You’ve never seen Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty act quite like this before.
This weekend, Duryea’s Phoenix Theatrics will present its latest production, “Disenchanted,” an irreverent take on everyone’s favorite fairy tale princesses.
There will be four performances of the musical — Friday, April 21, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 22, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 23, at 2 p.m. — at Phoenix Performing Arts Centre, 409 Main St., Duryea.
Tickets are $12 and can be purchased in advance or at the door. For reservations or more information, call 570-457-3589.
Phoenix is the first local theater to mount a production of “Disenchanted,” which picks up the stories of 10 beloved princesses after their Disney and/or Brothers Grimm versions leave off. As the audience quickly finds out, “Happily Ever After” doesn’t come so easily to these ladies.
In the show, Cinderella is food-obsessed, Snow White is quite pushy and Sleeping Beauty keeps dozing off. Meanwhile, Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” is insane and confined to a straitjacket, Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” is a drunk and Mulan is a lesbian.
“I absolutely adored the concept. It’s just too funny,” said Phoenix artistic director Lee LaChette, the show’s director and choreographer. “I’m always looking for something different and this immediately caught my eye.”
In addition to their faults, the princesses also have a bit of the potty mouth. Given the show’s adult language and humor, LaChette said the show is most appropriate for adults and teens ages 13 and up.
Underneath all the ribald humor is a strong pro-feminist message that takes aim at the often sexist, patriarchal elements found within fairy tales and Disney films. “Misguided messages,” as Snow White bluntly puts in the show.
“They make us look weak,” adds Sleeping Beauty.
“Like helpless damsels in distress,” says Cinderella.
Princess Jasmine of “Aladdin” fame (or Princess Badroulbadour, as she’s known in the story “1,001 Nights”) laments that she’s not allowed to “drive” her magic carpet back home. And, the show is well into its second half by the time the African-American Princess Tiana, of “The Princess and the Frog” fame, shows up to complain about the lateness of her arrival.
“Why’d it take ’em so long to give a sistah a song?” she sings.
All told, the show features 10 young local actresses playing the princesses. The show has one other famous character — Tinker Bell from “Peter Pan,” played here. in a unique bit of casting, by male actor Colin Casey.
“We put a little twist on it,” LaChette said with a laugh.
There are about 15 songs in the show. Each princess gets their own highlighted song, and music director Jackie Legg will be on stage playing throughout the show.
The costumes are untraditional (“No ball gowns,” LaChette said), while the set design is “very simplistic – more like a nightclub atmosphere,” she said.
“There’s not a lot of glitz and glamour – no castles,” she said.
What’s especially nice about the show is that all the cast members had a hand in shaping the direction of the production with LaChette, Legg and assistant director Sherry Klaproth.
The result of their collaborative efforts should result in a fun, empowering trip to the theater for audiences, LaChette said.
“It’s absolutely a laugh a minute,” she said.