Murray's Playhouse in the Park Presents Two Weekends of "Descendants: The Musical"
Murray's Playhouse in the Park presents Disney's Descendants: The Musical, a bold, colorful, and character-filled show based on the popular Disney Channel Original movies. Stage manager and assistant director Corrie Johnson speaks with Tracy Ross about the show, cast, and their upcoming performances starting Thursday, April 15th.
From the Playhouse in the Park website:
"It is present-day, and in the kingdom of Auradon, all of Disney's beloved heroes and royalty are living happily ever after, safe from the terrifying villains and troublesome sidekicks they have banished to the magic-free Isle of the Lost.
That is until Ben, the benevolent teenage son of Belle and King Adam, offers a chance of redemption for the troublemaking offspring of the evilest villains. Mal, Evie, Jay, and Carlos--the children of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella De Vil, and Jafar--have a difficult choice to make: should they follow in their parents' wicked footsteps or learn to be good?"
Descendants: The Musical is a stage adaptation of all three Descendants films. Johnson describes the stage show as a "really fun conglomeration" with "great musical scores. We didn't want to leave out our favorite songs in the stage play, so I love that the stage writers...really pulled in a lot of those great numbers from the subsequent sequels. We have a little bit of everything and a really nice, blended storyline."
The seamless combination of all three films is further solidified by Playhouse's use of the Descendants' signature eye-catching, colorful set and costume designs. "Our costumers have worked really hard to bring a lot of those colors in, both for character development as well as it's just visually stunning. The audience will not be disappointed with what they see," Johnson says.
"We're relying on some very creative, imaginative storytelling with our set-piece design," she continues. "We have to be mindful of the space that we have at the [Rotary] Amphitheater. We use some very simplistic pieces to set entire scenes. We're taking a cue from Hamilton by using the actors onstage to give us some very raw scene transitions by moving pieces off and on while scenes are still happening. That's pretty cool."
In addition to acting as both cast and crew, Johnson says the Descendants cast is one of the most talented Playhouse has seen in recent years. "We've pushed them well beyond their comfort zones to accomplish what we know they're completely capable of," Johnson says. "Each cast member in this has truly stepped beyond their comfort zone, willing to try new things, willing to do whatever it is we've asked of them, to create a show that is absolutely dynamite and that we are proud of."
"Anybody familiar with Descendants is going to want to know a lot about the VKs, our Villain Kids. Skylar Swalls plays Mal, Dylan Covington plays Carlos, Caleb Yale plays Jay, and Lucy Mitchell plays Evie. These four have created this really tight, very talented [dynamic]. They're hypnotic to watch. You're drawn into how each of these kids truly embodies the character that they've been given," Johnson says.
"They have been not only extremely talented in their role, but as leaders of the cast," she continues. "We have an enormous ensemble that not only supports the leads but looks up to them. These four have done a really excellent job of leading the way in creating an excellent show by helping be the backbone for an exceptional cast. That's been really fun to watch."
Murray's Playhouse in the Park will present Descendants: The Musical at the Rotary Amphitheater in Murray-Calloway Central Park. The schedule is slightly varied this year. See showtimes below:
• Thursday, April 15th, and Friday, April 16th, at 7 pm
• Saturday, April 17th, at 11 am
• Sunday, April 18th, at 7 pm
• Thursday, April 22nd, and Friday, April 23rd, at 7 pm
• Saturday, April 24th, at 2:30 pm and 7 pm
• Sunday, April 25th at 7 pm
"[Descendants] might be the best show that Playhouse puts on this year," Johnson says. "I'm really proud of all the work these cast members have put in. It's a fun, dynamite show. If you miss out on it, it's your loss. The choreography, the music in it, is absolutely stunning. I don't think you'll be able to sit in your seat and hold still. It's an incredibly fun show, and we're very, very proud of it."