Thanks in large part to the story tellers at the Walt Disney Company, we’ve all grown up with certain versions of princess fairy-tales in our heads. Let’s just say that Disney has a loose relationship with the original stories. But what if those princesses had the opportunity to tell their own stories? How would they be different? A hit musical “Disenchanted” now playing in Orlando at the Plaza Live sets the record straight and delivers a ton of laughs while doing so.
Disenchanted played to sold out shows in its recent off-Broadway production, but its roots are in Orlando. The musical was first produced for the Orlando Fringe festival in 2011. Many of the original performers had previously worked as theme park performers, so they had extra insight to help develop the show.
Told in the style of a musical revue, Disenchanted features six talented performers, most of whom take on multiple roles throughout the show. The music and lyrics fall somewhere in between Forbidden Broadway and Into The Woods and isn’t afraid to take frequent pot-shot at their corresponding Disney princess characters.
The musical kicks off with Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty bemoaning their unrealistic stories. Then they take on the Princess Complex with equal fervor reserved for animators who give them unrealistic portions.
Some of the standout performances include Ann Paula Bautista as Mulan, Pocahontas. Mulan takes on Asian stereotypes while also delivering the shows big hit of the first act. Her Pocahontas solo is one of the shows real touching moments. Pocahontas has a long list of legitimate complaints, chief among them, why did they change her story so much?
Ariel (played by the very expressive Madison Tinder (note, we incorrectly listed Miriam Drysdale earlier)) gets a dive bar torch song treatment with a dose of trailer trash. Drysdale also does a stint as a domineering Rapunzel who mourns the loss of her German roots in the modern fairy-tales.
Due to some raunchy material, I would recommend leaving young kids at home. An old 14-year-old or a young 16-year-old would probably get most of the jokes. I think the message of female empowerment, overcoming the male gaze, and the show-stopping performances are definitely worth making room on your fairy-tale calendar for Disenchanted.
The show plays at the Plaza Live now through April 20th and ticket range from $37 (for balcony seating, I don’t recommend) to $87 for great seats in the orchestra level.
(photo courtesy of Chris Bond for Disenchanted)