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Disenchanted Opens at FPT Friday Night



Few things have stirred more feelings over the decades than the ubiquitous Disney princesses. But love them or hate them, most would agree they’re due the occasional spoofing. For those who would embrace such programming, your day has arrived. First Presbyterian Theater continues their 2022-23 season with Disenchanted, a saucy little take on the whole princess vibe, which opens Friday, October 14 and runs for two weekends on the beautiful First Presbyterian stage.

Well-known director Ranae Butler, who also serves as director of fine arts at Canterbury School, was asked by FPT director Todd Sandman-Cruz, to bring her talents to the project, envisioning an all-female cast and crew. And her team is, in fact, filled with talented women including Rae Surface as set designer, Nan Durant as stage manager, and Cristina White as choreographer. Musical director Gary Amstuts brings some different perspective to the show. Butler’s road to a popular voice in Fort Wayne theatre is somewhat unique.

“When I was in college, they gave us a test to see what our interests were,” Butler said. “I went to see my counselor to get the results and was told my test showed no consistent interests so the results were inconclusive. But they said ‘We think you should take a theatre class.”

There was magic in those words for the Purdue Fort Wayne student who now says the light bulb went off as soon as she started taking classes and participating in productions. When it came to Disenchanted, she didn’t immediately accept the project, having been previously unfamiliar with the story.

“I don’t usually have immediate answers when I see a script, but the idea of assembling an all-female production team is not something I get to do very often.”

While the show does feature several twists on iconic Disney princesses, Butler says she also has three unnamed princesses to round out the royal court. Working with the women in the cast and the crew has been a joy, one which many have questioned.



“It’s so bizarre because when I say I’m working with an all-female cast, people immediately say ‘Oh that must get catty!’ And nothing could be further from the truth. I can’t say enough about the amount of support these women have for each other. This is the closest-knit ensemble I’ve worked with in years and years. This cast is something very special, and I’m so happy this cast of women came together.”

And the cast helps cast the lives of these princesses in a different light.

“It’s a chance for the Disney princesses to tell us their story in their own voices ,” Butler said. “This time someone else isn’t controlling their narrative, and we can see the growth of these characters.”

Helping to transform them from the familiar to the slightly different are the costumes of another woman on the team, Alyssa Wellington.



“It’s been delightful to see these costumes come together,” Butler said. “There are vestiges of what we know of their costumes, but she’s done a fantastic job transforming them.”

Although not initially familiar with the show, Butler is all in on Disenchanted.

“This is such a funny show. People need to see it.”

For tickets to Disenchanted at First Presbyterian Theater, visit artstix.org or call (260) 422-4226.

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