A few days ago we told you about the Lythgoe Panto that was on its way to the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Well, it’s here! And we attended Wednesday night’s opening, when the Auditorium filled up with people dressed in Christmas colors and children that looked like princes and princesses.
This Panto is the first one held at the Auditorium, after years of having the Pasadena Playhouse as its home. Truth be told, I missed the intimate feeling that the smaller venue provided and how lovely the afterwards party was in its courtyard; but enough of my melancholy, because the much larger Auditorium, with capacity for 3000, obviously allows for many more people to enjoy the show.
This Panto, written by Kris Lythgoe and directed by Sheldon Epps, is entitled “Beauty and the Beast – A Christmas Rose,” yet don’t expect the songs that you associate with the Disney’s version because a Panto uses pop songs that everybody knows (and can sing along to) to tell the tale. This is a family event very much geared for the youngsters but with witty lines and puns that are meant to entertain the adults. As a result, everyone present has a good time.
Jonah Platt (Broadway’s Wicked) is The Beast, Kelli Berglund (Disney XD’s “Lab Rats”) is Belle, James Snyder (Broadway’s If/Then) is Gus, Gedde Watanabe (Broadway’s Pacific Overtures) is Marcel, and Jared Gertner (Broadway’s The Book of Mormon) is Pierre. Along with them are a number of other talented and experienced artists.
The stage is colorful; it changes continually and every change is as beautiful as the last. The Michael Orland Band plays live, with Orland and Doug Peck on keyboards and Brian Boyce on percussion. On opening night there were a few sound mishaps (microphones that did not go on in time), but I trust that this will be taken care of for the rest of the run.
Get those prince and princess outfits out of the closet and take your kids to this dreamy event. Tell them that, for once, they can talk to the characters and sing out loud all they want! The Panto will perform Wednesday to Sunday through Dec. 24 only. That’s only eight more days of fun, so make it happen now!
Tickets start at $29 available at Ticketmaster.com/PantoPasadena. The Pasadena Civic Auditorium is located at 300 East Green Street in Pasadena 91101.
Photo: Jonah Platt and Kelli Berglund in Lythgoe Family Panto’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – A CHRISTMAS ROSE / Credit: Philicia Endelman
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