour of Shrek The Musical has seen over 10,000 people enjoy the show so far, and it will continue with performances in more than ten cities for the rest of the year, as it becomes the longest Middle East tour of a Western musical.

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After more than 20 years, Shrek is still a beloved fairy tale that continues to influence pop culture and draws in new generations of fans with its characters and comedy.

A great family show, Shrek The Musical guarantees to have you dancing and laughing all the way home this week.