Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was an ogre named Shrek.
But before there was Shrek, there was Eric Petersen, a 2003 Bradley graduate.
Now a Broadway actor, Petersen performed his latest
starring role in “Shrek the Musical” at the Fox Theater in St. Louis for an audience of about 3,500 people.
Amidst the sea of glowing green necklaces and Shrek-ear headbands were Bradley graduates
and administration, who came to watch as part of an alumni trip.
“I used to go to a lot of the theater productions, and I knew there was a lot of great student talent,” said 2009 grad Jordan Pernikoff. “The show [was] awesome.
It had very good energy and kept you engaged throughout
Former parent board member Jeff Pernikoff said he thought it was an amazing experience to see the musical.
“I just think it’s so neat that there’s a Bradley alum up there on the stage,” he said.
After graduating, Petersen started working for Theatreworks USA and has been in six productions and workshops
through the company. His first breakout role was as William Barfee in the first national tour of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
Petersen has also broken into TV, working on shows such as “As the World Turns,” “Law and Order” and Jimmy Smitts’ new NBC show “Outlaw.”
But his work as an ogre has escalated Petersen to Broadway star status.
The play set out with its own brief storylines and numbers,
but the songs “Welcome to Duloc” and “I’m a Believer,” though revamped, were part of the performance.
With an array of glittering costumes, fairytale scenery and numbers unique to the musical, the performance was nothing short of Broadway.
“It’s hard to believe he was on the stage in the Hartmann Center a few years ago,” said Associate Vice President for Communications Shelley Epstein. “He’s done so much early in his career and he’s hardly
30. He’s got an incredible future ahead of him.”
In the end, the cast came together for a final bow to “I’m a Believer,” and when Petersen stepped out on stage, the audience
was brought to its feet.