Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Modern Fairy Tales

by Gina Ardito

Photo by  Matthew Murphy
Courtesy of Playbill
This past weekend, my daughter and I went to see a quirky musical called Disenchanted! It's an ensemble tale, told by a few famous storybook princesses who want to set the record straight on that whole Happily Ever After rumor. (Can I just say we loved it? We had a fantastic time and laughed A LOT.) 

In the space of an hour and forty minutes (the amount of time the fairy godmother would allot), these fed-up ladies tackle such subjects as their figures (buxom on top and waistlines narrower than their necks), breaking the color barrier, changing the annals of history to make a heroine into a princess (Spoiler alert: the real Pocahontas was 12 when she met John Smith!), and being happy with yourself no matter how different you are. It's a fabulous, raucous show, and I highly recommend it (but you better go fast; it closes this coming weekend!)

When my husband learned we'd bought our tickets, he asked me, "What is the fascination between you girls and fairy tales?"

I understood his confusion. The week before, my daughter and I couldn't wait to see Into the Woods at the movies. We're rabid fans of Once Upon a Time on television, we saw the Maleficent movie opening night, and we're obsessed with Wicked on Broadway. And of course, let's face it. I'm a romance writer. I'm totally invested in the whole Happily Ever After scenario.

From the time we're little girls, most of us are fed these fairy tales where, if we're good enough, pure enough, thin enough, a handsome prince will come rescue us and we'll live the dream life. But in the last decade or so, writers have been turning these fairy tales around with wonderful results. Nowadays, we're seeing the heroine slay the dragon and rescue the prince; strong, smart, and capable females who don't need a man to complete them; and characters who aren't all good or all bad, but a little bit of both. You know. Real-life humans. 

And just like for real-life humans, Happily Ever After comes with hard work, a few tears, sharing the good times and struggling through the bad times together. Today's princesses don't sit around singing with woodland creatures, while waiting for their prince to come for them. They go out and create their own happy endings. I wonder what stories will be told about these new princesses to future generations.

13 comments:

  1. I would love to see this play. It sounds like a hoot!! Love the modern explantions! Wish it would be around longer

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  2. Love this post, Gina - and love the trend in princesses. The play sounds fantastic.

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  3. Hi ladies! It's a great show. They do travel, so keep an eye on your local theater to see if you can catch it near you. It's well worth the trip.

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  4. Hi Gina--
    Nice post. It's great to have fairy tales turned upside down to show heroines as strong and capable like real-life women. I'm enjoying this trend as well. And I'm a HUGE fan of the Broadway play, Wicked!
    Victoria--

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    1. Thanks,Victoria. Yay, another Wicked fan! ;-)

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  5. Sounds like a really fun show. I hope it comes near us sometime.

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    1. It's very funny. Especially if you know your Disney princesses!

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  6. Gina, I enjoyed your post. Yes, today's princesses are cut from a different cloth than those many of us grew up with. And my three little granddaughters keep reminding me about just how special princesses can be.

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    1. How sweet, Sydell. I'm looking forward to sharing princess qualities with my grandkids one day. Not too soon! LOL!

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  7. Love it, Gina. We all love the fantasy aspect of romance, but it's so GOOD that we have stories out there now that temper that fantasy into a more achievable (and healthier!) reality.

    And Disney has taken steps in the right direction in recent years. Heroines are a lot more likely to be strong and independent, and heroes, more likely to be flawed and funny as their future mate teaches them a thing or two! ("Mulan" comes to mind, although she's not a princess. But it's a goodie!)

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    1. Oh, what they do to Mulan in Disenchanted! She's actually one of my favorite characters in the play. She's a twist you don't see coming and yet, makes perfect sense. :-)

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  8. Disenchanted sounds cute! And yes, I can't resist a good fairy tale. Wicked. Yes, I'm a HUGE fan! :)

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    1. I believe we have a Wicked sisterhood here at Classic and Cozy. There sure seem to be a lot of us.

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