Before every performance of Aladdin and His Winter Wish at the Pasadena Playhouse, kids and parents are welcome to make crafts, play games, and listen to holiday carolers in the winter wonderland courtyard.
Aladdin is this year’s Panto at the Playhouse production, a brand new musical following last year’s successful panto A Snow White Christmas. The story is an updated version of the classic tale Arabian Nights, but in the style of “a traditional British family panto,” meaning interactive with the audience with “singing, swinging and soaring adventure…with a comedic twist, dancing, and a live pony.”
So You Think You Can Dance alumni will be performing and songs from Slumdog Millionaire (“Jai Ho”) and Bruno Mars (“Treasure”) will be sung. The cast includes Nickelodeon’s True Jackson VP favorite Ashley Argota as “The Princess,” Home Improvement‘s Richard Karn as “The Sultan,” Tony Award-winner Ben Vereen as “The Genie,” and Bruce Vilanch as “Widow Twankey.”
“We are so thrilled to have Bruce Vilanch join the cast,” says lead producers Kris and Becky Lythgoe. “Widow Twankey (Aladdin’s mother in British panto) is a role that demands expert comedic timing and improv skill, a role played by top comedians and actors in the U.K.—including Sir Ian McKellen. Bruce Vilanch, with his musical theatre prowess and comedic finesse, was born to play the role.”
Musical direction is by Michael Orland (American Idol), with choreography by Spencer Liff (Emmy nominee for So You Think You Can Dance). Aladdin is directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, and it is written and produced by Lythgoe Family Productions.