'Broadway Princess Party' makes local debut at Schaumburg's Improv
Most fairy tale shows just feature one princess. But with the touring "Broadway Princess Party," you get three.
Soon making its local debut at Schaumburg's Improv Comedy Showcase, the show stars three actresses who originated princess roles on Broadway: Laura Osnes in "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella," Susan Egan as Belle in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and Courtney Reed as Princess Jasmine in Disney's "Aladdin." There's also a special guest "Prince Charming" in the mix -- original Broadway and touring "Aladdin" star Adam Jacobs.
Reed starred in the first "Broadway Princess Party" back in 2013. She grew up in Elgin and attended Roosevelt University in Chicago, so she's especially pleased to be a part of the show's local appearance.
"For the first time in several years, I've been able to star in a show close to my hometown," Reed said. "It's really exciting to be back near Elgin and have all of my college buddies and hometown people coming. I'm so thrilled."
The show is the brainchild of music director Benjamin Rauhala (the production's self-billed "Fairy Godfairy") and Tony Award-nominee Osnes. Rauhala approached Osnes, who was then starring on Broadway as Cinderella, to gather other actresses for what was meant to be a one-off Monday night princess-themed concert in New York.
"I came back with all of my friends' headshots next to the picture of the princesses I wanted them to play," Osnes said. "But we didn't realize how popular it would be, not only for the audience, but for all of the girls involved. It was really an empowering night seeing so many strong, talented females all supporting and loving on each other and knocking songs out of the park."
That show spawned follow-up "Broadway Princess Party" concerts, which also quickly sold out.
Susan Egan, famed for voicing Meg in Disney's 1997 animated feature "Hercules," came aboard last year for the California debut of the "Broadway Princess Party."
She suggested to Osnes and Rauhala that the show should invite its audiences to dress up as their favorite princesses. That way it could become a hybrid of a professional stage concert and a Comic Con fan convention.
"The cos-players have invested hundreds of hours and lots of dollars into these really incredible costumes and the characters that they connect with. They only get to wear those costumes to a Comic Con, which comes to their city once in a blue moon." Egan said. "So now it's really like an interactive party."
Egan is pleased that the "Broadway Princess Party" attracts diverse audiences, including mothers and daughters, animated film lovers, die-hard Broadway fans and more. The show also features an online contest for one lucky audience member to perform onstage.
"It's kitschy without ever making fun of the material, and the bottom line is we sing the petticoats off it," said Egan, noting that the lineup for the "Broadway Princess Party" can change based upon the leading ladies' availability.
"With everything that's happening in the world, it's nice to have this safe wonderful place to go where everyone is positive," Egan said. "And we're just having a blast."
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"Broadway Princess Party"
Showtimes: 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19. The 6 p.m. Sunday show is sold out.
Tickets: $44 show only; $87 show and VIP meet and greet with the cast
What: Enter the contest to receive a pair of tickets to the show on Sunday, Aug. 19, a swag bag and become an honorary princess to perform on stage with the royalty of the "Broadway Princess Party."
Rules: Potential princesses must be between the ages of 15 and 22 (those under 18 must have permission from a guardian) and submit an online video with name, age and sing one of the following songs: "Almost There" from "The Princess and the Frog," "How Far I'll Go" from "Moana" or "Part of Your World" from "The Little Mermaid." Songs can be sung a cappella, with a karaoke track or live accompaniment. Videos must be posted with the hashtag #UnleashYourInnerPrincessChicago on either Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Deadline is midnight Friday, Aug. 10. Winners must be available for rehearsal on the day of show and sign a permission form and waiver for future promotion purposes.
More information: broadwayprincessparty.com/unleash-contest