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Disenchanted – Playful Princess Paradox

Disenchanted – Playful Princess Paradox
Disenchanted

Cast of Disenchanted

Take a handful of popular fictional Disney princesses and add a healthy dose of realistic disillusionment and you are at the heart of Disenchanted, a bitingly sardonic yet giggle inducing new musical. Strictly for grown-up’s, this Snow White drops a few F-bombs, Cinderella has an eating disorder and Mulan embraces her Sapphic side in this sophomoric yet titillating tale of their lives after “happily ever after.” Bored with preening princes, befuddled by their own impossible body shapes (clearly drawn by men) and tongues firmly planted in their collective cheeks, director Christopher Bond and book, music and lyrics writer Dennis T. Giacino, placed classic Disney fairytale heroines sharply in their creative crosshairs.  These remarkable “royal renegades” take center stage in a revue more suitable for HBO After Dark then the Disney channel.  This tawdry, 95 minute, adult parody revisits the enchanted Disney Princesses with a brazen suffragette twist.

Merritt Crews

Merritt Crews

The show centers around the classic tiara wearing trio, Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, as they mount a Vegas style showcase. Singing about the improbability of romance and impending marriage to a suitor they just met, these ladies fantasize about what it would be like to “channel Thelma and Louise” in the rambunctious opening number “One More Happ’ly Ever After.” Snow White (Merritt Crews) plays mistress of ceremonies, with a vapid Cinderella (Madison Hayes-Crook)and narcoleptic Sleeping Beauty (Daniella Richards) providing musical and comedic back up.  These would-be brides play it much more like the caustic tone of the movie comedy, Bridesmaids. Don’t believe me? Just look at bondage loving Belle, alcoholic Ariel or German dominatrix Rapunzel (all played to comic delight by Miriam Drysdale). Her “Two Legs Too Many” has this little mermaid wishing she was back swimming with the fishes and not a part of this world. She is a stumbling, slurring amalgamation of “Real Housewives of Atlantis” and Anna Nicole Smith.  Her rant on nibbling Flounder and his family is as crass as it was hysterical.

Madison Hayes-Crook, Merritt Crews, Daniella Richards

Madison Hayes-Crook, Merritt Crews, Daniella Richards

The remaining ancillary princesses each get their moment to shine. Ann Paula Bautista was busy juggling three roles;  Mulan, “I may be a lesbian” as she “cut my bangs like k.d. lang,”  Pocahontas “Honestly” lamenting why Disney altered her story, tweaking the origin tale of a ten year old indigenous girl by dressing her like a porn starlet with shampoo commercial quality hair tossed carelessly in all the colors of the wind, and lastly Princess Baldroulbadour. Not familiar with her?  Disney rechristened her Princess Jasmine, dressed her in a turquoise tube top and teamed her up with street urchin thief named Aladdin. Her “carpet ride” scene alone set to the tune “Secondary Princess”  is well worth the price of admission. Lastly, we are granted an audience with “The Princess Who Kissed The Frog “(Uche Ama) a platform boot wearing, African-American Donna Summer-esque disco diva who “Finally” brings some flavor to the all white wonderful world of the Disney Royal Family. “OMFG” Cinderella decries. As in….”Oh My Fairy Godmother” as the other princesses gasp on cue. Richard’s Sleeping Beauty gets her own 11th hour solo in “Perfect,” however she garners much more bawdy laughter with a remarkably off-color joke, concerning Pinocchio’s ever growing….nose.  The remainder of the soundtrack included “Big Tits,” “Not V’One Red Cent,” “All I Wanna Do Is Eat” and “Once Upon A Time” will likely not join the echelon of Oscar Award-winning Disney scores, but they do bring disposable giggles and “clutch the pearls” chortles from the audience. In lieu of the kiddos, bring your best girlfriends and assorted real life Queens to enjoy the naughty cabaret styling’s of this particular princess posse.

Ann Paula Bautista

Ann Paula Bautista

Disenchanted is a satirical musical revue that skewers the Disney princess franchise like a summertime backyard barbeque. Vanessa Leuck’s fairy tale costume design delighted the eyes. Stacey Maroske’s frenetic choreography is really better than it needed to be for this particular staging and Gentry Akens’ set design does a lot with red velvet curtains.  Even Michelle Ramsay’s  lighting design impressed. Grab the (adult) girls and head out for the affable and giggled filled romp that is Disenchanted. Light, silly, but with an underlying and undeniable sliver of truth, Disenchanted delighted like a glass of champagne at a wedding reception. Delicious while you sip, but not really filling. It bares repeating, you would be smart to leave the kids at home. These dirty minded, tiara sporting tarts are not the girls of their favorite dvd’s and storybooks. Stop by the preshow bar, and enjoy yourself while you are there.

Disenchanted is now playing through June 5, 2016 at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place

Out of Town

Stephen S. Best is currently a freelance writer for the Times Square Chronicles, covering the performing arts scene in the greater Chicagoland area. He has been a theater aficionado for years, attending his first live production, Annie, at the tender age of six. After graduating from Purdue University, Stephen honed his skills attending live theater, concerts and art installations in New York and Chicago. Stephen's keen eye and thorough appreciation for both theater patrons' time and entertainment dollar makes him a valuable asset and his recommendations key. Stephen currently lives in downtown Chicago.

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