By Jennifer Schlueter
If you want to know how adult jokes about Victoria’s Secret models, Tinder, Friday-afternoon-405-traffic, Amazon Prime, waitresses/actresses, and Facebook can vamp up an antiquated Grimm fairytale, you should see Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight (Sleeping Beauty hereafter) at The Pasadena Playhouse. If you want to take your kids, they surely will enjoy this modernized version just as much due to highly engaging audience participation.
Sleeping Beauty stars Disney’s Olivia Holt as Aurora, the Princess of Pasadena, and Garrett Clayton as the Prince of Alhambra who fall in love while meeting in the woods. At the time of their encounter, they have no idea that Aurora’s father, Broadway’s Patrick Cassidy, has scheduled them to marry each other the next day. However, before the wedding can occur, the evil fairy, enacted by Lucy Lawless, also known as former warrior princess Xena, curses the whole kingdom and holds the prince captive. Aurora’s watchman Silly Billy (“Hart of Dixie”’s Ben Giroux) and devoted Nanny Tickle (Broadway’s David Engel) set out for everyone’s rescue.
The Panto, short for the British Pantomime, a musical comedy catering to families, of Sleeping Beauty was written by Kris Lythgoe. He is the son of director Bonnie Lythgoe, who also directed last year’s Panto at the Pasadena Playhouse’s Aladdin and His Winter Wish in collaboration with choreographer Spencer Liff (Emmy nominee “So You Think You Can Dance”) and musical director Michael Orland (“American Idol”), all of whom have returned this year to produce another piece of family entertainment.
The producers have cast gifted actors and dancers – kids and adults –, who not only know how to engage the (younger) audience, but also work around technical difficulties so that they almost go unnoticed; and even include unintended cell phone rings playfully into their routines. Besides the musically talented protagonists, Tamyra Gray as the good fairy stands out with her performances of Mariah Carey’s “Hero” and the show’s finale.
If all of this wasn’t enough to spark your interest, maybe Pinkarellas in Tutus, a non-potty-trained puppy on stage, and a live Maleficent will do.
There are three different ways for Playhouse guests to enhance their Panto at The Playhouse experience:
GOLDEN TICKETS are available as an add-on to any child’s ticket for an additional $50.00 each (limit of 10 Golden Tickets available per performance). A Golden Ticket provides the ticketholder (children only) with a special onstage sing-a-long experience during the production, a gift bag with special surprises, a SLEEPING BEAUTY collectible poster, and one free photo with Santa!
On Saturday and Sunday mornings throughout the engagement of Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight, Playhouse guests may enjoy a special Sleeping Beauty Character Breakfast before the show at redwhite +bluezz Jazz Club, located at 37 El Molino, next door to The Playhouse. The Character Breakfast features a mouth-watering breakfast buffet, and tableside visits from all your favorite fairy tale characters! Prices start at $48. For reservations call 626-356-7529.
Before every performance, all Playhouse guests and their families are invited to enjoy a “Winter Wonderland” event in The Playhouse’s Engemann Family Courtyard free of charge, complete with crafts, activities, games, Santa Claus (on select dates) and photo opportunities and face painting for a nominal fee. (Golden Tickets and Character Breakfasts may be added to previously purchased Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight tickets.)
Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight will play until January 4, 2015. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. The performance schedule is Monday at 7:30 p.m. (Dec. 29 only); Tuesdays – Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 12:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.; Special matinees — Wednesday, December 24 at 4:00 pm; Friday, December 26 at 4:00 pm; Tuesday, December 30 at 4:00 pm (No performances December 31, January 1 and 2).
Tickets are available by calling The Pasadena Playhouse at 626-356-7529, online 24 hours a day at www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org, or by visiting The Pasadena Playhouse Box Office, Tuesday – Sunday from 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. during non-performance dates. On performance dates the Box Office is open Tuesday – Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets for SLEEPING BEAUTY and Her Winter Knight range from $34.00 – $74.00, with Premium Seating available for $125.00. Child single tickets are available for Rear Orchestra and Rear Mezzanine seating ranging from $24.00 – $64.00.
Service and theatre restoration fees apply to all purchases. Group Sales (8 or more) are available by calling 626-921-1161.
Please visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org .