By Steve Daly
Updated February 06, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST

The happy surprise of this nimble stage adaptation is that it rarely stoops to mere enactment. Shrek the Musical takes off from the first Shrek movie — following the spiky courtship of Shrek (a resplendently green-faced Brian D’Aroy James) and Fiona (the perfectly perky Sutton Foster) — in ways that make the show its own special breed of talking animal. Though Jeanine Tesori’s tunes can be more ho-hum than ”Heigh Ho,” Shrek achieves something rare in a movie retread: The stars and the stagecraft are almost bigger draws than the familiar story. (800-432-7250) B+