Shrek the Musical

Movie review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
Shrek the Musical Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Musical version is edgier, not as fun as animated movie.
  • NR
  • 2013
  • 130 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

As in the animated Shrek, the message is that everyone should be accepted for who he or she is, whether a princess, an ogre, or a wooden puppet. This is especially brought home in the song "Freak Flag," which shows the fairy tale creatures proudly proclaiming, "It's time to stop the hiding, it's time to stand up tall / Sing, hey, world, I'm different, and here I am, splinters and all!" 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Princess Fiona is a positive role model for young girls because she directly challenges the usual girly-girl princess stereotype. In fact, she's just as likely to crack a fart joke as Shrek.


There are a few scenes showing children in peril, including a scene with a 7-year-old Shrek being sent off into the world alone to fend for himself where he encounters angry villages and ogre hunters with torches and pitchforks. Lord Farquaad banishes characters and threatens them with execution. There's also a scene where a fire-breathing dragon chases Donkey, Shrek, and Fiona, and actors dressed like skeletons writhe and dance around the stage.


Although no real sexy stuff is shown, there is quite a bit of adult innuendo, including an extended series of jokes about Lord Farquaad's tall tower compensating for something. The big bad wolf also sings, "They tore my granny dress and called me a hot and tranny mess."


Some mild profanity is used, including "hell" and "damn." There's also a lot of potty humor (including a song that mostly consists of Fiona and Shrek burping and farting), and the fairy tale creatures are called "fruitcakes and freaks."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Both Lord Farquaad and Shrek are shown drinking a cocktail. There's also a reference to some "funny mushrooms."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shrek the Musical is a DVD release of the Broadway musical based on the Shrek animated movie. It has basically the same plot and characters and even much of the same dialogue as is in the original Shrek movie but with added song-and-dance numbers. As with its predecessor, it has quite a bit of adult innuendo, potty humor, and gross-out jokes, though the musical does seem to have a bit more adult humor than the cartoon. The play also adds more backstory to main characters Shrek and Fiona, both of which are quite dark and a little scary: Shrek is sent off by his parents at age 7 to fend for himself, and Fiona is sent to live in a tower alone as a young girl. There's also some mild profanity ("damn" and "hell") and some scary scenes with characters being threatened with execution and Shrek being chased by townsfolk with torches and pitchforks. The big bad wolf sings, "They tore my granny dress and called me a hot and tranny mess."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bynduns May 15, 2015

Honestly, I prefer this to the film

In a way, that kind of works as a double-edged sword as it actually makes it hard for me to watch the original film. It's just, this one gave the characte... Continue reading
Adult Written by900621 May 4, 2020

Not the movie...

Missing the songs from the movie, and even the personalities of the movie. The actors do great! Don't get me wrong, but anything theater now a days tends... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byWRESTLING246 October 5, 2014

Its cool but the animated version is better

The Songs are great and the costumes of Shrek, Donkey and the rest of the characters look fantastic, I liked the musical version of Shrek but the Dreamworks A... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMrMusic123 November 13, 2020

Great musical. Movie is better

Shrek should not work as a musical, but it does. It’s funny. The songs are great. Some of them don’t feel like they belong in shrek musically, but it’s still fa... Continue reading

What's the story?

Shrek (Brian D'Arcy James), a hilariously grumpy ogre, finds his swamp taken over by fairy tale characters who've been banished by the evil Lord Farquaad (Christopher Sieber). In exchange for getting his swamp back, Shrek agrees to rescue the princess Fiona (Sutton Foster) from a fire-breathing dragon so she can marry Lord Farquaad. Shrek reluctantly sets off to save Fiona with the hilarious talking donkey, Donkey (Daniel Breaker). On their adventure, Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona all learn that appearances can be deceiving, and they learn the true meaning of friendship.

Is it any good?

As with Shrek the movie, SHREK THE MUSICAL is funny, clever, and charming, for all the same reasons the movie is. It takes your typical fairy tale characters and turns them upside down, making the ogre the hero and the princess anything but princess-y. Many of the same jokes and favorite lines from the movie are in the play, and often they're just as funny, but sometimes they seem to miss the mark when played by real actors dressed up as, for example, a big green ogre or a talking donkey. Also, somehow the burps and gross-out humor seem even grosser when not delivered by a cartoon character.

Mostly the play itself feels somewhat unnecessary. Shrek the movie hit all the right notes, with hilarious voice actors, silly humor, and a really great soundtrack. Shrek the musical doesn't really add anything to the mix that's better than the movie. Although the actors are very talented, none of the songs is memorable. And, although many of the sets are impressive (there's a giant puppet dragon and some great dance sequences), they don't catch your attention the same way on video they would if you saw them on stage. Kids will probably be entertained by the play's humor, but they may be bored by the numerous songs and the play's more-than-two-hour run time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Why do you think they made Shrek into a musical? Do you think it works as a musical, or do you like the movie version better?

  • There are a lot of references to Disney movies and other Broadway-based movies in the play. Which ones did you notice?

  • Do you like the songs in the play? Do you like them better than the music in the movie? Why, or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love musicals

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