(Un)happily ever after: Rarely Done’s “Disenchanted” opens at Jazz Central

“Disenchanted: Bitches of the Kingdom”

Directed by Dan Tursi

Presented by Rarely Done Productions, Inc

Location Jazz Central, 414 E, Washington St., Syracuse

Running time 90 minutes; no intermission

Dates September 9-24

Tickets $20

“Happily ever after can be a royal pain in the ass!”

That’s the anthem of thirteen Disney princesses in the newest musical mounted by Rarely Done Productions, Disenchanted: Bitches of the Kingdom, which opened Friday at Jazz Central.

Forget everything you know about Cinderella, Snow White and The Little Mermaid. The characters portrayed here are mere shadows of the classics, recognizable only by signature costume elements and hairdos.

Replacing sugary duets with forest animals and animated teapots are songs such as “Big Tits,” “Insane!” and “All I Want To Do Is Eat,” exposing the juicy details of each princess’s life post-happily ever after.

Since winning the New Jersey Playwrights Contest in December 2010, Disenchanted has been on the fast track to regional success. This is the first New York production, and it’s no surprise the first weekend sold out – Congrats, RD! – because everyone loves a new twist on a tale as old as time.

In case it wasn’t obvious yet, this isn’t one for the kids – but it just might be for the kids who grew up watching the films on VHS.

What’s magical about the show: 

Disenchanted is a brave choice for a community theater company, specifically when it comes to casting amateur actors in vocally demanding, pop culture roles. Kudos to RD for leading the charge. (Community theaters are going to start clamoring for this license!)

Princess Rupunzel (Sunny Hernandez), the princess Disney almost forgot, brings a near-perfect German accent, flawless character acting and powerful belt to the show. Also worth mentioning is the conflicted character Mulan (Jodie Baum) who has a snappy stage presence and pleasing voice.

The accompanist (who was not named in the playbill) has the most vital role. He is the sole musician, playing for nearly 90 minutes straight, and remains onstage for the entire show. Bravo, good sir!

What needs a little bit of pixie dust:

The vocals. The show is largely carried by song, and each princess has her own solo, but many of the princesses battled shaky riffs and flat endings. Some of these were clearly intentional and downright funny; others felt uncomfortable.

The “stop and stare” used to get a laugh during an awkward moment. When used sparingly in a show, this can be a very effective comedic tool. But when every princess chose that as her reaction to awkward moments (and there were many), it lost its luster.

Despite a few minor hiccups, the show is well worth seeing and provides more than a few laughs. So, gather a few girlfriends (guys will enjoy this too, though maybe not as much as the gals), grab a glass of wine during happy hour and head to Jazz Central for a night of disenchantment.

On Thursday, September 15, any audience member who comes in costume receives $2 off their ticket; and the cast will award the best-dressed a pair of tickets to any upcoming RD show. See their season here

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