“Disenchanted”, a musical comedy created by Dennis T. Giacino and Fiely Matias that gives a mature view of the fairy tale princess over a decade ago, has had a popular run internationally and audiences at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach learned why within the first minute of the show. The show opened on May 12 and runs until Memorial Day weekend on May 27.
Beginning with the opening song “One More Happy Ever After”, the seven actresses playing all the fairy tale princesses (Aaron Bower as Sleeping Beauty, Shelley Keelor as Snow White, Ashley Rubin as Cinderella, Leah Sessa as both Belle and Little Mermaid, Kat Gold as both Hua Mulan and Rapunzel, Jinon Deeb as both Pocahontas and Badroulbadour and Vallery Valentine as the Princess Who Kissed The Frog went one by one to sing about how their lives with the fabled princes was not the way their friend Walt (Disney) thought their lives would be.
Actresses Leah Sessa, Jinon Deeb, Kat Gold, Vallery Valentine, Aaron Bower, Shelley Keelor and Ashley Rubin star in “Disenchanted.” (Photo by: Amy Pasquantonio)
One by one, the audience learns more about the less than ideal lives of the fairy princesses. In the song “Insane”, Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” goes insane with the chatter of household items and picking up poop from her less than gallant husband.
In “Two Legs”, Little Mermaid becomes an alcoholic in regretting her decision to turn her tail in for two legs for a prince who is less than princely. Hua Mulan sings about the false perception of Asian girls needing a guy and being proud of being a lesbian in “Without the Guy”. Cinderella is tired of life in the Kingdom, becoming ditzy and hates her glass slippers as indicated in the song “A Happy Tune”, sung by Show White. Sleeping Beauty seems to be continuously drowsy, almost comatose, but wakes up and seeks her independence in “Perfect”. The Princess Who Kissed The Frog is gallant and proud to be the first Black fairy tale princess in the song “Finally”. Pocahontas wants her historic story to be told accurately in “Honestly” and Princess Badroulbadour laments of wanting a better life in “Secondary Princess.”
Each of the 15 songs performed show how the fairy princesses changed and sought to be more assertive, independent and strong. Snow White is the ringleader of the princesses attempting to bond the princesses together in her humorous comments on what the fairy tales turned out to be. The humor comes from the delivery of the songs by the talented cast as well as the funny costumes designed by Penny Williams. The funniest songs in the two act musical were the ensemble numbers “Big Tits”, “All I Wanna Do Is Eat” and “Not Vone Red Cent” that all were about the princesses lamenting how they were perceived in their Kingdoms (or prisons) as sex objects. “Not Vone Red Cent” was especially funny, given that the audience participated in the song about how the princesses were cheated out of royalties for their products.
Actress Vallery Valentine sings “Finally” in “Disenchanted.” (Photo by: Amy Pasquantonio)
Director Jonathan Van Dyke, who worked with the majority of the seven actresses before in the musicals “Grease” and “Guys And Dolls” at Lauderhill Performing Arts Center, had the actresses shine in both their individual songs and ensemble production numbers, such as “All I Wanna Do Is Eat” and kept the fast pace of the show moving with plenty of gags in the songs.
Each of the actresses shined in both the individual and ensemble songs. Aaron Bower, who has worked non-stop since late November in four shows (“Anything Goes”, “Cinderella”, “Damn Yankees” all at the Wick Theater in Boca Raton before “Disenchanted” ) showed her funny side as “Sleeping Beauty”. Her comic timing in “Disenchanted” is in strong contrast to her other roles as usually the romantic lead in a musical. Ashley Rubin continued her funny roles that she has portrayed in becoming the ditzy Cinderella. She is most well-known for her humorous take as “Frenchie” in “Grease” at the Lauderhill Performing Arts Center earlier this season as well as many comic roles she performed in musicals at the now defunct Stage Door Theater.
Like Ashley Rubin, Leah Sessa has earned stellar reviews in comic roles over her career, such as Miss Adelaide in “Guys And Dolls” and Emma in “Anything Goes”. A natural redhead, Sessa’s comic timing and facial expressions added to the laughter in her songs “Insane” and “Two Legs”. Jinon Deeb offered the most dramatic moment in the musical with her emotional delivery in “Honesty” that made her performance distinct from the other actresses, Kat Gold’s perfect look as both Rapunzel and Hua Mulan combined with her comic timing make her shine especially in the songs “Not Vone Red Cent” and “Without the Guy”.
Actress Kat Gold sings “Without the Guy” in “Disenchanted.” (Photo by: Amy Pasquantonio)