Even as a very small child — admittedly a mean, snarky child — I was skeptical about fairy tales and their promises of Happily Ever After. Was Dennis T. Giacino, who wrote the book, music and lyrics forDisenchanted, watching over me? Of course not! But he could’ve been since this insanely talented guy has made my childhood dreams comes true! Disenchanted opens with Snow White (Michelle Knight), Cinderella (Becky Gulsvig) and Sleeping Beauty (Jen Bechter) on stage to sing about the downside of the Happy Ending and the perils of the ‘Princess Complex.’
… a major job …
In this free-wheeling vaudeville about the downside of princess fame, they’re soon joined by Beauty and the Beasts’ Belle (Alison Burns), who’s on a throne and strapped into a straight jacket. She sings about being driven “Insane” by all the talking furniture in her house and “Here’s the dirt. Here’s the scoop. I get to pick up my boyfriend’s poop!” Later, Ms. Burns returns as The Little Mermaid to tell us in song that “Two Legs” are too many. (I always knew she’d regret that choice!) Later still, she comes on as a hairy-scary Germanic Rapunzel to complain that all the Disney merchandizing hasn’t earned her or the other gals “Not V’one Red Cent.” Ms. Burns is so hilariously convincing in her psychotic turns that, if it were not for her very professional resume, I would’ve arranged for an ambulance to take her to Bellevue after the show. Hua Milan, Pocahontas and Princess Badroulbadour (a.k.a. Princess Jasmine in Aladdin) are brought brimming to life by Lulu Picart. (And may I go on record to say she has the best actress name EVER?) In a frothy show, Ms. Picart is tasked with delivering some social consciousness. As she reveals that Mulan may well be gay, Pocahontas’ true story was wretchedly twisted and Princess Jasmine was made into “a poster child for Middle Eastern misogyny.” But Ms. Picart has the rare gift of going from poignancy to belly laughs in an instant. See, she does this thing with chopsticks that … no, I’m not going to give it away. Soara-Joye Ross makes a late entrance as The Princess Who Kissed a Frog to belt out the joys of “Finally” being a Black Princess. And the divinely daffy Becky Gulsvig’s Cinderella leads the ladies in a hilariously hungry hymn, “All I Wanna to Do Is Eat.” Jen Bechter’s buxom Sleeping Beauty (who slept through her first two cues) leads her girls up to the finale by singing that she’s “Perfect.” But it’s Michelle Knight’s Snow White who anchored the whole show. Her black-haired, white-skinned, rose-lipped beauty is just the icing on the cake of her bad-a*s self! Kudos to director Fiely A. Matias and all the production people involved. They did in a minor space. But, lastly, most importantly, it’s those ladies — their voices, singly and collectively. Each and every one of them could sing opera or hard rock effortlessly. We are talking MAJOR PIPES. Heck, who needs a prince when you’ve got princesses like that?