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Disney Princess concert tour kicks off at Orpheum in Wichita


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Sunday’s concert at The Orpheum kicks off the 80-plus city tour for “Disney Princess – The Concert”

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A title like “Disney Princess – The Concert” conjures images of Snow White, Belle and Elsa singing their songs in character.

But rather the concert, Sunday afternoon at the Orpheum Theatre, will have four female performers — all with Disney Broadway shows on their resume — singing the tunes and reminiscing with each other in between.

“It’s like the Rat Pack meets Disney music,” said Anneliese van der Pol, who will take the stage with Susan Egan, Arielle Jacobs and Syndee Winters.

The Orpheum concert kicks off the 80-plus city tour for “Disney Princess.” The performers have been in rehearsal in Wichita since Tuesday.

Van der Pol, whom Disney Channel audiences recognize as Chelsea on “That’s So Raven” and “Raven’s Home,” played Belle in “Beauty and the Beast” when it closed on Broadway in 2007.

Five years ago, Egan, who originated Belle on Broadway, began concerts called “Broadway Princess Party” at Feinstein’s/54 Below, a New York City cabaret. Van der Pol joined the cast one year in.

“I got to see it really evolve into this Disney show that’s going on tour to 84 cities,” she said. “It’s insane.”

Last year, the Walt Disney Co. purchased the concept.

“It’s a genius idea,” van der Pol said. “I can’t believe Disney didn’t think about it on its own.”

She predicts the concert format will expand to Disney Princes and performances devoted to individual movies.

Van der Pol was already close to two of her three co-stars and had several mutual friends with the other.

“These girls are my friends in real life, so being with them in rehearsals is amazing and being on stage with them is even better,” she said. “You can feel the energy that we’re actual friends.”

Early rehearsals and discussions took place over Zoom.

“I just love being with these women,” van der Pol said. “It’s really female-forward in the best of ways, at a time during COVID where we have to really embrace each other and kindness and the bravery to be kind.”

The combination of glamorous gowns and atmosphere and classic Disney songs make it a show for all ages, van der Pol said.

“Honestly, this is why the show and Susan is so smart,” she said. “This is a show that adults, parents, grandparents can take their children, and both will equally enjoy a great deal. The songs are familiar to all ages, and if they’re not familiar to young ones they will become familiar with them immediately.”

Visual memories of the shows are provided by a 40-foot screen on stage.

“If the young ones are getting bored, they’re getting this eye candy to watch while we’re singing,” van der Pol said.

Most of the songs keep their tempos from the movie versions, she said, with arrangements to accommodate all four of the performers singing some of them.

“The nostalgia of it’s beautiful because you’re hearing songs you’ve heard before, but you haven’t heard them in four-part harmony by four Broadway singers,” van der Pol said. “Those belting notes are insane done in harmony.”

An onstage music director at a piano leads the singers, with a recorded orchestra to back them up.

Van der Pol’s big break came when she was 16 and won the part of Chelsea, the title character’s best friend, in the “Raven” shows.

“You can take the girl off Disney Channel, but you can’t take Disney out of the girl,” she said.

Born in the Netherlands, the 37-year-old van der Pol said following the tour she will return to her routine of teaching, performing and auditioning.

“I’m just always appreciative of the next show,” she said.

Disney Princess – The Concert

When: 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30

Where: Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway

Tickets: $49-$69, at selectaseat.com or 855-755-7328





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