BWW Interview: THE BROADWAY PRINCESS PARTY IS IN THE BUSINESS OF MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE IN UTAH
You down with BPP? Well, you should be.
If you're not one of the millions of people who are crazy about the Broadway Princess Party, it's time to get on board!
The dream of the Broadway Princess Party actually started on board a Disney cruise, which Benjamin Rauhala, current Associate Conductor for the off-Broadway production of The Secret Life of Bees, was on with his dear friend and Broadway fan-favorite, Jeremy Jordan. After seeing the "Princess Tea Party" on board the ship, Rauhala mentioned to Jordan that it would be fun to host a concert featuring all their Broadway princess friends singing their favorite Disney songs. He knew it would take someone with "real princess gravitas" to make this happen, and so he reached out to his friend Laura Osnes, who originated the role of Cinderella on Broadway.
What started as a dream quickly turned into something magical. Within hours, Osnes put together a spreadsheet of names and songs, Rauhala waved his Fairy Godfairy wand, and the two set the plan in motion.
Shortly thereafter, a concert featuring around 16 "Broadway Princesses" was taking place at Feinstein's 54 Below nightclub in New York City. They thought it might be a cute, kitschy, and definitely cheesy one-night event, but the fairy dust had been sprinkled and the one-time event turned into multiple sold-out shows, millions of YouTube views and now, a full-blown tour that's coming straight to Davis County!
Why, Utah, you may wonder? Like I said, they're in the business of making dreams come true. They read through the comments on their videos and social media pages, and found fans saying, "Come to Utah!" So, they're loading up their pumpkin coach for a magical night at the Edward A. Kenley Centennial Amphitheater in Layton.
A couple years after Rauhala and Osnes created the Broadway Princess Party, the two joined forces with Susan Egan, who originated the role of Belle in Broadway's Beauty and the Beast, and Courtney Reed, Broadway's original Jasmine in Aladdin. The four princesses and their Fairy Godfairy officially took their show on the road last year.
This year, the production will feature Osnes, Egan, and Rauhala, and joining them will be Christy Altomare, who just ended her stint as Broadway's Anastasia, and Arielle Jacobs, who is currently on Broadway as Jasmine in Aladdin.
I had the chance to chat with Osnes, Egan, and Rauhala recently to learn a little more about their upcoming performance.
Osnes and Egan said that one of their favorite parts about taking this show from NYC to the outdoor amphitheater setting is their ability to wear their full princess ball gowns. They said it's pretty common for members of the audience to join them in their ball gowns, whether they're age 6 or 96! In fact, they encourage you to dawn your best princess attire for the show, which they call "unleashing your inner princess."
Egan said seeing everyone embrace the characters of their favorite Disney princesses really takes the show to the next level.
"We're as excited as our audiences, because we get to switch up materials and outfits, sing songs that stand the test of time, and celebrate the princess inside all of us!" said Egan.
In addition to that, Rauhala said this version of the production really taps into a deeper level of the songs in the show.
"There's something really electric and fascinating about having these original iconic women from the cast albums in front of these audiences, that takes the event from being a sort of campy and funny idea, and turns it into something empowering and endearing," Rauhala said.
Egan said they learned from their first round of touring how to take what they were doing in New York and really amp up the experience for their non-New York audiences.
"The great thing about performing these songs in an amphitheater is that the songs really speak for themselves; they really strike the heartstrings of our audience members," said Osnes, referring to the longevity and nostalgia of the iconic Disney princess songs she and others will be singing.
"Not to mention the nature aspect of being outdoors for these performances!" said Rauhala.
"Just smell the grass, the dirt, just like I dreamed they'd be..." sang Osnes, from Rapunzel's song, '"When Will My Life Begin?"
Egan responded with, "I want adventure in the great wide somewhere..." referencing Belle's solo from Beauty and the Beast.
(Because is it really an interview with three Broadway stars if at least two of them don't break into song?)
The team is also really looking forward to delivering a message of girl power at their shows. In fact, they encourage area Girl Scout leaders to check out their unique opportunity to bring your troops (and their families) to the show at a discounted price, earn a BPP badge, and have the opportunity for one of the princesses to join one of your Girl Scout meetings via Skype! You can find more info on the Broadway Princess Party website.
The BPP is passionate about encouraging future generations to follow their dreams and make the world a better place, which was evident when I asked them what message they have for any big dreamers who might be sitting in the audience on August 24.
"We do not take for granted what we get to do for a living," said Egan. "The first step is to dream it, and then keep feeding the dream."
"Follow your heart," said Osnes. "There's no cookie cutter way or five-step path to quote "make it" in this business, and all of us got here in an unconventional way. Have the courage to plow your own path, and just keep taking opportunities as they come. Dream big and then act upon those dreams. I know it's scary, but it's worth it."
And finally Rauhala concluded with a beautiful reference to the Cinderella movie.
"Have courage and be kind. My number one thing is just being kind, because it really is all about how you treat people in your life. You should treat all people with kindness, no matter how big or small they may seem. You never know when the mouse is going to transform into the person who gets you into the ball."
The Broadway Princess Party is going to be a magical fairytale of a night that you won't want to miss. Tony-nominated vocalists, ball gowns, and a Fairy Godfairy...put them together and what have you got? A bibbidi-bobbidi Broadway Princess Party!
Gather the princes and princesses in your life, and make the dream that they wish come true on Saturday, August 24, at 8 p.m. at the Edward A. Kenley Centennial Amphitheater in Layton.
Get your tickets in advance through the Davis Arts Council website.