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Disenchanted
Golden Apple Dinner Theater

Disenchanted
Mari Bryan, Nikki White, Jenn Abreu and
Jenn Baker

Disenchanted by Dennis Giacino (music, lyrics and book) and Fiely Matias (additional lyrics) and starring "The Bitches of the Kingdom!" is the current fare at Golden Apple Dinner Theater, the oldest continuously operating dinner theater in the country (43 years and counting). Recently, The Apple (as it's affectionately known by locals) has had some financial difficulty, mostly because of how hard the recession hit Florida. This production is one of the biggest and most adventuresome attempted by owner Robert Turoff and family in a while. Last fall, The Golden Apple was granted nonprofit status by the IRS, and they hope to move forward and add to the theater's glorious history. The Golden Apple opened in 1969 with a production of Anthony Newley's Stop the World, I Want to Get Off that starred a then unknown Betty Buckley. Let's wish Robert Turoff, his wife Roberta MacDonald, and daughter Kyle Ennis Turoff the best in the future. The near future brings a production of Oliver!, which plays March 27 through May 5 and features local favorites Steve and Dianne Dawson.

Disenchanted began life in Orlando, Florida, followed by an engagement here at The Golden Apple in November 2011, which proved to be a crowd pleaser, hence this short revival. The authors plan for a Las Vegas production in the near future, followed by a transfer to Anaheim, California, home of Disneyland. An Off-Broadway production is in the works as well.

This comic revue starts with the premise that many of Disney's animated leading ladies are deep into "happily ever after," and maybe all isn't as perfect as they had hoped. Led by Jenn Baker as Snow White, Mari Bryan as Cinderella and Alex Torres as Sleeping Beauty, and joined by Mulan, Pocahontas, Belle, Ariel, Frog Princess and Secondary Princesses, the ladies get together in various groupings to vent about the sorry state of their lives. They are joined by the most Germanic Rapunzel I could ever imagine. I think she must have wandered in from another Kingdom, as I am certain that her character has never been featured by Walt and friends. The three leading ladies start us off by letting us know that, if they have to experience "One More Happ'ly Ever After," they will explode. It's lively and a good start, but I do wish I could have understood more of the lyrics. Mulan comments that she is "Without the Guy," wondering if she might be a lesbian (a series of lyrics all rhyming with lesbian is a hoot). Ariel's lament at having given up all that was familiar for "Two Legs," and the first act closer "Not V'One Red Cent" led by Rapunzel are some of the other highlights. Late in the second act, the Frog Princess, played by Ariel Blue, comes on and celebrates that "Finally" there is a heroine of Color. Miss Blue livens up the proceedings, but she was even more strongly showcased a few months ago in Love Sung in the Key of Aretha, previously reviewed. There is a fair amount of vulgarity in all the songs, including references to castrating men folk by the various Secondary Princesses, played by Roberta MacDonald. This joke is done two or three different ways in each of her three appearances, and I think that it may be a bit much. The show's overall conceit is kept in focus throughout the two-hour running time.

Direction by Kyle Ennis Turoff keeps things moving, but I wish she had been able to draw more specifics from her three leading ladies, especially in the opening number where there are specific references to the stories that the ladies started out in, such as Snow White eating an apple and Sleeping Beauty pricking her finger. Another lyric references Ariel eating all of her friends and relatives, including Sebastian, in a number entitled "All I Wanna Do is Eat."

Costume pieces by David Walker, over black dresses, effectively define each of the characters and the set by Inez Cole helps set the tone. Michael Sebastian, one of the area's leading musical directors, keeps the tempo lively.

The Golden Apple Dinner Theater, 25 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, presents Disenchanted through March 25, 2012. For schedule and ticket information, call (941) 366-5454 or visit thegoldenapple.com.

Cast
Snow White: Jenn Baker
Cinderella: Mari Bryan
Sleeping Beauty: Alex Torres
Mulan: Jenn Abreu
Pocahontas: Aileen Susick
Belle: Ellie Pattison
Ariel: Nikki White/Hilary Kraus
Frog Princess: Ariel Blue
Secondary Princess: Roberta MacDonald
Rapunzel: Helen Holliday.

Direction and Choreography: Kyle Ennis Turoff
Piano: Michael Sebastian
Set Design: Trez Cole
Costume Design: David Walker
Lighting Design: Alyssa Goudy
Stage Management: Sharon Ferguson
Princess Portraits and Puppets: Steve Dawson


Photo: Cliff Roles


Be sure to Check the current schedule for theatre in West Coast Florida

See the current season schedule for West Coast Florida

--William S. Oser



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