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Carnegie's "Disenchanted!" Explores After "Happily Ever After"

The prince rescues the princess. They embrace. He effortlessly lifts her onto his horse or into his carriage. They gaze speakingly into each other’s eyes for a suitable moment. They ride off into the sunset to happily ever after.

Not.

Disenchanted! is next up at The Carnegie, in a regional premiere beginning March 25. It musically skewers almost a dozen, mostly animated heroines (definitely not inspired by Disney, because if it were it could invite a lawsuit…) and created in the proud tradition of fringe festivals. What comes after happily-ever after? Eating disorders, alcoholism, and being stuck at the castle doing housework.

Warning! Disenchanted! is oh-so-rude “feminism-lite” writes The New York Times. Don’t bring the kids.

It’s only right that Snow White, who began it all, is at the center of the revue. Sara Kenny, a Carnegie veteran (you saw her earlier this season in The Music Man) and a proud grad of Northern Kentucky University, plays the uber-princess. She recently “put on my big girl pants” and moved to a studio apartment in Newport.

Kenny is loving Disenchanted! “I just told someone the other day. I feel like this is maybe how the Saturday Night Live cast feels when they have rehearsals leading up to the live show. I have never had so much fun with a cast and crew before.”

Kenny keeps very busy on area stages (fitting acting gigs around her corporate day job). Disenchanted!, she says, “is probably one of the hardest shows I've ever done.

“It's hard channeling your inner (Kenny says the “D” word which shall not be named for fear of a cease and desist order) Princess when you're someone like me, but ladies – she is in there!" (Kenny really does talk in capital letters and exclamation points.)

“And, no, I don't mean an "ingenue" Princess," Kenny said. "An actual realistic, relatable woman. Sassy, brassy, bossy, leading, loud, strong, sexy, empowered. She is everything I want to be in my everyday daily life. She sets an example of what it is to be a strong independent woman and I am all about that life. “

After graduating from NKU, Kenny went on to the intern program at Ensemble Theatre and then on to New York for a six-month “test period” before returning for a show contract in Cincinnati.

“I lived in Harlem, went to some auditions, got a feel for the city, and did the ever so famous, various temp jobs.”

She came home and decided to stay here. “I never realized till I was there how much of a Midwestern gal I am (with some sassy spunk might I add).”

A key part of Kenny’s decision to come home was her nephew Teddy, who was a toddler when she left, first for a summer gig in Iowa before leaving for NYC. “When I came back at the end of the summer he was still non-verbal. Shortly after that we learned that Teddy was on the autism spectrum. After that diagnosis, I wanted to be in Cincinnati as a support system for my amazing sister and for my darling nephew.”

After her time away, Kenny returned to Cincinnati to find “amazing shows, amazing theatres, movies, so many opportunities! I realized that I can work my corporate job and do shows and quite possibly even decide to go Equity here in town at some point.

“The Cincy theatre scene is making it work for everyone here.”

(Up next? Probably Cincinnati Fringe, TBD.) “I want to perform here, I want to perform for Teddy here. I know as he gets older I'll be on stage somewhere and my darling Teddy will get to see his aunt perform.”

So – what’s the life lesson in Disenchanted!? Animated princesses always come with a life lesson.

“Be your authentic self,” Kenny instructs, “don' let anyone try to dim your light.” And of course, “People aren't always what they seem.” (Especially charming princes.)

Disenchanted!, March 25-April 9. The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm, and Sunday. Tickets $28, students $21. 859-957-1940 and www.thecarneie.com

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts
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