For those keeping up with arts news lately, it seems as if Outskirts Theatre Company is ever-present. Following their successful limited run at Waukesha Civic Theatre, Disenchanted has continued to reach new audiences. The company reprised their performance at the Milwaukee Fringe Festival and now steps into the spotlight at SummerStage of Delafield.
Here you'll find a conversation with the show's director and Outskirts founder Ryan Albrechtson about the princesses and their enchanted journey across the greater Milwaukee theatre scene.
Can you share a little about the timeline of Disenchanted's journey?
Ryan: "I first saw Disenchanted when it came to The Marcus Center in 2016 and I absolutely fell in love with it. Outskirts was only in our 2nd season at the time, and though I didn't feel ready to do it at that time. I knew we'd produce it eventually. Flash forward to last season, a season that was dedicated to strong roles for women, on stage and off. I knew it was time.
I had found my dream team to work on the show with me - Julie Johnson and Samantha Paige - and we had an amazing turnout at auditions. Right away, I knew I wanted to take the show on some kind of tour, but I wasn't sure exactly what it looked like. We sold out our first run in partnership with Waukesha Civic Theatre. Then we were accepted into the Fringe Festival, and now we're back again for a couple of performances at SummerStage of Delafield!"
Disenchanted at the 2019 Fringe Festival.
For readers who don't know, would you mind telling us a little about the Fringe Festival?
R: "Totally! The Fringe Festival just had it's 4th year. It takes place in and around the Marcus Center and is a weekend long festival with a wide variety of shows and performances. It's very eclectic and unique, and we had such a great time being a part of it."
I'm aware that the script has had to undergo some changes from venue to venue. Can you tell us more about that process?
R: "When we did the show at WCT, we performed 100% as written. It's such a funny and powerful script, playwright Dennis Giacino is truly a comic master. At the Fringe Festival, we only had a one-hour time slot, and at SummerStage the DNR has some stricter rules about words and content. Luckily, we've been able to work with Dennis directly to mold the show into something that works for each of these venues."
The company of Disenchanted.
What has it been like to revisit a production with such a gap after closing? And on the flip side, to turn a script around from the Fringe Festival for SummerStage so quickly?
R: "Honestly, it was a true testament to the amazing talent I get to work with. We closed March 2nd, so months had gone by before we picked it up for the Fringe Festival. I was pretty nervous about getting it together in the amount of time we had.
But these girls came back in and immediately knew their stuff. Honestly, we could have had two rehearsals and been good to go. They are talented and hardworking, it was a breeze to put back together.
SummerStage has been exciting as well - we've gotten to play with and rediscover some things we loved from the first run, but that had to be cut for time from the Fringe Festival. But, as always, the girls are kicking ass and it's going to be an incredible show."
Samantha Paige, Gabby Ashlin, and Emma Losey.
For those who may have seen Disenchanted the first (or even second) run, how would you say the show has evolved?
R: "It somehow gets funnier and funnier! I discover something new every rehearsal or performance that I watch. The more we do it and tweak things, the more these girls really embody their characters. I'm so proud of what we did in Round 1, but if you saw that show - I highly recommend coming again to see how these girls have grown in their roles."
The company of Disenchanted.
What is it about this show that draws fresh audiences in over and over again?
R: "IT IS SO FUNNY. I can't even explain it to you - this script kills me. And the girls kill this script. We have such an overwhelming amount of talent up on that stage. And it's timely - we need more shows that celebrate women.
And not just your stereotypical 'princesses' but women of all sizes, sexualities, colors, etc. And this show does an amazing job of doing that. (And, of course, selling [our specialty mixed drink] "Princess Punch" and getting our audiences all riled up to party definitely helps!)"
As Albrechtson shared above, Disenchanted is a hilarious (and cheeky) reinterpretation of the Disney princesses you know all too well, but this production has evolved into a living testament to women onstage. These area artists coming together again and again captures the spirit of true sisterhood which, as the show points out, seems lost in the glitz and glam of the Magic Kingdom. Catch Disenchanted this Thursday and Friday at SummerStage of Delafield!