Shrek the Musical
Last week my husband and I were given the opportunity to see Broadway in Chicago’s National Tour of Shrek at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. I have to admit I went into it a little skeptical. I tend to be a bit of a theatre snob (hey–admitting you have a problem is the first step in fixing it, right???) and I don’t like the Disney-fication of Broadway. Yes, I’ve seen The Lion King and Beauty & the Beast and enjoyed them, but I also wonder why no one seems to have an original thought anymore. Must we keep remaking movies into theatre?
But I was more than pleasantly surprised by Shrek. From the moment we sat down and took a look at the lush, green scrim I was captivated. The set and costumes are colorful and eye-catching and really bring to mind the animated characters and scenery of the movie. The song and dance numbers are a blast (I especially loved Fiona’s tap number with a bunch of rats!) and the ballads are touching and beautifully sung.
And the acting was great! Playing characters that were originally cartoons could be difficult–they could easily be over the top and phony. But everyone was animated (ha! I made a pun!) but still believable. The leads, Eric Peterson (Shrek), Haven Burton (Princess Fiona), Alan Mingo, Jr. (Donkey) and Todd Buonopane (Lord Farquaad) were especially wonderful. (And God bless Mr. Buonopane who spends most of the performance on his knees playing the height-challenged Lord Farquaad. My knees hurt just watching him!)
And as a bonus for us theatre nerds I lost count of how many inside theatre jokes there were. There were references to everything from Gypsy to Wicked to Fosse choreography. There were also a ton of cute references to other fairy tales (Pinocchio (Blakely Slaybaugh) and Gingy, the Gingerbread man (Aymee Garcia) were especially funny!) And with the pre-show announcement recorded by none other than Ms. Julie Andrews? I was in heaven before the show started!!
I’m so glad I put my theatre snobbery aside and saw Shrek. (Look–I learned something!) I so wish my son was a little older so we could take him. I can not recommend this show enough to both adults and families with kids. If you’re in the Chicago area you have until Sept 5 to see this show. I promise, you will have a BALL!
Disclosure: I was given 2 tickets to Shrek but all opinions are my own.