Welcome to the kingdom of 'DISENCHANTED!' princesses. These wonderfully empowered and funny women have come together in a vaudeville-variety show, to tell the truth about living happily ever after. Together, with the brassy and all-powerful Snow White
at the lead, this band of royal renegades storm the proverbial castle, all the while hilariously poking holes in the age-old tenets of The Princess Complex (The PC).
The Princess Complex, as exemplified by Cinderella at the beginning of the show, is that tired old notion that a woman is only valid and desirable if she is a ditzy, insecure, Bambi-like waif; a helpless damsel in distress who does nothing more than sit around and wait for her prince to come. The PC is the antagonist of 'DISENCHANTED!' -- the 'big bad' that the women speak out against through song, dance and comedy skits in the hopes that they can dispel its power.
The results, sadly, are not always salvation and freedom from The PC. Cinderella, a true believer in everything princessy, begins the show as an exploited, dim-bulb of a girl but as she listens to each princess' story, finds the power to literally toss aside her glass slippers and grow independent of her prince (see 'All I Wanna Do Is Eat' and 'A Happy Tune?'). Pocahontas plays a little game on us in her 3-song arc. We first meet her as a baby-doll talking, Marilyn Monroe type, silly and gamine, only to have her turn the tables on the audience, reminding them that, despite the sexploitation put forth in cinema, she was actually a ten-year old tomboy who most likely never kissed John Smith.
Beneath the comedy, slapstick and broad farce alike, that plays out in the 'DISENCHANTED!' vaudeville, there is a very important conversation taking place between the princesses and the audiences throughout the show. There is no fourth wall as the princesses regale the crowd with their not-so-happily ever afters: The PC has caused Belle to go hysterically and yet irreparably 'insane' and The Little Mermaid despairs after realizing she have up everything she loved just to net a man.
Many of the princesses fair better, of course: Princess Badroulbadour takes some tongue-in-cheek political jabs at Middle-Eastern misogyny; Rapunzel goes to war against the capitalistic greed of Hollywood; and The Princess Who Kissed The Frog celebrates the arrival of the long-awaited, and terribly over-looked, princess of color.
Snow White (the perfect princess) and Sleeping Beauty (seemingly not as princess-like) tussle over the idea of being fairy tale princess acceptable. They are all strong women who put forth the idea that a princess comes in many different forms and that loving who you are is truly living happily ever after. As Sleeping Beauty sings, "I'm perfect just the way that I am!"