Little Theatre Production ‘Tells It Like It Is’
Girls don’t need a prince to save them.
The Lucille Ball Little Theatre’s production of the musical “Disenchanted,” is less about costumes, set and music, and more about the message of self-acceptance.
The musical features nine fairy tale princesses who resent their portrayals in the movies and are “telling it like it is.”
“Disenchanted” was written and composed in 2006 by Dennis T. Giacino but directors Helen Merrill and Aubrey Russell agree that it is just as timely now, if not more so.
“It’s a comedy vaudeville show but there’s also a message,” Russell said.
Merrill loves that all the women in the cast are very strong-willed.
“We could not have asked for a more talented or dedicated group of women to bring these princesses’ stories to life and while we are on the subject of powerful women, I want to thank Helen Merrill for all of her guidance and support throughout this production, the success of this show is a testament to her wealth of experience, skill, and imagination,” Russell said.
When asked about specific challenges in staging “Disenchanted,” both Merrill and Russell say that coordinating schedules was the hardest part. “Summers are busy times, with graduations, weddings, and family get-togethers,” said Merrill.
“We thank the cast and crew for taking time out to share their passions and talents with us, and with the community,” Russell noted. “They all gave up a large portion of their summer to give the princesses a voice.” Russell finds the dedication of all the volunteers “humbling and inspiring” and he’s proud to be a part of Little Theatre.
When it comes to the set design, Russell especially likes the large book center stage, from which the princesses make their entrances. The other set pieces each represent the story of one of the princesses and each is a part of the story.
Both Merrill and Russell agree that this show is edgier and younger than many that have been presented at Little Theatre and the directors have put a PG-13 warning on it.
Russell says that he has been fortunate enough to have had many phone conversations with the writer, which he says has helped him with directing and with understanding how the play was put together. He says the play is “funny, but also empowering and touching,” and says his favorite song changes with every rehearsal.
Two of the princesses are new to the Little Theatre stage. Celina Kryk, who plays Pocahontas, moved to Jamestown in May. She heard that there was a very active theatre community in Jamestown and decided to try out for a part. She is very impressed with the Lucille Ball Little Theatre.
“They see your potential and it’s a very supportive atmosphere,” Kryk added.
As for her character, she likes that Pocahontas is trying to set the historical record straight, as she complains about her movie image. “I’m only 10 and now I’m double D.”
Kayla Walker is another newcomer to the Little Theatre stage, but not to performing in Jamestown. She’s a Jamestown native and had parts in the Jamestown Community College Uncommoners’ productions of both “Hairspray” and “Newsies.” She loves her role as “The Princess Who Kissed the Frog.” She loves that her princess breaks the “princess color barrier” and she loves the show in general. “I can’t help but laugh,” she says, “even when I’ve heard the lines dozens of times.”
Their take on the other princesses? Both call Cinderella “ditzy” and the least mature of all the princesses. “Belle has PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder),” said Kryk. “She’s terrified her plates will start talking or her silverware will burst into song.” As for Rapunzel, Kryk notes “she’s a no-nonsense German who wants her share of the money film makers have made from her story.”
“The Little Mermaid is a drunk. She wishes she were back in the sea,” Walker said. “Snow White’s the popular girl and she runs the place.” Mulan, Walker and Kryk agree, is the strongest of the princesses.
“Disenchanted” has Lauren Scharf as Snow White; Jennie Cross as Cinderella; Lindsay Russell, Sleeping Beauty; Rachel Ekstrom, Belle; Jennifer Davis, The Little Mermaid; Kryk, Pocahontas; Walker, The Princess Who Kissed the Frog; Katie Ryan, Rapunzel; Madonnina Gullo, Princess Badroulbadour and Mulan.
The orchestra consists of Josh Kindberg on drums, Kyle Gustafson, bass, and Gail Espinoza and Wendy Marlinski on piano.
The crew for this production includes the directors, Russell and Merrill; technical, Jason Dorman; senior carpenter, Norm Merrill; set construction, Jim Jones; stage managers, Julia Pettibon and Melissa Vullo; follow spot, Eric Pettibon; set artist, Janice Merrill; props Aubrey and Lindsay Russell; choreographer, Cross; and costumes, the entire cast.
This is the first time Little Theatre has ever offered a show in the summer, but now that central air conditioning is in place, it is hoping to make it a regular feature.
“Disenchanted” will be performed Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Performances will repeat Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 28 at 2 p.m. There will also be a special showing on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 2 p.m.
Purchase tickets online at lucilleballlittletheatre.org/reservations, or call the box office at 483-1095. The box office is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.