My first Panto: “A Snow White Christmas” at the Pasadena Playhouse

Ariana Grande is the teen actor on Nickelodeon’s Victorious and my family loves her! So when I found out that she was starring in a play in Pasadena, it wasn’t hard to convince my boys to come along. The bonus was Neil Patrick Harris, who you may know as Doogie Howser or Barney Stinson on HIMYM (depending on your demographic), but for my boys will always be Dr. Horrible.

So last Saturday, we took a field trip to the Pasadena Playhouse. I say field trip because anything beyond the so-called Orange Curtain seems like such a trek with traffic on the freeways. Let me tell you that it was worth it.

If it seems like a stretch talking about theater in a book column, it really isn’t when you think about it, since many theater pieces are based on books! In this case, we were going to watch “A Snow White Christmas” a British panto or pantomime produced by Lythgoe Family Productions Yes, the same Lythgoes who are involved in television hits “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Apparently, pantos are traditionally performed at Christmas, with family audiences, featuring songs, dance, slapstick, audience participation etc. In other words, a whole lot of fun. This production “A Snow White Christmas” features popular songs including Katy Perry’s Firework, Bruno Mars’ Lazy Song, Gangnam Style dancing and many obscure references to the TV show Dallas (because the Evil Queen is played by Charlene Tilton who was on the original Dallas.)

Let me tell you that the Pasadena Playhouse itself is lovely and historic. In the courtyard before the show there’s a lot of holiday fun – including a Victorian singing quartet, a free photo booth (backdrop), concessions and more. The play itself would be corny if it weren’t for the talents of court jester “Muddles” (played by Jonathan Meza) who interacted with the audience and got the most laughs, and the beautiful singing voices of Ariana and Curtis Hansen (who plays Prince Harry of Hancock Park).

Blitzen the mini horse, Jonathan Meza as Muddles and Ariana Grande as Snow White PHOTO BY PHILICIA ENDELMAN

So if you are looking for a fun new holiday tradition, go to the Pasadena Playhouse this weekend to catch A SNOW WHITE CHRISTMAS.


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