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Yet — oy vey, indeed — that expression comes up often in “Rapunzarella White: A Fairly Fractured Tale,” a musical mash-up that seems to be set in Chelm, Jewish folklore’s renowned city of fools, rather than in any Grimm kingdom. But you don’t have to know Yiddish to enjoy the action, narrated by Herschel (Mark Singer), a haimish tailor. Playing at the 13th Street Repertory Theater, the production combines “Rapunzel,” “Cinderella” and “Snow White” into an hour of silliness that celebrates its source material at the same time that it spoofs it.
Written by June Rachelson-Ospa and Daniel Neiden, and directed by Mr. Neiden, “Rapunzarella White” relates the story of Millicent (Breena Beck), a queen who gives birth to triplets. Her witchy twin, Winifred (Marlain Angelides), who’s never forgiven her for stealing and marrying Winifred’s boyfriend, makes the girls disappear. (They’re played in infancy by three bright balloons nestled in a basket; the balloons that comically burst in sequence as Winifred recites her evil spells.) Winifred tells the queen that she won’t see her daughters again until their true loves say “Rapunzarella White” to them simultaneously.
The girls — Rapunzel, Cinderella and Snow White — grow up to suffer in the same ways as those original heroines. But here, Rapunzel (Alia Munsch) has a bratty nature; Cinderella (Ms. Beck) is a klutz; and Snow White (Schuyler Midgett) develops a disturbingly voracious appetite.
Their potential husbands, the Rosenbutter brothers — Brandon Duncan, Derek Bado and Brent Hildreth — possess even less charm than brains. Instead of a fairy godmother, Cinderella acquires a fairy godbrother — Mr. Bado again, dressed like Liberace, with a personality to match — and a prospective mother-in-law, Rhoda (a hilarious Mr. Duncan in drag), who resembles Phyllis Diller more than she does a Disney queen.
These characters’ adventures unfold briskly, aided by actors who adeptly switch roles and by a score that gallops merrily through musical genres. The high points include jazzy ballads like Rhoda’s “Free Yesserie” and Snow White’s “Please Don’t Feed Me Apples,” both belted with a backup chorus.
Although much of the broad humor seems directed toward adults, “Rapunzarella White” has enough interactive moments and physical comedy to delight little ones. They’ll get a happy ending, too, as long as they don’t mind young royals whose love — oy vey — isn’t quite like a fairy tale.
Fractured fairy tales are tales that are designed to be humorous by changing the original story in an unexpected way, changing a familiar character, or adding a modern twist. I recently took my kids to see Rapunzarella White and boy, did we all have fun with this version of the three classics.
As you can guess from the title, Rapunzarella White is a tale that combines the stories of Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Snow White. In the plot the three princesses are actually triplets. A witch steals them from their mother and casts a spell on each one. Each princess has to deal with her own quirks, while trying to find a prince to marry at the same time.
I found the plot easy to follow and my kids seemed to pick up on most of what was going on. The show was very light and peppered with jokes for kids, for parents or both, so the atmosphere was fun and up beat. Some of the jokes were actually pretty clever and, as expected, the supporting cast stole the show, with Marlene Angelides a Winnifred, the evil witch, and Brandon Duncan as the hysterical Rhoda. The music was very catchy and up beat and each member of the cast was simply incredible to listen to. I loved the different range of voices and eclectic style of music with each song.
Show Review: Rapunzarella White: A Fractured Fairy Tale
By Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman
Ever since my kids were very young I have been reading to them all of the classic fairy tales in many different versions. From the shortest board book to the abridged copy for school-aged children. They know many of these stories like the back of their hand, which is why having them watch parodies or fractured fairy tales is a fun way to get them to think outside the box.
The story follows the destinies of Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Snow White, triplets stolen from their mother, Millicent, played by Alice Van Heusen, by her sister, Winifred, played by Marlain Angelides, in retribution for the theft of a boyfriend. Winifred, transformed into a witch, casts an evil spell on the three infants, hurling them into their own fairy tales.
The setup for this fractured tale is told by – wait for it – Herschel, the Fairy “Tailor.” Complete with Yiddish accent, Herschel, who claims to be a dwarf, is played by the nearly six-foot and aptly named Mark Singer. Herschel explains what’s to come in the opening number, “Oy Vey.” While kids may miss the subtleties of this ethnic gambit, the “folksbeine” spin and punning provide adults – especially New Yorkers of a certain age – with something to laugh about.
Running at a kid-friendly 60 minutes, there are levels of folkloric nonsense and bits that will appeal to all ages. Younger kids especially find the physical humor most appealing. Physicality is a large part of the show, and director Neiden has wisely made it so. “Rapunzarella White” is performed without a set, and with a limited number of props; it’s up to the actors by virtue of exaggerated movement (and the necessity of excellent annunciation) to convey the story line. This they do with varying degrees of success. The strongest member of the cast is Angelides, whose authoritative witch is one you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark wood anytime soon.
Rapunzarella White: A Fairly Fractured Tale
March 30, 2015
Review by Marilyn Lester, Theater Pizzazz!
The ancient tradition of the folk tale has long-provided fertile ground for adaptation. Stephen Sondheim’s notable example, “Into The Woods,” combines the stories of several well-known tales. In “Rapunzarella White,” authors June Rachelson-Ospa (book and lyrics) and Daniel Neiden (music) have constructed a kind of mini-me of that 1986 Sondheim mashup.
From left, Alia Munsch, Marlain Angelides and Schuler Midgett star in "Rapunzarella White," at the 13th Street Repertory Theater.
Photographs courtesy of Irene Kaufman
Alia Munsch, Lorelei Mackenzie, Schuyler Midgett
Rapunzarella White - A Children’s Show That is also for Adults
Posted by Suzanna Bowling
Date: Sunday, February 8, 2015
When I was young, I was addicted to the re-runs of Fractured Fairy Tales, an animated series that was part of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show from the 60’s. In Fractured Fairy Tales the tales were flipped upside down, with modern twists and altered story lines. Yesterday, I went to see RAPUNZARELLA WHITE at the 13th Street Repertory Theater at 50 West 13th St. (between 5th & 6th Ave). This winning musical from the Midtown Children’s Musical Theater Festival, by June Rachelson-Ospa (who also has another show, TRIANGLE, at the 13th St. Rep) and Daniel Neiden (TEMPEST THE MUSICAL at Cherry Lane Theater) is clever, sarcastic and will have your children enthralled. In the performance I saw, the children got all the jokes and surprised me at how sophisticated they were.
RAPUNZARELLA WHITE follows three baby triplets, Rapunzel (Alia Munsch), Cinderella (Wilmari Myburgh), and Snow White (Schuyler Midgett) who are cursed, stolen and made miserable by their mother’s angry sister (Leslie C. Nemet). Each Princess is gets her own fractured fairy tale, while awaiting her rescue by her own personal, bumbling Prince (Matthew Cohen, Brandon Duncan, and Brent Hildreth). The narrator (Mark Singer) rounds out the cast.
What makes this show so appealing is these prince and princess are not perfect; they are flawed and give children a realistic picture of life. The morals are hidden in snarky upbeat tones that engage the children. The cast is extremely talented, and the lyrics by Ms. Ospa and direction by Neiden were both well done. It really doesn’t matter what critiques I have, the biggest critics, the children were thoroughly entertained and that’s what makes this a show worth seeing.
Spare Times for Children for May 22-28
By LAUREL GRAEBER MAY 21, 2015
You expect certain phrases in fairy tales: “Once upon a time,” “true love’s kiss,” “happily ever after.” But “oy vey”?
Mark Singer, Brandon Duncan, Alia Munsch, Brent Hildreth, Lorelei Mackenzie, Schuyler Midgett, Matthew Joshua Cohen
Marlain Angelides as "Winifred."
True to convention, the triplets – Rapunzel in her tower, played by Deanna Giuletti; the abused step-child, Cinderella, played by Van Heusen; and the apple-poisoned Snow White, played by Schuyler Midgett – can only be released from the curse when three Princes find them and simultaneously declare their love for the girls. The mean old witch may think that’s an impossibility, but we know better, especially since the Fairy Tailor has promised a happy ending.
The three heroes who save the day are King Rosenbutter’s boys (Singer doubles as the King), the bumbling but charming Princes Barry, Beau and Burly Bob, played respectively by Matthew Joshua Cohen, Brandon Duncan and Justin Chesney. With plenty of comic turns, and helped along by Herschel and a little magic, goodness prevails, with lessons learned, wrongs righted and love triumphant. But life is not perfect, and that’s a subtle lesson that unfolds too. Fairy Tailor Herschel makes good on his promise of a happy ending, but alas, he’s still a dwarf and always will be.
The enthusiastic, energetic and committed cast relate sensitively to children in the audience, encouraging them to learn, laugh and be enchanted. Pianist Noriko Sunamoto, under Music Supervisor Charles Czarnecki, plays with fervor, assisted with percussion by Justin Chesney. Production Stage Managers are Derek Bado and Veronica Peredes. “Rapunzarella White” is produced by Bozomoon Productions in association with The Telling Company.
Rapunzarella White, Saturdays at 1 pm and Sundays at 12 pm through May 10, 2015
13th Street Repertory Theater, 50 West 13th St., 212-352-3101, www.13thstreetrep.org
Mark Singer as "Herschel, the Fairy Tailor
Brandon Duncan, Mark Singer, Matthew Joshua Cohen, and Brent Hildreth