Don’t you want to be evil? Robinson Secondary School’s production of “Disney’s Descendants: The Musical” made “evil” look better than it’s ever been in a kaleidoscope of nostalgia.
“Disney’s Descendants: The Musical,” originally adapted for the screen as a Disney Channel original movie, is an action-packed pop musical that follows the children of four infamous Disney villains’ Jafar, Cruella De Vil, Snow White’s Evil Queen, and Maleficent, the aftermath of all the Disney stories we know and love. Ben, the son of Beauty and the Beast’s Belle, is soon to be king of the sparkling happy-as-can-be kingdom Auradon, home to Disney heroes, royals, and their kin, a place where all “Evils” are banished. Ben’s first decree: let the Evils from the “Isle of the Lost” back in, starting with their children. But when Maleficent tasks her daughter (and her three friends) with the mischievous task of stealing a precious magic wand that will aid her global takeover, the children learn that being truly “good” isn’t about where you come from, but who you are inside.
Robinson Secondary did a fantastic job of conveying the Disney energy and lighthearted nature the show called for. Their technical design and execution were nothing short of magical with an extended thrust-style stage, dreamy projections (Charlie Hartigan, Arwyn Oshry, Ryan Birnbaum, and Dani Donathan), and a functional set (Ryan Birnbaum, Dani Donathan, and Eli Weaver) complete with a royal staircase fit for a princess.
Specifically, Robinson Secondary’s lighting design contributed to the show’s whimsical and upbeat tone, illuminating the stage floor with vibrant hues and shapes. Flashing strobes and colorful spotlights added an appropriate pop-concert vibe to the already high-energy show. It’s no doubt that Robinson’s lighting team, consisting of students Katie Eagan, Haley Novotny, and Zaya Economides, are the best of the best with production value rivaling Disney’s level of glitz and glamor.
Most notably, the show’s leading ladies Mal, the daughter of Maleficent, and Evie, the daughter of the Evil Queen, who were brilliant examples of taking the material you’re given and using it to own the stage. Given the musical itself caters entirely towards younger audiences, both actresses were tasked with upholding the Disney standard of wholesomeness and combining it with their characters’ inherent spunk and mischief. Undoubtedly, they succeeded. Evie, played by Kate Wamboldt, expertly portrayed her role’s character development while withholding Evie’s wicked upbringing, as well as navigating difficult riffs and modern pop music with ease. Wamboldt mastered the vocal style necessary for a Disney Channel show, as well as blending perfectly with protagonist Mal, Abby Camp.
Camp’s vocals were a huge highlight of the entire show, songs like “If Only” and “The Space Between” not only proving her vocal capabilities, but exceeding the musical expectations commonly associated with Disney comedies. Camp maintained constant bittersweet sarcasm that perfectly complimented her co-stars’ distinct personalities and established her character’s coolness from the very beginning. Abby Camp was undoubtedly the perfect choice to fill the shoes of this generation’s childhood favorite.
Overall, “Disney’s Descendants: The Musical” at Robinson Secondary was, as some might say, “wicked cool”.
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