Our girls have been waiting to see this production since they knew it was on Broadway. Unfortunately, we live in the Midwest and so we have been waiting patiently for Shrek the Musical to come to us. Luckily, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater for about 4 years now. Our daughters have been to many performances at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater but never have we seen a production like Shrek the Musical. It was bold, bright and outrageous; everything any child or child at heart would want in a production.
Just like the movie, in a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre, Shrek, not the usual expected handsome prince, shows up to rescue a feisty princess, Fiona.
Throw in a donkey who won’t ever shut up, a hilariously small bad guy with a temper, a fire breathing dragon who needs some love, a cookie with an attitude and a whole bunch of other fairy tale misfits and you’ve got a story that calls for a real hero.
I was really concerned how an onstage adaptation would measure up to an animated movie but let me assure you, it exceeded my expectations in every way. The characters were rich and vibrant, passionate and colorful, and even though they were not cartoon characters, they were larger than life.
Every actor in the production lived and breathed their character. The characters were multidimensional and lovable. I felt like I was part of a fairy tale. If you’ve ever been to a Chicago Shakespeare production, you know that the stage and theater are small and intimate and you feel like you are part of the story, part of the production itself.
I’d advise anyone who lives in the Chicagoland area to bring your whole family to Navy Pier this summer for this heartwarming, 75-minute musical adventure based on the Academy Award-winning film. It recounts the story of a swamp-dwelling ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim his once-secluded home.
Accompanied by a wise-cracking donkey, this unlikely hero fights a fearsome dragon and rescues the cursed Princess Fiona. On this fairytale journey, Shrek discovers the value of friendship and realizes that true love is more than skin deep.
Following each performance, audience members are invited to meet the cast in the theater lobby. We did and my girls, and my husband, were thrilled to have their photo taken with Donkey.
In my opinion, make a day of it! We had lunch at Harry Caray’s and walked the pier. It was a beautiful July afternoon in Chicago. The girls rode the merry go round and we made some memories. Then we picked up some Garret’s popcorn and headed home.
If your children liked the Shrek movies, they will adore the stage production. I don’t know that I have ever been quite so captivated by performers. Shrek the Musical calls for big, larger than life character to deliver a larger than life story and this production pleasantly exceeded all of my expectations.
Shrek the Musical will be running at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater from now until September 1, 2013. Tickets are $25 for adults and $18 for children 12 and under.
Disclosure: The Chicago Shakespeare Theater provided me tickets to the production for review but all opinions are my own.