It’s all about the image. Disney movies and fairy tales are sending young women the wrong message and they are suffering from The Princess Complex. In fact, they are feeling Disenchanted.
Led by a militant Snow White (Michelle Knight), simple Cinderella (Becky Gulsvig) and ditzy Sleeping Beauty, the princesses tell their stories of what happens after… “happily ever after.” In song, they confide how they are starving in order to keep their figures trim, over-developed because they are drawn by men, and always waiting for princes to rescue them.
In the fluffy Off-Broadway musical, six talented women play the various Disney princesses. Without using the copyrighted material, the show uses lines and references to the movies. It’s bad enough that Disney creates unrealistic expectations for girls; he doesn’t even share the royalties. The book, music and lyrics by Dennis T. Giacino are current and often clever (“whistling, Bisseling, bristling”)
The tone is light and the songs and some costumes are silly. Ariel, The Little Mermaid, complains about the problems of having two legs (you need to shave twice a week)
. However, the message is clear and best expressed when Sleeping Beauty (Jen Bechter) who, though she’s not a stereotypical beauty, sings that she’s “Perfect.”
Mulan (the delightful Lulu Picart) notes that she might be a lesbian since she’s the only Disney heroine who doesn’t get the prince. Soara-Joye Ross, the Princess Who Kissed the Frog, joyously sings that she’s the first Black princess. Allison Burns ( Belle/The Little Mermaid /Rapunzel ) works the hardest and gets to do the most ‘schtick.’
The cast is energetic and talented. Although the show’s more enjoyable if you get all the references, it’s not imperative to have seen all the Disney movies. Disenchanted is light-hearted and pleasant. A lesson for young girls and much cheaper than “Wicked” and “Into The Woods.”