Review: Tangled The Musical

There are many things that we are missing out on these days thanks to the extended lockdown order. For instance, Disney's remake of Mulan has been postponed indefinitely from its last August 21st release date. However, there are other things that the virus in Corona has brought to our towers that we may have never been able to experience otherwise. One of the most exciting is the professional recordings of Broadway shows that we can watch from the comfort of our own home. Disney joined in on this excitement earlier in the month when they released a professional recording of Hamilton on their Disney+ streaming service. They intend to follow up this new trend later in the year with a professional recording of their 2014 Aladdin Broadway musical. Three months ago, Disney shared an abridged "virtual viewing" of the Beauty and the Beast musical they produced for their cruise lines. Disney Cruise Line shows are roughly half the length of their Broadway productions but every bit as entertaining and spectacular. Today, they are allowing everyone with internet access to enjoy the Tangled musical from their cruise lines in its entirety.

I am incredibly excited that Disney is sharing this lovely show with audiences all over the world free of charge. As a big fan of the 2010 animated film, it is a pleasure to see it brought to life on stage. Created exclusively for Disney Cruise Lines, Tangled: The Musical is a one-hour retelling of the movie with a few additional songs from creative genius Alan Menken. The sets, costumes, and performances are a lovely tribute to the classic movie. I especially liked that they went in a new direction with Rapunzel's costume. Instead of recreating the purple dress from the film like they do at the Disney Parks, they gave her a more period-accurate pink dress that fades to purple at the bottom of the skirt with pink swirling patterns. This new direction on the character's design made the show feel more like a timeless retelling of the "Rapunzel" fairy tale instead of a carbon copy of the Disney movie.

The musical contains all of the songs from the film as well as a few extra ones. The original song that stuck with me the most was "Wanted Man" because it perfectly encapsulates Flynn Rider's personality. In the film, Flynn's only two solos were a romantic duet and a forced verse tacked onto the end of "I Have a Dream" after being held at swordpoint in the Snuggy Duckling. Neither of these songs successfully represented the image that his character conveyed for most of the film. "Wanted Man" is a catchy spectacle that accentuates Flynn's flair for showmanship and faux arrogance. I also liked when Rapunzel sang her epiphany as a reprise of several other songs from the film upon discovering that she was the lost princess.

At a time when Disney places an unseemly amount of dependence on projected images for their live shows, I fondly appreciated the practical sets that were used in the Tangled musical. Yes, there are some projections for parts that cannot be accurately portrayed otherwise, like Rapunzel's long plunge out of her tower, but most key scenes used physical props and backdrops. The inside of Rapunzel's tower was just as lovely and creative as it looked in the movie. It consisted of three heavily decorated walls draped all over in swirls of Rapunzel's long braid. This same aesthetic was used at Disneyland when Rapunzel came out for meet'n'greets while the movie was still in theaters. It's nice to see that the imagineered concept continues to delight audiences now that her original meet'n'greet area has been taken down.

Rapunzel's original meet'n'greet in Disneyland

As far as the specific performance used for the recording, I have to admit that it lacked the exuberance and energy of the voice actors from the original film. That is something I have come to expect from live shows because they can't do multiple takes like in film. The actors are fine for the roles they were given, but no one particularly stood out to me aside from perhaps Mother Gother. I still recommend watching this show at least once if you're a fan of Tangled. Why wouldn't you? It's free and only takes an hour! The show includes just enough of the main story elements for people to enjoy whether they have seen the film or not, and the shorter length eliminates the pacing issues that Disney on Broadway shows tend to have. All in all, I'm excited that this is now available to the public because it's a lot of fun and brings back some of the classical magic of live theater.


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