The audience at Emerald City's new production of Rapunzel was filled with pint-sized princesses at the Apollo Theater on a recent Saturday morning as they eagerly awaited their favorite character to prance onstage.
But as they'd soon learn, there's an inherent problem with bringing a Disney show to the stage without bringing with it all of the copyrighted material: The children's confusion.
Where's the frog, one of the audience members wondered? Why is the bad witch actually good?
Yes, it's all great and original to be able to pull off Rapunzel, as Emerald City's new production is basically able to do on the Apollo Theater stage without Disney. But it's usually very difficult to do a better version than Disney. And this wasn't a better story than Disney's. It was a very good, decent one - and very impressive for the price. But it lacked some of the magic that most of the children in the audience are probably used to, having been trained by their Disney DVDs.
Having said that, there were some very nice parts to the show, and the children - even those who are huge Tangled fans, are going to really enjoy it.
It's an original musical, and the music and singing is very good. The show was adapted by the writers of TV's Friends, and there were enough funny lines to keep adults engaged, with the 60-minute show flying by quickly for the grownups and children of all ages.
Rapunzel, played by Katrina Kiss, was sugary sweet (although a stronger, more powerful Rapunzel would always been welcomed instead of the weakling that she seems always to be), while Prince Brian was a little whiny and annoying for someone who was supposed to be the powerful rescuer. The witch, who was played by Tamara White, was not very mean and actually turned good in the end.
What bothered me most of all was that Rapunzel's original parents (the ones whom Rapunzel was kidnapped from at the beginning of the show) were long forgotten at the end, and the witch was even celebrated for being such a good mother who simply was having a hard time letting her child grow up. It's a simple problem that all parents must deal with, I suppose, but let's hope that the rest of us didn't kidnap our children.
Still, the show overall is entertaining enough, and Rapunzel fans won't have any problems with the minor details.
Danielle Braff lives with her two daughters and husband in downtown Chicago.
See more of Danielle's stories here.