a couple of women standing next to each other on a stage

Marathon is really lucky to have our Marathon Community Theatre. For quite a few decades — 80 years — this group of dedicated performers and volunteers has staged some pretty amazing productions. Whether comedies, dramas or musicals, our theater produces wonderful seasons of fantastic productions.

“Disenchanted!” is this season’s musical, and it ranks with the best the theater has ever done.

Sarah and I got to see “Disenchanted!” last weekend, and I was quite blown away by the quality of the production. For those unfamiliar with the play, it takes on the “fairy princess” stories from a more jaded perspective of life after the fairy tale ends. Directed by Trish Hintze, “Disenchanted!” fires on all cylinders and delivers one of the finest shows I’ve ever seen in local theater.

The casting is spot on. Abbi Colella is perfect as Snow White, and she serves as the Mistress of Ceremonies as she introduces each princess and helps them tell their stories of life after happily ever after. Kara Pascucci plays the role of Sleeping Beauty and barely wakes up in time to tell her story. Stephanie Zajac plays the role of Cinderella. As music director, Zajac is responsible for the musical timing and amazing harmonies this group of actors and singers pull off perfectly.

Aubrey Kehn plays the dual roles of the Little Mermaid and Hua Mulan. Leigh Sanchez also plays dual roles – hers are Rapunzel and Princess Badroulbadour (from “Aladdin”). Their quick backstage costume changes accent their talents at portraying the different characters. Karen Shotwell does a humorous turn as Pocahontas, with forest leaves tossed all around as she enters and exits the stage.

Two Marathon High School drama students play the remaining two characters and deserve special mention: Rylee Seligson plays Belle (from “Beauty and the Beast”) to a disturbed perfection — just don’t look into her eyes for too long. And Zyan Wiggins plays the Princess Who Kissed the Frog. Both these students add their incredible vocal and acting talents to the production.

Hats off to the direction and the talent that make “Disenchanted!” so worth seeing. A whole lot of time and rehearsal goes into pulling off such a seamless stage show. The cast’s timing is excellent, and the musical solos and harmonies are exquisite. These are credits to Hintze’s direction, Zajac’s musical direction and Lisa Scobba’s choreography. I can’t say enough just how good it was.

There are people who put in a great deal of time and effort offstage, and they are essential to putting on a show like this. They certainly deserve mention as well. Claudia McEwen is the producer for “Disenchanted!,” and Sherrie Schwab is the stage manager who keeps things moving backstage. Karen Foley was the prop mistress, with lots of props to keep moving to the right places. Nick Colella was the lighting technician, with Donna Nussenblatt handling the spotlight. John Schaefer ran the sound, assisted by Michael Wagner. Karen Diehl, Art Gauthier, Phil Vachon and Jason Naber built the set with their crew, with additional set painting done by Laura Naber. I’m sure there are names I am missing, and I know the entire theater comes together for each production. MCT is a great group of volunteers dedicated to making quality live theater happen here in the Middle Keys.

This weekend — April 4, 5 and 6 — is the final weekend of “Disenchanted!” I wish I had seen it previously so I could have written this column earlier in the run of this stellar production. Please don’t miss out. Get your tickets now and enjoy the final weekend of tarnished tiaras and jaded princesses live on the Marathon Community Theatre stage.

– Catch John live Thursdays at Sparky’s Landing, Friday night at Havana Jack’s, Sundays at Skipjack Tiki Bar, and this Monday at Havana Jack’s. Find his music anywhere you download or stream your music. •

John Bartus
Very few towns or cities could ever claim that their Mayor was a smokin' hot guitar player. The island city of Marathon in the Florida Keys is one of those towns. While politics is a temporary call to service, music is a life sentence. John Bartus, a more-than-four-decade full-time professional musician, singer, and songwriter, continues to raise the bar with his groundbreaking solo acoustic show. It’s easy to catch John on one of his more than 200 shows a year throughout the Keys on his Perpetual Island Tour. His CD releases include After The Storm, Keys Disease 10th Anniversary Remaster, and Live From the Florida Keys Vol. 2. John’s music is available wherever you download or stream your music.