OVO by Cirque du Soleil

OVO by Cirque du Soleilwebsite

Location: The Grand Chapiteau (Big Top) in the parking lot of the United Center, 1901 West Madison Street, Chicago

Phone: 800-450-1480 Booking Assistance (booking fees are higher via phone)

Hours: The show runs through August 21, 2011
Sundays:                      1:00 pm, 5:00 pm
Monday:                      No shows
Tuesday – Thursday:     8:00 pm (no show 8/16)
Friday & Saturday:       4:00 pm, 8:00 pm

The show is 2 1/2 hours long, including the half hour intermission in the middle.

Admission: Adult tickets start at $68.50 (including convenience fees); children’s tickets (2-12) start at $50.50 (inc convenience fees). Children under 2 are free, but must sit on a parent’s lap for the entire show.
Family packs of 4 tickets are available for all shows except Friday night and any Saturday shows.

Parking: Parking at the United Center is $25. There are a couple private parking lots nearby, including one just across the street from the entrance that charge about $15 (but bring cash!).

Bathrooms: The bathrooms are port-a-pottys. There were enough that we didn’t have to wait. The changing tables are in the handicapped bathroom. There is a large sink area outside the bathrooms; be careful on hot days – the soap dispenser sits in the sun and the soap was very hot.

Nursing: There is no designated nursing area.

Handicapped/stroller accessibility: Strollers are not permitted. Wheelchair accessible seating is available, but must be reserved by calling 800-450-1480 (no service charge applies). See the wheelchair access page of the OVO website for more information about discounts, availability, and other important information.

Other amenities: Clothing, toys, programs, (adorable) hats, and other Cirque du Soleil merchandise is available for sale in the “lobby” of the tent.
Booster seats are available from the ushers; they are soft and have a flap that fits over the back of the seat to keep it secure.
The “lobby” area of the tent (where the shop, refreshment counters, and bathrooms are located) is not air conditioned. The inner tent where the show takes place is air conditioned.
There is a half hour intermission in the middle of the show.

Food: Outside food is not allowed. (We did bring in sippy cups for the boys without a problem.) Refreshments are available. For an idea of prices, popcorn was $6.50. We paid $21.50 for 2 large cups of pop and a bag of cotton candy. They offer a reusable metal water bottle for $7.00. There are water fountains near the refreshment counters.

You’ll pay: We received complimentary tickets and our seats were very good; had we paid for tickets we would not have been able to afford those seats, but the tent is not very large and from what we could tell there was not a bad seat in the house. A family of four can see the show for $150 with the family pack. Add parking and you’re up to about $165.

Our experience: 

We saw this show on a very hot Saturday afternoon. I was very pleased to find that the show tent was air conditioned. An usher helped us to our seats and offered us booster seats for the boys; we turned them down at first, but later in the show we tried them out and they were great. They definitely helped the boys see better.

Before the show, characters dressed like beekeepers lined up in front of the stage; they had elaborate costumes with full netted masks and accessories (insect books, insect nets, etc). I have to admit, they creeped me out a little. They eventually started mingling through the audience, pretending to catch bugs, or tapping audience members’ heads with toy bugs. Both of my sons were pretty mesmerized, although Dexter got pretty clingy and nervous when they came close to us. They were soon joined by crickets and other characters. The pre-show was pretty fascinating to watch and as long as they kept a little distance, the boys loved it.

As the show began, a cricket took his place just next to my chair, the lights went down, and dramatic music started. Dexter clung to me whining and I was afraid the show was going to be a disaster for him. However, the lights came up, everything was colorful and beautiful on stage, and the music perked up. Dexter loosened his grip and relaxed and from that point on both boys seemed to love the show.

We’ve seen a lot of shows with Dexter and generally it doesn’t work out too well. He gets bored quickly and ends up playing while we try to entertain him. I can’t say that he was enthralled the entire time, but this show kept his attention longer than probably any other show we’ve seen before. (The Children’s Theatre show, Dot & Ziggy kept him entertained for almost the entire show, but it was less than half as long.) Cooper loved the show and didn’t seem to get bored at all.

I love Cirque du Soleil. The costumes and sets are incredibly beautiful. The performances are incredible – the performers display unbelievable acrobatics, strength, balance, and agility and there are stunts you can’t even imagine. Our favorites of the show were the Wall, where 20 performers use a power track, trampolines, and a climbing wall to walk up walls and do things you’d only expect to see in The Matrix, and Creatura, which I can’t even describe. Cooper called Creatura “the slinky thing” and that’s about the best description I have for it. At times it was hard to believe there was one person in there, and at others it seemed like there must be four. Both boys were absolutely dumbfounded by it (as were John and I).


The only thing I didn’t like so much was that one of the characters in the show is sprayed with poison, but then enjoys it and starts huffing the poison. I thought that was a bid odd, particularly for a show that’s geared more toward children.

The whole show was absolutely incredible. We recently saw Cirque Shanghai Extreme, which we also enjoyed a lot; both shows are worth seeing, but if you have to choose only one make it OVO.

My tips:

  • If you’re getting a beverage, consider the reusable water bottle. It looks like a nice souvenir & it’s reasonably priced.
  • Be careful – the soap in the dispensers is hot from sitting in the sun all day
  • Request booster seats for your kids
  • Keep an eye on my blog. I just *may* have a couple tickets for you to win!

If you’ve never been to a Cirque du Soleil show, you really need to go. If you have been to one, you know what I mean. It’s pricey, but definitely worth the money. They put on an incredible show that’s difficult to put into words.

The aftermath: Cooper has been saying “Ovo” and “OOOOOvvoo” just like the characters in the show. He really enjoyed it. He does a pretty good impersonation, but I haven’t been able to capture it on video yet. Dexter, his sidekick, follows behind saying “Ovo” too.

We received four complementary tickets. All opinions expressed are my own.

A quick note about photos: whenever possible I use my own photos in posts, but because of the lighting and stunts in the show that wasn’t possible this time. The tent picture is my own and the rest were provided by Cirque du Soleil. 


  1. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH! We'd love to win some tix! *fingers crossed*

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