Christmas in the Theater
Review by Rose Desena
This magical time of the year is a great time to introduce your children to theater. The Pasadena Playhouse’s production of “A Snow White Christmas” is absolutely an enchanting event that the whole family can enjoy. The production is first class, and I am sure it’s the envy of the Ahmanson Theater. “A Snow White Christmas” is the Lythgoe family’s vehicle to introduce Los Angeles theater goers to the British Panto theater style. It’s not just storytelling or a musical. It’s a creation much like performance art geared for children using fairytales old and new.
It mixes old styles of theater with a new and modern twist, like adding current music and dancing moves to this wonderful old fable. Panto is interactive and the audience is encouraged to participate, and from what I experienced, you will want to yell and shout at the characters on stage.
This mystical story of Snow White has all the characters we loved as children: the dwarfs, the wicked queen, the magic mirror (Neil Patrick Harris) and a beautiful Snow White ( Ariana Grande). The costumes are so life like and the acting so real I wanted to jump on the stage and hug one of the cute little dwarfs.
There is great music, acrobatic dancing and beautiful voices that sing songs like “Born This Way, “Power Of Love” and one of the sweetest versions of “YMCA” sung by those darling little dwarfs. Ariana Grande has a fantastic operatic voice and belts out “Voodoo Love” like a rock star. The audience has fun booing and hissing the wicked queen (Charlene Tilton). She is very convincing as she prances around the stage figuring out ways to rid the castle of the beautiful Princess.
It looked like every child in the audience was involved in the act. One little girl sitting next to me kept shouting out “Meany Queenie” every time she spoke badly about the Princess. Everyone booed and hissed the Queen and her nasty guard, which creates a communal atmosphere in the theater.
The Prince (Curt Harry) is as expected charming and wins over everyone in the audience. He’s like a dark haired Ken doll. Every child there wanted to take the court jester Muddles (Jonathan Meza) home, he is so lovable.
This is truly an exceptional show, and I was very impressed with the quality. Bonnie Lythgoe is at the helm of this production bringing out the best in her actors and this great adapted story written by Kris Lythgoe.
Sheldon Epps, artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse, picked a true winner. I really think you and your loved ones–old or young–will really enjoy this production. There are activities for the children in the courtyard before the curtain, so get there early. There are morning and afternoon shows as well as 7pm Saturday night.
Runs until December 30th.
Check web site for more details on tickets or call, 626 356 7529
The Pasadena Playhouse
39 S. El Molino Ave Pasadena