Dennis T. Giacino is the creative force behind the show, having written the book, music, and lyrics. His score is clever, funny, and sounds like the tunes he’s parodying, but at times runs on. One highlight is the number, “Big Tits.” His book is an arch series of variety show type sketches with the characters informing the audience of their feelings and is often very humorous. It’s a plotless affair, so depending on one’s taste it all might be totally enchanting or at times somewhat wearying.
First performed in 2010, and a hit at The Orlando Fringe Festival the next year, the show has since been performed around The United States. This New York City premiere production is top notch.
The cast of six is tremendously talented and one can imagine them actually playing their roles straight. Michelle Knight is an engagingly sardonic Snow White. Becky Gulsvig is the relentlessly perky Cinderella. Jen Bechter is a most animated Sleeping Beauty. Alison Burns with great comic timing and a variety of expressions takes on Belle from Beauty and The Beast, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and Rapunzel. Lulu Picart vividly depicts the ethnic characters Mulan, Pocahontas, and Princess Badroulbadour with great flair. Soara-Joye Ross winningly gets much mileage out of the African-American humor of her role as The Princess Who Kissed the Frog.
Costume designer Vanessa Leuck’s fabulous recreations of those familiar gowns are lavish, witty, and instantly convey who each character is and really make the show succeed. From Ariel’s gold clam shaped toilet to the simple gold, swirling backdrops, suggesting royal palaces, Gentry Akens scenic design also contributes to the humor and terrific visual quality of the show. Lighting designer Graham Kindred skillfully adds appropriate flourishes. The American Idol stylings of the song performances, music, and effects are artfully realized by Keith Caggiano’s sound design.
The direction of Fiely A. Matias and Matt West’s musical staging yield to an accomplished, brisk pace, with eye-catching sequences that serve the material very well. Musical director Michael Raabe excellently accompanies everyone and often adds to the comedy. He also did the marvelous musical arrangements along with Robert Meffe.
Disenchanted! is smart, well-executed and innocuous, entertainment that delights, though feels over extended at times.
Disenchanted! (closed on June 14, 2015)
Westside Theatre, 407 W. 43rd Street, west of 9th Avenue, in Manhattan
For tickets, call 212-239-6200 or visit http://www.disenchantedmusical.com
Running time: one hour and forty minutes with no intermission