BWW Review: Partying With the Princesses at THE BROADWAY PRINCESS PARTY at the Lied Center for Performing Arts

BWW Review: Partying With the Princesses at THE BROADWAY PRINCESS PARTY at the Lied Center for Performing Arts

Was it a concert? Was it a party? Whatever it was, it was a good time! Laura Osnes (Cinderella-Cinderella), Susan Egan (Belle-Beauty and the Beast, and the voice of Meg-Hercules), and Courtney Reed (Jasmine-Aladdin) brought their considerable princess powers to the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska along with their "Fairy God Fairy" Benjamin Rauhala.

Music director Rauhala dreamed up the idea for THE BROADWAY PRINCESS PARTY at his birthday party in 2015 and it has grown exponentially from there. From appearing at Feinstein's/54 Below in New York City to touring across the country, BPP reaches a vast demographic of all ages, gender, and ethnicities, including fans of Broadway, Disney films, and even cosplayers.

In a culture where children are often discouraged from dreams of being a princess, this remarkable group of artists show how princesses are strong and smart people who not only dream, they achieve those dreams through persistence and drive. Playing to what Osnes called their largest audience yet, the enthusiastic audience last night was filled with tiny princesses dancing in their gowns, grown women sporting tiaras, and men who unabashedly enjoyed the show.

One little "Elsa" I spoke with prior to the show, Anna Krambeck, will turn seven years old on the 30th. This was a birthday gift from her parents, Steve and Debbie Krambeck, both well known in the Omaha theatre scene. Anna, being an aspiring young actress herself, has been

BWW Review: Partying With the Princesses at THE BROADWAY PRINCESS PARTY at the Lied Center for Performing Arts
Anna Krambeck in her Anna costume.

on stage at the Omaha Community Playhouse in MAMMA MIA! She takes ballet with Juliann Adair and was recently seen in NUTCRACKER DELIGHT...not as a princess (she was a mouse.) She confided that her favorite princesses are Anna from Frozen, Cinderella, and especially Sleeping Beauty because "she's kind to animals."

Another little Belle dressed in her yellow dress was curled up in the seat at intermission...reading a book. There were Cinderellas dancing in the aisle. Snow Whites and Annas and Jasmines were bobbing up and down in their seats, all enchanted with their favorite fairytale songs.

Whoever their favorite princess is, these three enormously talented ladies made sure she was represented. Osnes crushed a medley she called "The CinderEPIC Medley" comprised of songs from all the Cinderellas, from the classic to the parody "On the Steps of the Palace" from Into the Woods.

Courtney Reed who sweetly wonders who she sees in "My Reflection" blew us away with her belt in Moana's "How Far I'll Go."

These princesses ask the important questions. Who am I? What do I want? And what they want is romance, a whole new world, and adventure.

Sometimes those adventures happen in real life, such as a broken foot for Egan on the set of Beauty and the Beast. Egan confessed they referred to her as "Calamity Belle" from then on. Joking about her age, she quipped that she was the original Broadway Belle, but now that she is the age of Mrs. Potts she gets to sing the song that won the Oscar.

Being the only mother of the three, Egan intended to pay tribute to the loving mothers in the princess shows. Then it dawned on her: most of the princess moms were dead! So she pulled out "Mother Knows Best" from Tangled, whose not-so-loving mother kept Rapunzel locked inside the tower to avoid the scary world.

Princesses have changed over the years. Today's princesses are less likely to wait for a Prince Charming. They have gotten more feisty, self-sufficient, and adventurous. When Egan was cast as the voice of Meg in Hercules, she found she had been "acting as Belle," but found that the sarcastic, independent Meg is "where she lives." Reed called Moana the first ethnic princess and said Moana made her feel "like I could be a princess too." The Princess and the Frog featured the first African American princess. Guest performer and UNL musical theatre student Aguel Lual wowed the crowd with her rendition of Tiana's fierce "Almost There."

Prior to the event, the Broadway Princess Party team solicited videos from UNL students and selected both a 'prince' and a 'princess' to sing in the show. Aguel Lual and Matthew Carter were the two lucky winners. Carter teamed up with Courtney Reed to sing "A Whole New World" from Aladdin and with Laura Osnes in "Love is an Open Door" from Frozen. Both performers have been seen recently on Omaha stages. This was their chance to dream big.

"A Million Dreams" from The Greatest Showman showed electrifying harmony by Osnes, Reed, and Egan. The little princesses in the audience most likely went home to warm beds and a million dreams of their own.

As Rauhala put it, he is "living poof" {sic} that princess songs make you feel better when things get you down and added, "Take pictures tonight. If I look good in them, tag my mom."

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From This Author Christine Swerczek

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