Britain’s Got Talent judge to star as Princess Fiona in new stage adaptation of Shrek

Amanda Holden

Amanda Holden to play Princess Fiona in Shrek

Amanda Holden, the TV and stage actress and judge on ITV’s variety show Britain’s Got Talent, has secured a lead role in the forthcoming DreamWorks production of Shrek The Musical®, based on the Oscar-winning film.

Playing Princess Fiona, the down-to-earth and independent heroine of the show, Shrek The Musical opens at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London on 7 June 2011.

Holden has a theatrical background, having trained at Mountview Theatre School and appeared in stage roles including Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Mille at the Shaftsbury Theatre and Liesl Von Trapp in a touring production of The Sound of Music. Her numerous TV credits include Suspicious Circumstances opposite Edward Woodward, Eastenders, Mel in Kiss Me Kate, The Grimleys, Wild At Heart, Cutting It  and Big Top.

Shrek The Musical originally opened on Broadway in December 2008 and was nominated for eight Tony Awards. It closed in January this year after a relatively short run, although is now on a major tour of the USA. A number of changes have been made to the touring – and forthcoming London version – of the show, including a new opening, new songs, improved magic and illusions, a newly styled dragon and more emphasis on giving the show “heart”.

This has been confirmed by reviews of the US touring show, which opened this month at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago starring Eric Petersen. The Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones said that the show had, “finally discovered a human scale. Or, to put it another way, “Shrek the Musical” has belatedly found more of a heart”.

Richard Blackwood

Richard Blackwood to play Donkey

Other casting confirmed for the London production includes Richard Blackwood, who will play the Donkey. Blackwood is a comedian, singer and TV and radio presenter and is also step-brother to model Naomi Campbell. Recent stage appearances include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello Theatre alongside James Earl Jones and Adrian Lester.

The London stage musical is based on the irreverent fairy tale from William Steig’s book Shrek and the Oscar-winning Dreamworks Animation film. The creative team includes directors Jason Moore (Avenue Q) and Rob Ashford (Promises, Promises), with book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire, music by Olivier Award winner Jeanine Tesori, scenic, costume and puppet design by Tim Hatley, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound design by Peter Hylenski and choreography by Josh Prince.

The show is the first stage venture for DreamWorks Animation’s theatrical arm and was originally initiated as a project by award-winning director Sam Mendes. The musical will be produced in London by DreamWorks Theatricals’ Bill Damaschke and Mendes’ Neal Street Productions under Caro Newling.

Neal Street Productions is also behind a number of high-profile new London theatre projects including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Official casting information will be released soon. Drury Lane is currently home to Oliver!, which will close at the theatre on 8 January 2011.

Book tickets to SHREK THE MUSICAL at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane