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BWW Review: BROADWAY PRINCESS HOLIDAY PARTY on 54 Below Premieres Enchants At Any Time Of Year

Five years later and online the Broadway Princess Party is better than ever.

BWW Review: BROADWAY PRINCESS HOLIDAY PARTY on 54 Below Premieres Enchants At Any Time Of Year

There may be no better way to start a nightclub act than sending Benjamin Rauhala onto the stage to set the scene. He isn't called the "Fairy Godfairy" for nothing and although the dining room at Feinstein's/54 Below is obviously empty, even though there is naught but a single piano up on the bare stage, with Benjamin in a Stitch holiday sweater and his flair for both storytelling and the eight-eight keys, you've got magic. That's all it takes.

But it isn't all there is.

The Broadway Princess Party is one of the most successful franchises in the club and concert industry and usually, when one of their shows is presented, it sells out with breathtaking expediency. Thanks to the streaming special that has been running, courtesy of 54 Below Premieres, people far and wide have been able to catch the Princesses in action. Mind you, it isn't the same experience as seeing them live because part of the excitement of seeing the Broadway Princess Party in person is the cosplay. Audience members always show up in costume; guests of all ages (no, really, ALL ages) pack the theaters to the rafters, dressed as their favorite Princesses. It is one of the most joyfully bonding experiences an audience member can have, and it's a valuable part of seeing a Broadway Princess Party show. This filmed concert starring founding princesses Susan Egan, Laura Osnes, and Courtney Reed was shot at Feinstein's/54 Below under strict Covid-19 precautions, so there is no audience filling the seats, wigs, gowns, and glitter filling the air, along with their excitement. And do you know what? It's ok. It's ok because the four Queens up on the stage are more than enough to make tuning in to a holiday special essential.

BWW Review: BROADWAY PRINCESS HOLIDAY PARTY on 54 Below Premieres Enchants At Any Time Of Year

These three singing actresses may be the Broadway Princesses, they may be Disney Princesses, but seeing them in this intimate setting without the screaming fans and the costumes strips everything down to basics so that you can see what they really are: skilled actresses, astounding singers, and devoted girlfriends. That goes for Benjamin, too. Seeing four friends putting on a holiday show rich with everything from Disney to Christmas, from Broadway to pop, enjoying the social intercourse and artistic camaraderie - that's what a holiday show is all about. These tight-knit colleagues haven't had a chance to do this together in nearly a year, and they are, clearly, so happy to be doing it that not only have they brought every ounce of joy with them to the stage, they have brought their A-Game. The Princesses are in great voice and all four of the playmates on the stage handle the lack of audience with amusing alacrity. There is no awkward pausing for absent applause, there isn't even a need to acknowledge the lack of audience, they simply take their script in their hands and power forward like the seasoned pros they are - and the script that provides their framework may be a little cheesy and corny at times, but their ability to wink at you through the camera lets you know it's that way on purpose, which, frankly, makes you love them all the more.

It's hard to not love them, and that's the truth. They take material everyone knows and loves, re-examine it according to the times (thanks to Rauhala's splendid way with refreshing lyrics), present it with their individual takes, and it's sort of easy to just let them take you by the proverbial hand and pull you through the monitor into their world. And what a world it is. It is so great to hear these women sing. There is a reason that they have the careers that they do, and it is visible in every (digital) frame of this film, and the different styles, both vocal and performance, that each Princess brings to the party complements that which flows from the others. In moments either whimsical (there are a lot) or serious (there are power ballads too), Egan, Osnes, and Reed have found that sweet spot where each of them can live on stage, shining in their own light, while lighting up their sisters. It can actually take your breath away at times, and just when you think you've seen it all, they do something completely unexpected, like mashing up one of Egan's Princess songs with a Christmas song, holiday sweaters and jingle bells included. It's all just as lovely and as fun as a Princess Party Christmas show should be expected to be, with particular standouts occurring with the incomparable Egan taking on a Georgia Stitt number, the stunning Osnes recreating a medley from the very first Princess Party five years ago, and the thrilling Reed working it out with a Christina Aguilera ballad. Nothing compares, though, to the moving moment when the cast welcomes guest artists Aisha Jackson and Adam J. Levy to join them all in a number dedicated to everyone struggling through these difficult times.

During times like these, at this season, it's all about family, and it is patently clear that the Broadway Princess Party knows about family because they are a family. When someone becomes a fan, when someone attends a show, they become a part of their family, too.

The Broadway Princes Holiday Party debuted December 12th and will continue to be available for on-demand streaming through December 26th. For information and tickets click HERE.

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From This Author Stephen Mosher