Talking with Benjamin Rauhala: 'Broadway Princess Party's' Fairy Godfairy

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday September 13, 2018

Brush off your tiara and unleash your inner princess with Broadway's original Cinderella, Belle and Jasmine.

Benjamin Rauhala, music director and self-described "Fairy Godfairy," is bringing four Broadway knockout voices to the stage for an extraordinary night of magic and music. Entitled "Broadway Princess Party," it is currently touring venues throughout the country, including Boston's Berklee Performance Center on Friday, September 14. For the full list of dates, visit the event's Facebook page.

The show is hosted by two-time, Tony-nominated star Laura Osne (Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella") and her own "Fairy Godfairy," Benjamin Rauhala (musical director extraordinaire). The evening also stars the multitalented Susan Egan (Tony-nominated for Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" and voice of Meg in the Disney animated feature "Hercules"), Courtney Reed (the original Broadway Jasmine in Disney's "Aladdin"), and special guest Adam J. Levy (recently in the new musical "Dave" at DC's Arena Stage) as the show's Prince of the Night.

EDGE spoke to Rauhala for a conversation about the show.

How did the show come about?

EDGE: At what age did you want to become an entertainer?

Benjamin Rauhala: I was about 7 years old and I was taken to see "Beauty & the Beast" on Broadway with my family. I came home from that and I really wanted to play the piano. I would drape a blanket over two chairs and pretend I was playing along with the cast recording of "Beauty & the Beast."

EDGE: What was the first Broadway show you saw?

Benjamin Rauhala: Although, I was bitten by the acting bug after seeing "Beauty & the Beast," the first musical I that saw was "Carousel" at the Cape Playhouse when I was 5.

EDGE: Can you talk about the evolution of "Broadway Princess Party"?

Benjamin Rauhala: I was in Orlando with actor Jeremy Jordan doing some concerts and we had gone to the parks and I was kind of in a princess mood. Then while on my flight back to NYC, I was brainstorming concert ideas and out of nowhere I wrote down "Broadway Princess Party." The idea came about because I had princesses on the brain. I put the idea in my back pocket and then Laura Osnes came to my birthday party two months later and I asked her if she would love to do a princess theme concert and she said sure and that was the beginning.

The perfect princess

EDGE: Are you involved in the casting for the show? If so, what made Susan Egan, Courtney Reed, Laura Osnes the perfect princesses?

Benjamin Rauhala: Laura sent me a spreadsheet and headshots of all our best girlfriends and labeled them what princesses they would play. What was wild about our first show is that all the girls who performed for us are so used to competing for audition against each other and to have them all on one stage was empowering and awesome.

They are completely on purpose. All three of them are the original princesses. Laura was the original Cinderella. Courtney just finished her run as Jasmine in "Aladdin." Susan is the original Belle in "Beauty & the Beast," but was also the voice of Meg in Disney's "Hercules." In the show when they talk about their experiences in their shows, they are talking about these iconic moments that everyone knows. Having all three together on one stage is really magical.

EDGE: As a music director, for this show, what are your first steps?

Benjamin Rauhala: We started with a list of songs. Then figured out which songs would fit best with each princess and then build the show around that. The show is amazing, and it is for everyone.

EDGE: Is it complicated playing in the show and musically directing it?

Benjamin Rauhala: I do play the Fairy Godfairy. I host the show, so I start it and then end it. I do have some scene work with them throughout.

Being truthful

EDGE: If you could be anyone's Fairy Godfairy, who would it be?

Benjamin Rauhala: Britney Spears! She is the queen!

EDGE: Princesses, in any story, are always willing to risk a lot for their dreams. Is there anything that you had to risk?

Benjamin Rauhala: As an out gay man, you have a couple of options in your life. At a certain point in my life, I just had to embrace that I am going to be fun and flamboyant. I need to be truthful about myself and who I am. I think there is a risk when you decide to just be who you are.

EDGE: In your story, what is the perfect fairytale ending?

Benjamin Rauhala: I am married to wonderful and successful man. We have two children and live in Boston and I travel back and forth to NYC to work on my concerts. Most importantly, we live happy ever after!

For more information about Ben, visit his website. To purchase tickets to see Broadway Princess Party at Berklee Performance Center on September 14th and to learn more about the show upcoming dates on its current tour, visit visit the Broadway Princess Party website.

Watch this clip from "Broadway Princess Party":