Shrek the Musical Will Thrill Your Kids (and Kill Your Ears)

The 2001 movie “Shrek” is a quirky fairytale, with its story of a swamp-dwelling ogre and a homely, chubby princess who fall in love.

Shrek, the Musical,” which runs through Sept. 5 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago, tells that story in a frantic, over-amplified production, with crude humor (farting and the like) that’s sure to make kids giggle.

In an effort to entertain adults, the show is peppered with references to other Broadway musicals, which will sail right over the kids’ heads.

In this, the musical’s first national tour, Eric Petersen has the title role. His side-kick Donkey is played by Alan Mingo Jr. and Princess Fiona is portrayed by Haven Burton. All three come from the Broadway production, which won a Tony in 2009 for best costume design. The costumes of all the characters are exceptional.

The leads all have talent to spare and the show does have some charming moments, for example, when the three actresses playing Fiona—young, adolescent and adult—stand on the balcony of her tower prison and sing about true love and freedom. And there are dozens of instantly recognizable fairy tale characters: Pinocchio, the Three Bears, Peter Pan, the Three Little Pigs, and Humpty Dumpty. Alas, their voices are so heavily miked that their lines can barely be understood.

Tickets range from $25 to $90 and are available at the box office at 151 W. Randolph St. To order online, visit  Or instead, you might want to take your children to see the charming, age-appropriate children’s musical “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” running at Chicago Shakespeare on Navy Pier through Aug. 29.