Cinderella, a modern musical extravaganza in the style of a traditional London Panto, is a family fun Christmas show playing at the historic El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood from Nov. 27 through Dec. 19.
The huge production has big stars with Freddie Stroma (from Harry Potter) as Prince Charming, Jerry Mathers (Leave It To Beaver) as Cinderella’s father, and Broadway great Jennifer Leigh Warren as The Fairy Godmother. Plus, after an extensive talent search, Veronica Dunne will star as Cinderella.
The incredible show is directed by Bonnie Lythgoe (producer of the first three seasons of American Idol), written by Kris Lythgoe, and produced by the Lythgoes and Jason Haigh Ellery. It is choreographed by Dancing with the Stars Mark Ballas, and features So You Think You Can Dance alumni dancers.
“The show consists of every form of entertainment— dancing, singing, acting, magic, interaction with audience participation,” Kris Lythgoe said. “We encourage people to jeer the stepsisters, and cheer for Cinderella.”
Show-stopping hit songs are sprinkled throughout, such as “When You Believe” from Prince of Egypt, Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway,” Michael Buble’s “Just Haven’t Met You Yet,” and Glee’s “Taking Chances.”
That nod to popular music is just one of the many charms of a Panto-style show.
“A Panto is exciting because it is entertainment the whole family can enjoy together,” Kris Lythgoe said. “Panto shows are a British tradition at Christmas time.”
Every family in the UK goes to see their local Pantos, which are all based on the ancient fairytales. But the twist to them is the outrageous comedy, similar to the Simpsons and Shrek humor sensibilities.
Seeing this wild version of Cinderella is a great way to launch the holidays and create wonderful memories.
“It’s great to be able to take your whole family to an event and enjoy it together,” Kris Lythgoe said. “Parents will have just as much fun as their kids. As a resident of Studio City, I know how many families are in the area and personally I can only take my three year old to Travel Town so many times. I really wanted to give families in the area the opportunity to be entertained together, and I believe that is what the holidays are all about, spending time with your family.”
Experienced at producing several musicals in the UK, as well as high profile TV shows, Kris says there is special joy in producing this Cinderella.
“I love the fact that my own family produced this Christmas show for other families to enjoy together,” she said. “I also enjoyed writing the show. The script is always current in Pantos, so jokes in the show range from Harry Potter to Tiger Woods. And some people will say the biggest joke is calling the wicked stepsisters Cowell and Seacrest.”
Go for the laughs, the music and the dancing. The show will be featured at the historic El Portal Theatre, 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. For more information, visit www.elportaltheatre.com.