Disney princesses bring joy to the River Parishes
RESERVE — Four princesses journeyed through the River Parishes, bringing sweet surprises, beautiful harmonies and wishing stars to children at every stop.
When COVID-19 cancelled the summer production of “Matilda,” the River Parish Community Theatre family looked for ways to continue bringing joy and happiness to the community. Organizer Maria Stelly said theater has a magic quality to it; one performance can transport a person far away from their ordinary life and bring them to a place of happiness and unity.
That’s why four teenage girls strapped on princess costumes, eager to shine their light in a time of need. Mallory Commander, Madeline Core, Ava Young and Gabrielle Treas are used to singing together through the Victory Bebés, a local, patriotic group that draws inspiration from the Victory Belles.
The girls dressed up as Rapunzel, Belle, Jasmine and Ariel to surprise children across the River Parishes, all the way from Paulina to Hahnville.
Renee Boudreaux Scott was delighted to see the princesses surprise her 4-year-old daughter, Lily. When Lily opened the door to see the princesses, she froze in shock.
Her mother gently asked, “Well, are you going to ask them to come in?”
The princesses came into the living room to greet Lily and sing a song from each of their movies. They danced, took pictures together and presented Lily with a special wishing star. Singing “When You Wish Upon a Star,” they reminded the little girl that dreams really do come true.
“She did not budge. She was just amazed by them,” Scott said. “It just made her day.”
The princesses also made a surprise stop to PJ’s Coffee of LaPlace, where they greeted an excited little girl who happened to be wearing a princess facemask. Another stop was to a boy with special needs who recently graduated from high school. As the princesses sang in harmony, he jumped into the role of the conductor.
Stelly said she hopes the magical time the princesses spent with the children can be a reminder to always believe in happily ever afters and to wish upon stars.
“It was so personal. With all the craziness and the chaos going on in the world, I can’t tell you the joy it brought to me to see these kids. The joy and surprise on the child’s face, you actually saw on the parent’s face, too,” Stelly said. “I like to think we were spreading the joy, happiness and love that we need to see in the world right now. It was really cute and definitely a magical experience for the children, the parents and for us.”
Prior to visiting the children, Stelly told the four girls that it is up to them to use their God-given talents for good and be the change they want to see in the world.
The princess visits were so successful that there ended up being a waitlist. The girls are planning to either designate another day to visit homes or set up sessions where children can visit the princesses in small groups.
A veterans salute for the Fourth of July is also in the works, organizers said.
Requests for princess visits can be directed to River Parish Community Theatre on Facebook. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the theater, replacing income that would have come from summer ticket sales.
River Parish Community Theatre is also having “A Taste of Broadway” fundraiser on August 22 at the Sugar Mill Pavilion on the San Francisco Plantation grounds. More information can be found online at riverparishtheatre.org.