Cosplaying at the Broadway Princess Party

Some of you may recall reading about my experiences at the Broadway Princess Party last December at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. The show has picked up a lot of momentum since then. It now has a pages on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They have also extended their tour to even more venues across the country than ever. I didn't have a dire need to see the show again, but it was hard to resist when I learned that it was coming a local venue at half the price and encouraging cosplay with the incentive of prizes. Last night, I donned my Sofia the First dress, amulet, and tiara and headed out to Hollywood Improv to meet with a friend and see how the show has changed over the past few months.

The same three princesses were starring in the event as before--Laura Osnes, who headlined the revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella on Broadway, Susan Egan, who originated the role of Belle on Broadway and did the voice of Megara in Disney's Hercules, and Courtney Reed, who I saw perform as Jasmine when the Aladdin show went on tour in February. Benjamin Rauhala, the "Fairy Godfairy" who came up with the idea for the Broadway Princess Party, was just as vibrant as ever, backing up the girls on the piano. They sang most of the same songs and told the same stories as the last time I saw the show, but this time they did not change outfits into various evening gowns every few minutes. Their matching dresses in different colors were a nice fit for the show, but I did miss the glitz of the Costa Mesa version just a bit, especially the part when Laura Osnes used a balcony to pretend to be Rapunzel in her tower, which she wasn't able to do at this smaller venue.

I was particularly excited for the special guest at this show, Deedee Magno Hall, who plays Pearl in Cartoon Network's Steven Universe alongside Susan Egan as the (alleged) Rose Quartz. I didn't know what Deedee looked like aside from the show's poster, so when she walked out in a stunning Hawaiian-style gown with a big pink flower in her long flowing hair, it was a big moment for everyone. Another surprise is that it turned out Deedee was the first actress to play Jasmine at the recently retired Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular show at Disney's California Adventure. That show is particularly special to me because it was the first show I saw when I visited Disneyland, and it blew me away with its outstanding production values in a way that the Broadway version did not. Deedee sang a lovely rendition of "To Be Free," my favorite Jasmine song that originated in the stage show. Afterward, she and Susan (a.k.a. "Pearl" and "Rose Quartz") did a surprise duet of Bette Midler's famous song "The Rose," which is also special to me because I had made a Disney Princess music video to that song back in the day.

Cosplaying as Sofia the First turned out to be a struggle for me. I had a lot more trouble fitting into the dress than I did a couple of years ago when I made it. Apparently, the rumor that getting married causes people to put on weight is true! Due to the way we were seated, it was also very difficult for me to turn around get my food and drink from the table because my dress was so big at the bottom and tight at the top. I was rewarded for my efforts later, but not in the way I expected. When I saw the show in Costa Mesa, Laura Osnes asked everyone who dressed up to stand, and hardly anyone did. This time, like Ariel, I was ready to stand, but the request never happened. Instead, Susan Egan went around the room handing out prizes to people who were celebrating special occasions. She asked if anyone was there to celebrate a birthday, and so many people responded that she joked about them lying, but she didn't mind and gave them prizes anyway. After that, I suppose they had just about run out of prizes. Susan pointed out that she saw three princesses in my section and gave a prize to two energetic little girls who had come in costume. I was not specifically called out for my costume at any point during the show, which made me begin to regret attending in something so big and uncomfortable. Everyone else my age who dressed up was wearing more casual outfits that slightly resembled the princesses they portrayed, which is known as DisneyBounding.

After the show, we were invited to attend a popup shop outside where they were selling event merchandise, many of which was new from the last time I saw the show. The actresses' CDs and signed lithographs were still there along with Courtney Reed's choker designs, but now there were also t-shirts, mugs, and tote bags. The three princesses did not come out to sell them and meet everyone like they did in Costa Mesa. Instead, Adam Levy, the show's permanent guest prince, was trying to run the digital register and struggling with it humorously. I got a picture with him and was ready to leave when a young blonde girl approached me to comment on my costume. She looked a little familiar from some interviews I'd seen online, but I'm terrible with faces, so I didn't want to guess. As it turned out, she was none other than Darcy Rose Byrnes, who plays Princess Amber on Sofia the First! I excitedly began telling her all about my blog and asked if Sofia was going to have a fifth season, which she wasn't able to tell me. She was extremely friendly and was very excited to see an older fan of the show since she said she rarely ever meets Sofia fans. It turned out cosplaying that night wasn't such a waste of time after all!

The changes they made to the Broadway Princess Party since the last time I saw it turned out to be pretty minor. They talked about current events a little, such as the Royal Wedding, but aside from a new special guest and small prizes, it turned out to be pretty much the same show. Cosplaying did not improve my enjoyment, and I actually began to feel a little silly wearing such a big dress while trying to eat the food we were required to order for attending a show at Hollywood Improv. I wish I had a moment to stand up and show off my costume to the actresses and guests, but it all turned out to be worth it later when I met Darcy. That never would have happened if I hadn't dressed up. I don't think I will be seeing the Broadway Princess Party a third time if it comes back to town, but I do think it's worth seeing once for the princess in all of us.


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