"The Emperor's New Clothes" ★★★½

Young Alan Schmuckler will not spend his career writing family musicals like "The Emperor's New Clothes." He will, mark my words, be a major Broadway composer. Here, Schmuckler has penned a cascade of musical numbers for this show - based on the Hans Christian Andersen classic - that manage to be fresh, catchy and complex. Given the strength of the score and the easygoing charm of Rachel Rockwell's zesty, fast-paced and laudably truthful production, this commissioned musical is far and away the most successful of Chicago Shakespeare Theater's annual summer projects to draw in families from Navy Pier. Book writer David Holstein has crafted an irreverent and fresh take on the classic anti-snobbery tale, turning it into a droll little morality story about the perils of being a slave to fashion and appearance. Through Aug. 29 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier; $18-$23 at 312-595-5600 or chicagoshakes.com
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