Peter Pan and Tinker Bell-A Pirate’s Christmas at Pasadena Playhouse

Theatre Review by Alisa Hayashida

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(L-R) Kevin Quinn, Corey Fogelmanis, August Maturo, Sabrina Carpenter and Company in Peter Pan and Tinker Bell-A Pirate’s Christmas at Pasadena Playhouse.

The tradition of Panto at the Playhouse continues with a holiday extravaganza in the British tradition of taking a fairy tale and incorporating songs, dances, jokes, exaggerated characters and lots of audience participation. And participate they do; from booing the villain, cheering the hero, singing along and bringing a fairy back to life, this is lots of fun for the whole family, especially the kids. And if your kids are fans of the Disney channel’s Girl Meets World or Bunk’d, then they will recognize and possibly swoon over the show’s stars, Sabrina Carpenter (Wendy)and Kevin Quinn (Peter Pan) along with Corey Fogelmanis, August Maturo, Chrissie Fit and Nikki Soohoo (all stars of TV & film).

Another twist for this take on the beloved story is that while the costumes and set remain traditional and familiar, the songs are all contemporary with choreography that is a blend of the traditional and hip hop with the Lost Boys doing something completely unexpected that we don’t want to give away here. This show has everything from snow inside and out of the theater, spinning disco balls, heartfelt ballads, goofy pirates, swashbuckling and even jokes for the parents. Parvesh Cheena as Smee provides much of this adult comic relief while still being completely endearing to the kids. John O’Hurley, best known as J. Peterman on Seinfeld is clearly in his element appropriately chewing the scenery as the villainous Captain Hook and everyone gets a kick out of booing his evil plans. There is no mistaking that voice which he uses to great effect as Hook while also handling his songs with panache. Carpenter and Quinn have a nice chemistry as the leads lending sweetness to their scenes together. Yes, there is actual flying over London and it’s done to touching effect here. Chrissie Fit is fantastic as a sassy, Latina Tinker Bell, even saying some of her lines in Spanish. The entire cast is wonderful and the show is a crazy mash-up of styles and genres to create this spectacular holiday hybrid that will have you tapping your toes and singing the songs on the way out!

One hour before every performance, guests and their families are invited to enjoy “Winter Wonderland” in The Playhouse’s Engemann Family Courtyard, complete with holiday crafts and activities, including Santa photo opportunities (December 9-24, nominal fee for printed photos).

Peter Pan and Tinker Bell – A Pirate’s Christmas plays through January 3, 2016
The Pasadena Playhouse – 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena.
Tickets: 626-356-7529, www.PasadenaPlayhouse.org. Also available at the box office.
GOLDEN TICKETS are available as an add-on to any child’s ticket for an additional $65.00 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 PETER PAN collectible poster, and one free photo with Santa!

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