Friday, December 19, 2014

The Princesses Take a Stand


It's amazing how our views of fairy tales are dictated by the mouse over at Disney. A land where every woman waits to be 'saved' by the man on a horse. (I actually think that Frozen did so well because that was one story about sisters taking control and not waiting for the dude…but I digress.) Over on 46th and 9th Ave in New York City, princesses are taking back the power, sharing their TRUE stories and making audiences laugh out loud (yes, a real LOL) in the musical Disenchanted!

I first took notice of the show when I saw a snippet on TV about it, but this show has been playing regionally for a few years (including the Orlando International Fringe Festival not too far from those other princesses walking around at Disney), and has finally made its way to New York (with many of the original cast in tact).

What a fun show! A mix of a vaudeville and variety show all hosted by Snow White as she (along with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty) try and set the record straight about who they are and where they came from. (Check out original stories on the musical's website.) Along with Belle, Mulan, Rapunzel, Pocahontas, and several others - each woman gets a chance to shine in this one act musical evening. 

These women are fabulous! And I mean that in every sense of the world. From their acting,

their timing, the camaraderie on stage, and those voices…WOW! I was completely blown away by each of them. (With a shout out to Snow who can belt with the best of them and then turn into an operatic soprano…look out Kristin Chenoweth!) Michelle Knight reminded me of a spunky Leah Remini with the control of a CEO running the show. Becky Gulsvig rides the naive line well as Cinderella without ever going too far in either direction. Jen Bechter is a wonderful Sleeping Beauty that teaches not all princesses need to be cut from the same mold. Alison Burns gets to show great comic chops as several princesses (and gives us a little Lisa Marie Presley at times). I fell in love with Lulu Picart the moment she stepped out as Mulan and found my eyes going back to her all night. And when Soara-Joye Ross shows up as the princess that kissed the frog…she had our audience in the palm of her hands.

Fiely A. Matias and Matt West keep the evening moving along quickly with a wonderful team that has paid special attention to costumes and the look/feel of the show. But it is the songs that make this show. Dennis T. Giacino has written the book, music and lyrics and I want a cast album of this show NOW! This man knows how to write for theater. Each song constructed perfectly with ingenious lyrics, beautiful melodies and a heck of a lot of soul!

Give yourself the gift of a fun night out this holiday season! Get a group of friends and go see this show  (limited run). You will not be disappointed. 

April 2015 update: The show has been moved to the Westside Theatre on 43rd street with an open ended run (officially opening April 7th). I saw it again here and loved it just as much. Go to the website, get tickets and see these princesses! 

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