H.O.P.E. Players’ Send-up of Disney Empire is Grown-up Fun!

by Robert Beizer

Chelsea Dehener (Cinderella), Kathryn Tremper (Snow White) and Alicia Brisbois (Sleeping Beauty) in a scene from H.O.P.E. Players' DISENCHANTED. (Photo credit: Barry Kriebel)

Possibly the toughest ticket to get of the Spring Theater season (it only runs four performances), DISENCHANTED: B!+¢#e$ OF THE KINGDOM is a fairy tale definitely NOT for children.

In it we are introduced to Snow White (Kathryn Tremper), Sleeping Beauty (Alicia Brisbois), Cinderella (Chelsea Dehner) and the other Princesses immortalized by Walt Disney and Walt Disney Productions to quite a few generations of young girls and their parents.

Today, as we all know, the Disney Empire is a Kingdom of its own – historically run by the male of the species The Princesses of DISENCHANTED seem to be ready to stage an insurrection.

Fed up with the stereotypical roles they have been assigned in both animated and live action films they recoil at the idea of “One More Happ’ly Ever After”.

Belle (Amelia Arrigo), our heroine from BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, is brought in by two night nurses in a strait jacket because she’s gone “Insane!”.

Each of the characters gets a moment to shine on the stage with the result being laughter and nods of understanding from the cabaret style audience who are having lots of fun in this BYOB venue.

The show stopper among show stoppers has to go to Princess Badroulbador (Jenn Hallman) who tells us what it’s like to be just a “Secondary Princess”. We are asked to consider why the animators of the Disney Kingdom insist that somehow all the Kingdom’s Princesses are so…um…well-endowed.

Jessica Pratts as Pocahontas with Lena Kramer (left), Amelia Arrigo (behind Pocahontas) & Mandy Jacobus (right) in DISENCHANTED, playing in Elkins Park, PA through March 18. (Photo credit: Kelly Kriebel)

That sexism is evident in every century is clearly shown by the drawings of Pocahontas (Jessica “Nugget” Pratts) which demonstrate a decidedly white male bias in both the 17th and 20th century depictions of her likeness. In each century she is an “Unbelievable Beauty”.

Little Mermaid (Katy Michael) finds herself wishing she no longer had “Two Legs” and Rapunzel (Cynthia Berg) cries out the anthem of all the Disney Princesses, who see their likenesses everywhere on everything and wonder why they get “Not V’one Red Cent”.

Act Two gave me a new view of Cinderella and the difficulty of keeping those impossible measurements because she and the company tell us that “All I Want To Do Is Eat”.

We get Disney’s accommodation to diversity as we are introduced to the Frog Princess (Lachele Vaughn) who reminds us that “Finally” there is a Disney Princess with whom she can identify.

DISENCHANTED: B!+¢#e$ OF THE KINGDOM, is a fun roller coaster of a ride as presented by the H.O.P.E. Players of Elkins Park. I wish they could either extend their run or move this wonderful show to another venue that would allow more people to see it. Just remember to leave the children at home.

Book, Music, Lyrics by Dennis Giacino
Additional Lyrics by Fiely A. Matias
3/9/2012 – 3/17/2012
Directed by Barry Kriebel
H.O.P.E. Players
St. James Church School
8306 Brookside Road
Elkins Park, PA 19027
Tickets: 484-886-1869

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Marypat Hallman March 13, 2012 - 8:12 am

This is a wonderful review for a FABULOUS show! I laughed from the moment these talented women hit the stage! The vocals are incredible, the comic timing was perfection and the audience’s delight fed the performers with energy throughout the entire show! The writers of this musical should make it straight to Broadway: as should the women in H.O.P.E. The H.O.P.E. organization is on it’s way to becoming a non-profit to “Help Other People Endure” aka H.O.P.E. Founded by 3 wonderful people who care so much for other people, their environment feeds them with the energy and drive to perform for sold out crowds! H.O.P.E. then hands their intake over to other Non-Profits in need such as ADA, Susan Komen and Aids Fund. Their selflessness and their talents are unmatched, EVERYONE WINS! Jennifer Hallman, Jennifer Basmajin & Barry Kriebel are the co-founders of H.O.P.E. They have been friends for well over a decade, their Love & Passion becomes an “inner-light” for people to join their crusade to make this world a better place! I Loved this show, I love the staff & crew and most especially I am proud beyond words that the actress/singer/organizer/marketing director/decorator/costume designer “Show Stopper among Show Stoppers” (Princess Badroulbador ~AKA Princess Jasmine) Is none other than my beautiful, talented, hysterical, loving daughter, Jennifer Hallman! Thank you Robert Beizer for a wonderful review! Congratulations Everyone! With Love, MommaHallz

Karl Peters March 13, 2012 - 11:58 am

Great singing and very funny. Well done, b*****s!

Radune March 13, 2012 - 11:25 pm

I am one of the fortunate who was able to enjoy this spectacular, talented group. Truly an entertaining evening full of fun and laughter. thank you for bringing this to us.


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