Chicago Tribune: What, exactly, is this Broadway Princess Party in Schaumburg?

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Over the years, Belle, Ariel, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Jasmine, Rapunzel and their sisters have been marketed as role models. (Today’s princesses having more agency than used to be the case.) Through its licensing agreement with Feld Entertainment, Disney has allowed ice shows to be built around Disney princesses as a genre, and the inestimably popular heroines show up often at Disney theme parks and on cruise ships.

But it dawned on Rauhala that Disney did not own every princess.

What about Cinderella, as in, from the musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II? What about Princess Anastasia? (“Anastasia” is playing on Broadway). What about Thumbelina? What about Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”?

What about a show composed of songs made famous by all these princesses, a show complete with some gossip and banter about what it actually was like to play characters so intensely adored?

What if an environment could be created where those who felt inclined could dress up as their favorite princess and feel no shame nor chill?

“I just thought it would be really fun to bring all these princesses together in one show,” Rauhala said this week. “And it so happened that Laura Osnes came to my birthday party.”

Osnes, of course, famously played Cinderella in the 2013 revival of that classic musical.

“I was just tipsy enough,” Rauhala said, “to say to her, would you want to do a Broadway princess party?”

Osnes not only agreed, she provided a spreadsheet of every extant and cooperative Broadway princess — including, for example, Susan Egan, who created the role of Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.” There were 14 names on Osnes’ list. All of them agreed to do the show.

And thus “Broadway Princess Party” was born at the New York cabaret space known as Feinstein’s/54 Below. Tickets sold out instantly.

Since then, the show has been back in New York, and it’s played in Los Angeles, where Egan lives, and in Minneapolis. On Aug. 19, it hits the Chicago Improv venue at the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. The evening show has gone clean. Earlier this week, an afternoon performance was added and also sold out.

It’s an unlikely venue, for sure. But Egan said that there is a family connection with its ownership. And it comes with cocktails, a boon for a certain demographic of princesses, and surely for the parents and chaperones who might just need a (frozen) drink.


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