Upcoming Dance

The Lyric Opera continues its Broadway at Lyric series, with the fifth installment in the series - My Fair Lady which opened on Saturday to a full house. The musical is based on the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and inspired by the Greek myth of Pygmalion, a sculptor who falls in love with his creation. The play and the musical translate this myth into the story of Henry Higgins and his “project” Eliza Doolittle. Eliza is a Cockney flower girl who has a run in with Higgins, a professor of phonetics, and Colonel Pickering, a fellow linguist in front of the Royal Opera House where Higgins brags that in six months he could turn Eliza into a lady by teaching her to speak proper English. Eliza takes him up on that challenge, and urged on by Pickering, they begin their lessons. Over time, Eliza’s speech improves and with some elegant new clothes she almost passes her first test at the Ascot Racecourse, and reaches her prime as the Embassy Ball where she fascinates the crowd and is asked to dance by the Crown Prince. Throughout their time together, Eliza starts to have feelings for Henry, but even after her spectacular showing at the ball, he barely gives her the time of day, focusing instead on how great of a job he did. Only after Eliza leaves, does he start to realize he may have actually developed feelings for her as well, thus falling for his “creation”. 

 

As expected, the production is a massive one, worthy of the Lyric Opera, boasting a cast of 56 singers, dancers and actors. This allows for some excellent ensemble pieces which take over the stage with energy. Choreographer Lynne Page took on this large cast with enthusiasm, creating interesting, playful and engaging choreography which is the highlight of the show. One of the most impressive numbers is by far “Get Me to the Church on Time”. Donald Maxwell as Alfred P. Doolittle, Eliza’s father, was excellent creating a loud and boisterous, yet endearing, character that leads this scene which is executed with precision and gusto. 

 

The set design has its ups and downs. The Covent Garden tenement scenes are backed by a flat white on white backdrop and is only brought into a third dimension with the addition of some (also white) columns. While the large cast helps to liven up the Covent Garden setting during numbers like “With a Little Bit of Luck”, it leaves some colors and dimension to be desired. Higgins study on the other hand, while also based in shades of ivory, creates more on an interesting backdrop to indoor scenes, making use of the desk, chairs and various phonographs, as well as rows and rows of bookshelves and a second story to add dimension to the scenes set here. 

 

Lisa O’Hare as Eliza is excellent and brings the role to life with her powerful voice and commanding stage presence. Her transformation throughout the show is believable and she carries the audience into the unexpected challenges that she faced as a result of her makeover. Richard E. Grant plays Henry Higgins opposite Eliza. While he perfectly captures the immaturity and poor manners of the ridiculously intelligent character, the role is played too over the top, with exaggerated movements that seem to flail around the stage at times. Nicolas Le Prevost as Colonel Pickering provides some good counter balances to Higgins and Bryce Pinkham as Freddy, Eliza’s enamored suitor, really shines in “On the Street Where You Live”. 

 

Overall the production is strong, and has a huge presence, more due to its tremendous cast and elegant, colorful and sparkly costumes designed by Anthony Powell (which makes the scene at the Ball a joy to watch!) than the set or staging itself. With some exceptional performances bringing to life some very iconic songs, the good far outweighs the bad in this production of Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady, directed by Olivier Fredj. My Fair Lady is running at the Lyric Opera through May 21st. For tickets and more show information visit https://www.lyricopera.org/.  

 

Published in Theatre in Review

What makes theater so great is its ability to transport you to different worlds. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time opened on Wednesday night at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago and it successfully does just that, although where it transports you is not where you may have expected. Based on the bestselling novel written by Mark Haddon in 2013, this play is told from the perspective of Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy who is somewhere on the autistic spectrum and his teacher, the ever-compassionate Siobhan. Christopher lives with his father Ed, who has told him his mother died of a heart condition. One night, Christopher finds a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, dead having been stabbed with a garden fork and he quickly becomes a prime suspect. Adamant of his innocence, he plays detective to find the real murderer and unexpectedly ends up on an adventure full of surprises, shocks, and challenges. 

 

While his condition is never stated explicitly, it is implied that Christopher is somewhere on the autistic spectrum with savant qualities, especially in the areas of math and science. As the play unfolds the audience experiences the world through Christopher’s mind, realizing how his unique brain makes him an outsider in the world we so often take for granted. These differences are made, all the more evident through stunning visual effects, great use of sound and lighting and a creative approach to telling the story.

 

While the book is written solely in Christopher’s voice, the stage production plays with time and employs two points of view for narration, both Christopher’s and his teacher Siobhan. Christopher has been writing a story about his investigation into Wellington’s murder and that becomes a play within a play as we shift between Siobhan’s reading of the story during school time and Christopher telling it in real time. Christopher is played by Adam Langdon who provided a strong performance, although at times it felt a bit forced and ventured into overdone as he embodied a teen struggling with an exceptional brain and different take on the world. Siobhan, played by Maria Elena Ramirez, was excellent as was Gene Gillette as Ed (Christopher’s father). An ensemble cast rounds out the show playing a number of roles to bring the full story to life.

 

The staging of the show is quite unique, made up of a simple set with digital walls on the sides and back of the stage that boast different visual effects throughout the show, and a series of white rectangle blocks used as chairs, tables, benches, televisions and even a fish tank through creative lighting. Employing creative choreography by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett, the actors themselves create movements on stage that transport the audience through the various scenes from outer space to a crowded London Tube station. Coupled with the lighting, sounds and an ever-evolving play train set, the simple set design feels energetic and lively throughout the show.

 

Overall, this play moves along well throwing in some surprises along the way and with brilliant staging it constantly amazes the audience. While there were moments that felt over acted, on the whole it was a strong all-around performance. There is some strong language used and some more mature topics so keep in mind it may not be family friendly for younger children. It is a show that while it entertains, it will also challenge you to think about those among us who experience the world so differently due to their unique brains.  Get your tickets to experience the show for your self, running through December 24th at the Oriental Theater.  

 

 

Published in Theatre in Review

Opening in the town square of a small town in Spain, Don Quichotte by Jules Massenet tells the story of a somewhat delusional knight errant, his squire Sancho and their quest to retrieve the stolen necklace of Dulcinée in an effort to win her love and affection. Adventures with the bandit Tenebrun and his bandit gang ensue but Don Quichotte prevails and returns home with the necklace, only to be turned down by his love who wishes to remain unattached and independent. As the opera reaches its fifth act, Don Quichotte and Sancho return to the mountains where Don Quichotte embraces his imminent death much to the dismay of the ever-faithful Sancho. 

 

Before the start of each of the five acts, quotes from the novel are projected onto a screen covering the stage. As the music - conducted by Sir Andrew Davis – swells, creative lighting starts to bring to life the scene behind the screen. With an elaborate set designed by Ralph Funicello, we are transported from the town square to a mountain side adorned with windmills to the bandit’s lair. The creative use of projected animations, and well-constructed set pieces fill the stage with life and energy. 

 

In the main role, Ferruccio Furlanetto is a standout of the show. Capturing the eccentric character of Don Quichotte with his interestingly coifed hair and handle bar mustache, and his somewhat outdated armor all atop his trusty horse Rossinante, Furlanetto brings the role to life. For all the emotion and drama he brings to the show, his loyal squire Sancho, played by Nicola Alaimo in his Lyric Opera debut, brings the comic relief.  The pair together was a joy to watch and had great chemistry on stage throughout the performance to where the final scene will truly tug at your heartstrings. 

 

There is a large chorus for this show and amazingly the moments where only 2-3 actors shared the stage were just as powerful as when there were 20-30 people crowd the stage raising their voices together. The choreography and stage direction by August Tye was well done, with natural movement of large groups on stage that captured the feelings and emotions being portrayed in the scene whether it be the joyous celebration of the beauty Dulcinée, or Don Quichotte’s final prayer to the group of bandits. 

 

Overall, this was a great performance that tells a moving story. Although the show is 5 acts the story moves along quickly, and will keep you entertained. Sung in French, there are subtitles over the stage in English to follow along. While not over the top, the production is quite a spectacle and should be enjoyed by opera lovers and newbies alike.  Be sure to get your tickets soon as the production is only running at Lyric Opera of Chicago through December 7th. 

 

Published in Theatre in Review

The Fairy Queen is a baroque opera written by Henry Purcell in 1692 as an adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream.  On November 5th, in the newly restored Studebaker Theater, the Chicago Opera Theater produced their reimagined version of the opera in collaboration with Culture Clash. The show is set in present day Las Vegas at a nightclub known as Club FQ or Club Fairy Queen, giving a modern perspective on a very traditional and old fashioned show.

 

Three couples, in various phases of their relationships, arrive at the club ready to enjoy their weekend in Vegas; Tanya and Rob to celebrate a birthday, Lysander and Herman to celebrate a marriage and Demetrius and Helena to try and rekindle their romance. After Tanya and Ron get in a big argument over Ron’s wandering eyes (and more) their first night in the club, Puck, the club owner, steps in with a special love potion that is sure to solve all of their problems. Of course, nothing from here out goes as planned and chaos ensues.

 

Now imagine that story set to baroque music by the Haymarket Opera Company - complete with a harpsichord and other period instruments - under the direction of Jory Vinikour. This should be an interesting way to make opera more accessible to a new audience but this strong juxtaposition, combined with overly sexualized characters who are such strong stereotypes it at times feels insulting and pacing that was awkwardly slow, it overall falls short of a production that will do much to attract any new audiences.

 

The show, like its muse, is a comedy and while there are some comedic moments that hit the right moment and tone, garnering laughs from the theater, there are many more that felt dragged out or had poor timing. The show has a run time of over 2 hours with a 20 minute intermission but the pacing of the performance makes that feel much longer. In a possible tribute to the masque style of the original opera, there tends to be significant time where characters who are not speaking are standing still on the stage, as if waiting for their next move, but that ended up detracting from the momentum of the performance.

 

The lyrics are captioned for the audience which is helpful, but they are still quite confusing. If you are familiar with the story of Midsummer Night's Dream, it will be easy to follow along despite that. The stage and lighting design were fitting to set the scene of this Vegas club and the costumes completed that package visually. The cast overall was eclectic and it was refreshing to see good diversity on stage. Tanya, played by Kim Jones, was a saving grace of the show. Her singing was beautiful and definitely made her a stand out member of the cast.  As the cast performed without microphones, there were times when it was difficult to hear the dialog but most of them had excellent projection when it was time to sing.

 

On the whole, this reimagined telling of The Fairy Queen missed the mark. It often felt like it was trying too hard to be hip and relevant which took away from the performance. There was great intent in this creative approach to an adaptation and with some softening of the delivery, and improvements on the pacing it could become a unique and interesting opera. There will be two more performances of the show coming up in the next week so get your tickets here to see for yourself - https://www.chicagooperatheater.org/the-season/fairy-queen. 

 

Published in Theatre in Review

Everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet, a timeless tale of lovers kept apart by family and society, but the power of love allows them to fight through only to meet a tragic demise. The story has been told over and over again in stories, books, movies, plays and even real life. The Joffrey Ballet kicks off its 2016-2017 season with Krzysztof Pastor’s Romeo and Juliet and proves that the story can transcend time and stands tall even without the beautiful poetry of William Shakespeare. 

 

In this creative, three act re-imagining of the classic Romeo and Juliet, the audience travels through time as they are pulled into the gripping story of the love and loss. Starting in Italy in the 1930’s, during the rise of Mussolini and Fascism, the militaristic, strict Capulet family and the more free and relaxed Montague family encounter one another and Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time. The second act moves to the 1950’s with the rise of political terrorism and the Red Brigade, which compliments the increasing challenges that keep the true lovers apart. In the final act it is 1990 and as Berlusconi’s leadership drives increasing social divide in the country, Romeo and Juliet meet their tragic end.

 

The show is a multi-media story ballet and the video imagery projected on the backdrop compliments the story. The rest of the set is simple, consisting of some lightly reflective panels that add a lovely effect to indoor scenes, and a few dark pillars and benches.  It allows most of your focus to be on the dancers themselves as the story unfolds. The costumes are non-traditional with no tutu’s in sight, opting instead towards more street fashion. As we progress through the three acts, the costumes evolve moving through time. One of the most creative aspects of the costuming is how the colors change across the acts, starting in a simple black and white, next to sepia tones and finally more full color, and through it all Romeo and Juliet are clad in a pale blue reflective of their innocence and lightness.

 

The choreography by Krzysztof Pastor is phenomenal and breathtaking. There are so many variety of styles from the rigid and powerful movements of the Capulet family, to the fun and lighthearted flow of the Montagues and of course the beautiful range of emotions that Romeo and Juliet portray, played by Rory Hohenstein and Christine Rocas. Just as Shakespeare has been praised for his ability to switch between comedy and tragedy so effortlessly, the choreography does the same with some lighthearted moments that broke the tension, even bringing about a laugh from the audience. Mercutio, played by Yoshihisa Arai, was the best representation of this comedy through dance. He brought boundless energy to the stage in an exceptional performance that made the audience all but fall in love with Mercutio.

 

Overall, the performances by the entire company were fantastic. Dancers moved effortlessly and in beautiful harmony with one another and with the score by Sergei Prokofiev. It was a nice break from the more traditional style of ballet yet still showcased the natural grace and amazing talent of the entire cast. 

 

If you are a fan of the ballet, or have never seen a story ballet before, this is certainly a performance to see. The modern qualities of this show make it more accessible to those unfamiliar with ballet, and no one can argue the multitude of emotions that this performance evokes. It never ceases to amaze just how powerful the art of movement can be, and in this re-telling of the age old story of Romeo and Juliet that power is clearly evident. The show is playing at the stunning Auditorium Theater through October 23rd. Be sure to get your tickets and experience the magic of the Joffrey Ballet.

 

Published in Upcoming Dance

Inspired by the Newsboy Strike of 1899, “Newsies” uses the power of dance and song to tell the story of a group of teenagers and children who stand up to the powerful men running the newspapers of New York City, defending the rights of children workers everywhere. Jack Kelly is the leader of the “Newsies” gang, but dreams of a life out west far away from the mean streets of New York where he can focus on his true passion, art. When Pulitzer raises the price of newspapers, Jack rallies the rest of the “Newsies” across the city and fights back. With the help of an up and coming reporter, with an interesting heritage, the “Newsies” become front page news and fight for justice growing new friendships, strengthening old ones and also sparking a romance along the way.

 

From the opening number, through to the end of the show, “Newsies” is non-stop dancing and singing sensation. With a large ensemble cast and powerful choreography by Christopher Gattelli it creates a high energy atmosphere that sticks with you long after the curtain falls and the show is over. The dancing is continually moving across, up and over the entire stage, with dancers jumping, turning, flipping and of course tapping. Music, by Alan Menken, and lyrics, by Jack Feldman, capture the emotions and tensions of the “Newsies” echoing to the last row of the balcony, giving the audience chills. To top it all off, the set design, by Tobin Ost, is simple, but creatively flexible. Comprised of a few metal structures that stand 3 stories tall and can be moved and rotated, it created scenes that filled the stage and took the choreography to a whole new level. 

 

While this show is predominantly an ensemble show, there were some strong main character performances starting with Joey Barreiro as Jack Kelly. He captured the smooth charm of the character and followed it up with a strong singing voice and amazing dancing. Stephen Michael Langton as Davey is the perfect complement to Jack. And because no show is complete without a good love story, Morgan Keene as Katherine has great chemistry with Jack and brings some great girl power to a cast that is predominantly male. Steve Blanchard, as Joseph Pulitzer, plays a great bad guy, one you love to hate.

 

Overall, “Newsies” delivers a thrilling and adrenaline charged performance from the opening minute to the closing note. It never relies on sparkling costumes, fancy lighting but lets the singing and dancing speak for itself. And speak it does! The audience will fall in love with the characters, be wowed by the dramatic flips and perfectly precise choreography, and share in the emotional battle of the “Newsies”.

 

“Newsies” is playing at the Cadillac Palace Theater in Chicago, but be sure to get your tickets soon because it is only here for a limited time!

 

Published in Theatre Reviews

Pinterest fails are an internet sensation, with recognizable side by side pictures illustrating the difference between expectations and reality for the everyday crafter, baker, photographer, etc. It seems that no matter how many of these memes we see, it is still commonplace to set high expectations which risk being let down.

 

“WOZ: A Rock Cabaret” was unfortunately a case of missed expectations. The concept is a cabaret show which tells the familiar story of The Wizard of Oz through the iconic music of the 80’s and 90’s, including hits from Whitesnake, Blondie, Foreigner, Queen and Michael Jackson. Sounds awesome, right!? While the show had its moments and some strong singers, the reality was a production that felt flat, with big moments that lost their steam and performances that lacked the luster and pizzazz expected from a cabaret.

 

One of the main issues with the show was the venue. Performed on stage at Victory Gardens Theater, this cabaret style show felt out of place. The performers attempted to interact with the audience but it required them to come down off the stage where they easily got lost in this stadium style seating. Had this been set in a truer cabaret setting, where the audience could sit at tables enjoying their cocktails, it could have allowed the performance to work the space both on the stage and on the floor and perhaps made the show more engaging.

 

The creativity behind the song selection was awesome and very often the start of a new song brought smiles, laughs and a palpable energy to the audience. As the performers sang the full songs however, it often felt like things started to drag and there was not enough happening to hold attention through to the end of the song.

 

The performers themselves were mostly strong overall. The standouts of the show were the journeying buddies of the Scarecrow (Kevin Webb), the Tinman (James Nedrud) and the Cowardly Lion (Edward Fraim). All three brought different unique but powerful voices to their songs and added some great humor to the show. Heather Currie was a powerhouse and had an odd but quite funny style in how she played the Wicked Witch. The performances of Clara D’Onofrio and Kimberly Lawson, as Glinda and Dorothy respectively, left something to be desired. Both have strong voices but tend more toward the musical theater style which did not always vibe with the other performers. Andre De Shields was the special guest star of the show, bringing star power to the role of the Wizard and he certainly stole the show with his numbers.

 

While there are some high moments and tons of creativity that clearly went into this show, the performance lacks the excitement that could have turned this somewhat lackluster show into an all-out engaging and exciting cabaret performance.

 

With only 5 performances, the run of this show is already nearing completion but this was its second run in Chicago, so if you really wish you could have seen it, try clicking your heels three times and say to yourself “there’s no place like WOZ” – maybe it will be back someday, bigger and better.

 

Published in Theatre Reviews

In the early 90’s, the now defunct supermarket tabloid Weekly World News, published a story about a creature - half boy half bat - found in a West Virginia cave. That story became the inspiration for Bat Boy: The Musical written by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe.  The first production opened in 1997 and the show made its off-Broadway premier in 2001 quickly becoming a cult hit.

 

The show opens as a few residents of Hope Falls happen upon the Bat Boy while spelunking. Surprised by the visitors to his cave, Bat Boy attacks Ruthie and is then captured by her brothers Ron and Rick. They turn him over to the local sheriff, who drops him off at the home of the town veterinarian, Dr. Parker, hoping he will be able to put him down humanely. The vet’s wife and teenage daughter Shelley have different plans however, somewhat to the chagrin of Dr. Parker. They feed him, get to know him and eventually come to care for him, teaching him and helping him grow into a “normal” member of society. The folks of Hope Falls however, are scared of Bat Boy but Mrs. Parker and Shelley work hard to win them over, until things start to fall apart and truths start to be revealed that shed a whole new light on Bat Boy and his family.

 

Falling into the genre of horror/comedy musical, this show is unique from the start. It touches on some heavier themes such as racism, bias, revenge, understanding and forgiveness but with well-timed comedic moments and campy songs it keeps things from getting too dark. The story continues to throw curveballs right up until the end, keeping the audience entertained, surprised and even touched. It challenges the audience to think about their own biases while making light of some very heavy topics with some hilarious moments that have everyone laughing out loud.

 

The performance was polished and well put together under the direction of Scott Weinstein. The cast of 10 actors, representing twenty-two different roles, were spectacular. They shifted from character to character perfectly, often portraying female characters in drag which felt like a perfect fit for this show.  Everyone played a huge role in the show and brought both strong acting, good timing and strong vocal performances together to create an overall excellent show.

 

Staged in The Den Theatre, it made the most of an intimate space. The set was well designed by Jeff Kmiec and Greg Pinsoneault and the set transitions appeared seamless. With some of the seating practically on stage, and set pieces allowing for lots of movement and levels on the stage it created a very unique experience. In some scenes, the entire audience seemed to become part of the show, as the actors broke the 4th wall and interacted directly with them.

 

Bat Boy: The Musical is certainly a one of a kind musical. It may not be for everyone’s taste as it does include some rude humor and pretty twisted storylines but it is a hilarious and excellently executed show so if you are looking for something a bit unique to break up the monotony of cookie cutter musicals, this is it! Get your tickets and check it out before the run ends on July 24th!

 

Published in Theatre Reviews

Some things were just meant to go together, even if they do sound a little odd at first. Like peanut butter and bananas, apple pie and cheddar cheese, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennet; The Art of Falling is amazing collaboration between Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Second City. The unexpected pairing of the extremely original and unique contemporary dance company, and a Chicago improve comedy standard, both staples of Chicago entertainment in their own right, was a match made in theater heaven!

 

Hubbard Street Dance has done many interesting collaborations in the past, pushing the envelope of what a dance performance is and exposing new audiences to dance in creative ways. In 2014, Hubbard Street and Second City first got together and put together the energetic, unexpected and endlessly engaging performance entitled The Art of Falling. Now back at the Harris Theater by popular demand, the show is once again bringing laughter, joy and maybe even some tears to Chicago audiences. 

 

This distinctive show incorporates so much more than simply dance and comedy. They leverage video - both pre-recorded and live footage, audience interaction, endless props and fantastic music – again both live and recorded. The sheer creativity of this production is mind-blowing. There are 20 pieces that make up this show, each different from the one before but just like a great comedy show, it circles around a primary story line and a few smaller secondary ones, making the whole show flow together seamlessly and move along effortlessly. 

 

The primary story line is a love story of course, but it challenges the traditional silver screen romance as it is rooted in real life where relationships are bumpy and have awkward edges that need smoothing and love - or rather admitting you are in love - is scary. It challenges the audience to take that leap of faith and conquer the fear of falling. After all, what is the worst that can happen?

 

All of the performers, under the direction of Billy Bungeroth, were pure perfection and there certainly were a lot of them! This collaboration was made up of five choreographers, three writers, six actors and two dozen dancers. At times, it was difficult to tell the comedians from the dancers as each tried on the others role with dancers delivering well timed punch lines and comedians flexing their dancing muscles. The writing was witty and fun, and the choreography was exceptional, highlighting the extreme talents of the dance company as well as their humorous side. In a piece completely improved by both the comedians and the dancers, it draws some unexpected similarities between the art of improv comedy and improv dance. 

 

Part of the appeal of this performance is that it continually surprises the audience with more and more creative, imaginative and inventive pieces. After the first act when you think they cannot top themselves, they prove you wrong with a second act that just keeps on impressing. All of that said, I leave this review here so as to not ruin the magic for you. You have to see this show for yourself. As it wows the audience with its cleverness, it also touches the heart and inspires the audience to take just let go, and not be afraid of falling.

 

Be sure to get your tickets now and catch The Art of Falling at the Harris Theater through June 19th!

 

Published in Theatre Reviews

The Princess Complex: Little girls grow up with fairy tales about princesses who are rescued from some terrible fate by a dashing prince, fall in love, get married and live happily ever after. These little girls may dress up as princesses, replay their favorite scene and dream of the day their prince will come. This all leads to the Princess Complex, a cultural enforced delusion of reality but in Disenchanted, the well-known Disney princesses that created these false expectations of life and love tell it like it really is, shattering the happily ever after ideal once and for all.

 

Disenchanted is a cabaret style variety show featuring familiar characters such as Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, who team up to MC the show, shedding light on the reality of princess-hood. Along with their friends, Belle, Mulan, The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Rapunzel, and others they challenge the many biases seen in traditional Disney princesses – they are mostly white, often culturally inappropriate, dependent on a man to save them and usually quite well endowed! The style of the show allows for direct engagement with the audience and even a little audience participation in the song calling out the extreme amount of commercialism associated with these beloved Disney fairy tales.

 

The cast was fantastic overall, bringing some unexpected versions of these household princesses to life with amazing voices and perfect comic timing. Merritt Crews plays the role of Snow White, the primary MC for the evenings shows. She flows between the high sing-songy voice expected of snow white and a gritty and powerful voice that belts some hysterical lyrics. Madison Hayes-Crook plays Cinderella who is a perfect mix of ditsy blond and exceptionally socially aware woman. Miriam Drysdale and Ann Paula Bautista take on three roles each covering The Little Mermaid, Belle, Rapunzel (Drysdale) and Mulan, Pocahontas, and Baldroulbadour (Bautista). They effortlessly move from character to character and back again. Uche Ama, as the princess who kissed the frog, and Danielle Richards, as Sleeping Beauty round out this phenomenal cast.

 

The costumes were creative and unique, capturing the spirit of the princesses everyone knows and loves but with a spunky and sassy twist. Designed by Vanessa Leuck and covered in sparkles, the costumes really added pizazz to the intimate show.  The Broadway Playhouse is a smaller theater allowing the audience to feel close to the performance and the simple yet elegant set design, by Gentry Akens, further enhances the cozy atmosphere. 

 

With song after song, joke after joke, Disenchanted will keep you laughing for the full hour and a half production. Book, music and lyrics by Dennis T Giancino, address every questionable aspect of the cherished Disney princesses including the fact that the real Pocahontas was actually a 10 year old girl who would not even dream of kissing John Smith unlike the mini skirt clad 20 year old pin up vixen the movie version, and questioning the mental state of a French book worm with an oddly American accent who thinks it is normal to talk to appliances. 

 

This show will forever transform the way you watch Disney movies and will remind you that life is not about perfect waistlines, dashing princes and happily ever after. It is packed full with so many subtle details that you will find yourself laughing for days after the show.

 

Disenchanted is playing at the Broadway Playhouse through June 5th. Get your tickets now for this unique and creative show.

 

Published in Theatre Reviews
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