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July, 2015

True Love’s Kiss: Sunaina Suhag’s Most Dreamy Disney Dudes

by Sunaina Suhag, Happily Ever After cast member

True love’s kiss brings people back to life, overcomes evil, and is the most powerful magic on Earth! It’s no wonder, then, that the heroines of Disney might enjoy a little romance. Here’s a look at the Disney princes who inspire us in the Hideout Theatre’s improvised musical Happily Ever After, showing Saturdays at 8 pm!




5. Flynn Rider

Oh, Eugene Fitzherbert, you never fail to amuse me. He’s a cocky, but dashing, thief who ultimately wins over Rapunzel’s heart. However, before he was ‘Flynn Rider,’ he was actually ‘Hot Man.’ The directors of Tangled gathered roughly thirty female employees to discuss their favorite male celebrities and most attractive male physical attributes, ultimately collecting hundreds of pictures of men to design Flynn Rider. So, let’s be real, he’s got a lot to be arrogant about. Luckily Rapunzel takes none of his hot air and their love blossoms from mutual honesty and respect.

4. Prince Eric

I want to marry Prince Eric. He’s a skilled mariner who doesn’t let his princely lifestyle keep him from doing real work, he’s got an ADORABLE dog, Max, and he falls in love with Ariel when she saves him. How’s that for a real man? Prince Eric is not the kind of guy who just falls in love with a pretty girl, after all it’s revealed in the film that he’s already turned down one princess because she just wasn’t the one. Plus, the man plays the flute. I’m all about a prince with hobbies.

3. Li Shang

Shang was quick to judge Mulan when he found out she was a woman, but was also quick to apologize when she proved how capable she was. He’s a quiet, too-logical leader who really benefitted from Mulan’s emotional intelligence. They take their relationship at a slow and reasonable pace: There’s no kiss at the end of the movie, just a really romantically charged family dinner. Also, he’s mad dreamy, am I right? Man buns are IN, y’all.

2. Simba

Simba! SIMBA! The Lion King! Who could not love the good natured, courageous prince who took his inspiration from the level-headed and intelligent Nala? She didn’t shy away from knocking some sense into him when he was in his hippie-dippie ‘Hakuna Matata’ phase — and he listened. Then they saved the pride lands! Hooray! Simba’s the kind of prince who you’d let take you hiking, even if you don’t really like hiking, because you like how much he likes it. Then he’d probably let you take him to your favorite brunch place because he’s all about treating you like an equal.

1. Aladdin

*Sigh* Aladdin. I can honestly say he was my first love. After being orphaned at the age of 2, Aladdin wasn’t able to get an education and thus had to turn to thieving, though he would have preferred otherwise. He’s fun-loving, optimistic and selfless when life has handed him some pretty terrible cards. He uses his last wish to set Genie free, even though it means he can’t marry Princess Jasmine because he isn’t a prince himself. His selflessness and integrity prove his worthiness and the Sultan ultimately changes the law so they can marry. Plus he rocks that vest in a modest “I know I have abs, but I’m not trying to show off it’s just really hot in Agrabah” kind of way. I’m into it.

Who’s YOUR favorite Disney prince? Do you love the hilarious street-rat or the dreamy mariner? Come see Happily Ever After, Saturdays at 8 pm and root for true love’s kiss! Whoever the new prince may be, he’ll be worth falling for.

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Studying the Beasts: Erin Molson’s Top 5 Animal Sidekicks

by Erin Molson, Happily Ever After cast member

We all get by with a little help from our friends. And the princes and princesses of Disney are no different! Their animal companions help them land the guy, get to where they need to be, or just provide companionship when they need it most. In honor of the Hideout’s newest show, Happily Ever After, showing Saturdays at 8pm, I would like to take a moment to celebrate the top five animal sidekicks in Disney films.



5.   Flounder

Man, this fish is loyal! Ariel drags him to shark-infested waters and makes an agreement with a sea witch to get her human and the entire time Flounder is right by her side.  However, he never wavers in his support of his buddy as she woos her man. He even sticks up for Ariel to her imposing father! Of course he kinda slips and calls her out, but his heart is in the right place.  What Flounder lacks in eloquence, he makes up for in loyalty.

4. Abu

This monkey is so adorable in his little vest that he would also make the top five list of Best Dressed Monkeys. Abu is so sassy and resourceful and always sticks by his buddy. Aladdin even calls him out in his song “You’re my only friend, Abu.” Living the life of a street rat ain’t easy, but it sure is easier with a monkey who performs acrobatic flips and steals swords to help you escape guards that want to cut your hand off.

3. Timon and Pumbaa

Now this is a twofer because these two are inseparable. Timon and Pumbaa befriended Simba when he needed it most. They even taught him a new motto to help live his life by. And eventually, when Simba had to confront his past, they even helped him despite their hippie, vegetarian, and flatulent ways.

 2. Pascal 

A lizard of no words, this little guy is the best friend a girl in a tower could ask for. He endures countless indignities to help her friend overcome her boredom – he models a dress, he is her ventriloquist dummy, he gets knitted inside a bunch of yarn, but still his love for his friend shines through. Most importantly, HE STRAIGHT UP TRIPS MOTHER GOTHEL AND SENDS HER TO HER DEATH. It’s always the quiet ones.

 1. Ray

The Princess and the Frog is my favorite Disney movie. I love the music and the fact that the main female character’s dream is not to fall in love and marry but to own her own restaurant. But the character I fell in love with is Ray, the Cajun lightning bug who is in love with the North Star.  While he isn’t with Tianna on her entire adventure, he guides them down the Bayou and eventually (SPOILER ALERT) sacrifices his tiny body to protect his friends.  Also, he has the greatest line ever found in any movie (sorry Casablanca); “Don’t make me light my butt!” How could you not love Ray?

Who is your favorite Disney animal sidekick? Would you like to meet a completely new furry friend? Come see Happily Ever After, Saturday nights at 8pm and you never know who will pop out to help the protagonist achieve their dreams!

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Divinity of Hell: The Top Five Disney Villains

by Jordan T. Maxwell

Our latest mainstage is “Happily Ever After“, a fully improvised Disney musical. Come see Jordan as the protagonist this weekend, July 18 at 8pm.

What is good without evil?  A light that casts no shadow?  A hero without a villain?  A very boring story, for one thing.  Villains spur the hero on their journey, provide the obstacles they must overcome and the trials they must prove themselves through, give them an ultimate figure to vanquish to bring the story to its thrilling conclusion.  Villains give us a safe space to channel our darker natures, someone as flawed, cruel, mischievous, and righteous as ourselves to embrace while we root for the hero we wish we could be.  And so often, they get the coolest lines, or songs!  Here are the Top Five Disney Villains!

5.  Jafar


The sinister vizier of Aladdin is a schemer of the highest order, seeking ultimate power through his pawns and proxies, manipulating the Sultan through hypnosis and casting men to their early demise in search of the infinite cosmic power of the lamp and its captive Genie.  Once it is within his grasp, though, his heightening hunger for limitless power proves his undoing.  In stark contrast to the hero as the prophesied “diamond in the rough,” Jafar is the rot among the treasure.  Also, never trust a man whose familiar is named after one of Shakespeare’s greatest villains!

4.  Ursula


The Little Mermaid‘s bombastic sea witch is the archetype from which all other great modern Disney villains are derived.  With a stunning visual design, a sweeping and sinister ballad all her own, and enough personality to drown…well…a mermaid, it’s easy to forget how flimsy her motivations are.  She’s evil because she was exiled, and she was exiled because she’s evil.  Her plans are so blatant that only the hopelessly insecure or naive lovesick teenagers could possibly fall for them.  And even knowing all of that, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch her work once she’s on a roll!

3.  Shan Yu


An under appreciated villain from an underrated film, Shan Yu leads the invading armies that inspire Mulan to defend her family and nation.  A hulking brute, he is shown throughout the film to be an almost inhuman creature of cunning and cruelty.  He is fearless and mocks the Emperor’s scouts (sorry, scout) and elite armies to stop him.  For all the evil he shows in his moments on screen, it is the invisible and implied moments left unseen that truly mark him as one of the most imposing villains in the Disney canon.  In truth, it’s only his lack of a memorable villain song that keeps him from ranking higher in this list…but don’t tell him I said that!

2.  Maleficent


Even with the recent softening of her origins in her eponymous live action retelling, the wicked sorceress of Sleeping Beauty remains the first truly great villain of the Disney canon and the gold standard against which all future antagonists must be measured.  In her turn both eerily cool and furious with rage, Maleficent is a dark mistress of all magicks, commanding fires, storms, thorns…and, oh yeah, she can turn into A FREAKING DRAGON!  Her design is instantly memorable.  Her performance is purely impeccable.  Her powers are flatly incomparable.  And yet…only the number two spot?  My, my, what an awkward situation…

1.  Scar


While the other contenders on this list exemplify the greatness of the tradition of Disney villains, The Lion King‘s Scar transcends it to become something nearly Shakespearean.  A swirling dark vortex of Hamlet‘s Claudius, King Lear‘s Edmund, and Richard III.  A venomous cocktail of regicide, fratricide, and outright treason in a meticulously mad plot for the throne.  Plus, some goosestepping hyenas for good measure, because that’s just bound to end well…jawohl, Mein Furrier?  And despite his scheming nature, Scar is one of the few villains to actually get his hands…er, claws dirty by killing Mufasa himself.  Not just letting him fall to his death, but taking the time to do him one final injury and gloat of his victory before throwing his brother to his demise.  Of course, as the old saying goes, evil always contains the seeds of its own undoing.  If Scar had been more pragmatic in his ambitions and killed young Simba instead of taunting him with a guilt trip and trusting the murder to flunkies, his throne would have gone unchallenged.  But alas, even in the top spot we see just how hard it is to be good…at being bad.

Who are YOUR favorite villains?  Do you prefer the bloodthirsty tyrants?  The nefarious witches and sorcerers?  The dastardly masterminds pulling the strings from the shadow?  Come check out Happily Ever After, Saturday nights at 8pm and see just how high our villains can sink!

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Magic Moments: Ryan Austin’s Top 5 Inspirations for Happily Ever After

by Happily Ever After co-director Ryan Austin

There are too many delightful and memorable Disney movie moments to even begin to rank, but here are the top five that inspired The Hideout Theatre’s latest mainstage, Happily Ever After: Improvised Disney Musicals!

5. Agrabah Merchant

This opening narration is so fun and brings the audience into the world immediately. This was something we wanted to translate to our show to help start the audience on the journey. After the crowd suggests a starting location, the hosts (myself and co-director Roy Janik) light a lantern and set it on the stage. One performer walks out into the environment suggested by the audience, picks up the lantern and joyfully addresses the crowd — setting up the tone and world we’re about to see. It’s my favorite sequence to watch!

 4. Tangled’s Complex Relationship

I loved the complicated relationship that existed between Rapunzel and Mother Gothel in Tangled. Rapunzel didn’t see that her “mother” was lying about who she was until later in the film. We wanted to make sure we honored the complicated relationships we sometimes find ourselves in. We always looked back to this story when we felt ourselves not playing as honest as we were shooting for.

3. Love at First Sight

Even though Eric is a little confused in this scene, there’s something in his heart that knows Ariel is special. The hopeless romantic element is a big part of these films and our show. Disney embraces the magical and lets us to hope for something optimistic and romantic. I know that not everyone cares for this side of Disney, but it’s a major part of the genre the same way saving the world is a part of superhero stories. Plus, the show is called Happily Ever After!

2. Beast’s Death

It’s so sad! But there are sad and dark moments in life that Disney does not shy away from showing. Granted, most of the characters who die return to life somehow, but Belle doesn’t know that’s going to happen, so we hurt for her. We made sure not to avoid the sad or scary moments in our show. But those moments will pass and make way for a happy outcome!

1. Aladdin Meets Genie

You can just tell that Robin Williams is having a blast in the recording booth playing the Genie. He’s breaking so many rules by referencing celebrities and characters that wouldn’t have existed in that time period! It’s very much akin to the playful nature of improv and how — just like Robin Williams in this scene — you end up having so much fun that a few rules get tossed out the window. I wanted to create an environment where the players felt comfortable to do that. We’re not trying to make people forget they’re watching improv. We want them to see how much fun this is!


I could go on, but those are my favorite moments that inspired the direction of Happily Ever After. It opens THIS SATURDAY at 8pm and runs every Saturday until August 29th! The tickets are going fast so be sure to grab yours quick! See you there!

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