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Myra Chanin Headshot

Last Chance to Be Enchanted by 'Disenchanted: Bitches of the Kingdom' at Don't Tell Mama

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Getty Images/Disney
Getty Images/Disney

Joey Reynolds, long time national late night radio talk show host, often said that I would go to the opening of an envelope. He was mistaken. I would only go to the opening of an envelope if the paper was 50% linen. He actually meant that I had a propensity for discovering major talent in comparatively minor venues. Climbing four flights of stairs to see stars-in-training was always A-OK with me.

The future of Broadway via original musical or theatrical ventures is always welcomed at lesser known/more easily funded spots like Manhattan's off-off-Broadway Performing Arts Center, a.k.a. Don't Tell Mama at 346 W. 46th Street on Restaurant Row. Don't Tell Mama was established in 1982 as a piano bar, but it's now turned into a New York entertainment landmark with two additional Cabaret rooms -- one petite and one grand -- and a restaurant that serves value-laden meals at reasonable prices before, during and after any of their Cabaret shows.

And it was in the Major Cabaret Room at Don't Tell Mama that last week I stumbled into Disenchanted a.k.a. Bitches of the Kingdom, which has been schlepping around and selling out in cities like Orlando, Philadelphia, Syracuse, Sarasota and Rochester and now in New York. In other words I once again bore witness to the opening of an envelope that contained 97% linen.

Bitches of the Kingdom is about Disney burnout; about peeved Disney princesses like Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan and the Little Mermaid. The songs are by Dennis Giacino and he accompanies the princess/bitches on piano and provides a running commentary outlining the plot of the future off-Broadway show.

As a grandmother who bought her only granddaughter two @#$%^! Belle costumes at the Disney Store which cost more than 200 grams of Iranian caviar, I think Dennis should add a song sung by a cynical Bubbie with a granddaughter -- oy vey, the child of an astrophysicist no less -- who really believes that princesses lived happily ever after. Little does she know what a pain it is for Belle to always be cleaning up the Beast's poop.

Another princess with feet of clay is Mulan, probably a lesbian, which explains why she's the only princess without a prince. Alas, they all also have to remain very thin but very busty, and they all dream about a eating endless amounts of Häagen-Dazs.

These concepts, conceits and songs appealed to everyone in a demographically mixed audience, regardless of ages, sexual orientation, ethnic background, height or weight. The room at Don't Tell Mama is packed with a roaring, cheering audience. It's really a very quirky review, unusual today, but which in the 50s were all over midtown at no longer existent clubs like Bon Soir and Upstairs at the Downstairs who introduced talent like Barbara Streisand that was always obviously superstar material.

The show has been selling out at Don't Tell Mama, so one extra performance has been added at 7 p.m. on Thursday night, July 18. If you can, point your feet over to 46th Street and hear these beautiful and talented bitches give voice to their bitter disagreements with today's pop culture. Otherwise you'll have to wait till 2013 when it opens off-Broadway.