A light-hearted and fun-filled spoof with a happy ending, the Town Players of New Canaan’s Family Holiday Show is Tina and Robert Burbidge’s Little Red Riding Hood, A Panto. Performances will take place on Friday, Dec. 9 and 16 at 8pm and Saturday & Sunday, Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 2:30pm at the Powerhouse Theatre, Waveny Park The two act play lasts an hour-and-a-half including intermission.
Many talented onstage and offstage New Canaan adults and children are involved with the show. Saxe Middle School teacher Lauren Nicole Sherwood, also a talented director, actress and singer, will play Little Red Riding Hood.
In one of the funniest panto pairings seen in recent times on the Powerhouse stage, Tom Butterworth and Nick Carpenter will appear, respectively, as Dame Robyn Hood, a lovelorn widow, and the Woodcutter who falls for Dame Robyn's mature charms.
Filling the stage with energy and song are Saxe Middle School students Alexandra Allen and Elizabeth Luchs, as well as New Canaan Country School students Emily Barnard, Meghan Musto and Virginia Smith. They all appear as Village Choristers.
Giving credence to another moniker for Family Holiday Show are the sister team of producer Sheri Dean and box office manager and publicity writer Tanya Bickley along with husband/wife duo and Grace Church members stage manager Juli McGrath and Dennis McGrath, who plays the Big Bad Wolf.
“Little Red Riding Hood, A Panto is a happy show with so much good hearted fun,” says producer Sheri Dean. “Now’s the time to reserve your tickets—and those for birthday and family parties,” she suggests.
The Town Players and the U.S. Marine Corp continue a 29-year tradition and will collect gifts for children age six months thru twelve years old at the Saturday, Dec. 10th Toys For Tots® matinee. The price of admission for a child at this performance only is one unwrapped toy. Before the show, after depositing his or her present in the Town Players’ Merry Wives of Windsor wicker basket, each child shakes hands with a U.S. Marine, who makes a cameo performance at the beginning of the play.
Tickets otherwise are $10 for everyone for all performances. To reserve seats, please call (203) 966-7371.
This will be the Town Players’ 15th Christmas pantomime. Known more commonly as a panto, the show is a blend of fairy tale, farce, melodrama, musical theatre, slapstick, vaudeville, Benny Hill, Monty Python, and Looney Tunes. Filled with singing, dancing, audience participation, and topical jokes, young children enjoy pantos at face value, while teen agers and adults pick up the double entendre and clever innuendo. Not just for children, there are adults who return year after year!
Noteworthy are the thirteen talented adult actors who love the happy go lucky, spoof aspects of panto and filling the theatre with laughter at Christmastime. Playing Little Red Riding Hood, known as Red, will be Lauren Nicole Sherwood of Stamford, a talented singer and actress, who appeared this summer in American Songbook, The Music of World War II. Jordan Andrews of Fairfield, who charmed audiences as Snow White in last year’s panto, will be playing Billy, the Woodcutter’s son, the Principal Boy role, which in panto traditionally is played by a woman in shorts, fishnet stockings and boots. Think Peter Pan. This is Jordan’s first time playing a man and she is eager to get in touch with her masculine side.
Tom Butterworth won Snow White audiences’ hearts last year in the ridiculous “dame” role of Clarissa, the Cook. He returns this December as Dame Robyn Hood, Red’s widowed mother out to find a man. Mr. Butterworth has appeared at the Powerhouse as Sir Thomas More in A Man For All Seasons, Inspector Goole in An Inspector Calls, and Niels Bohr in Copenhagen.
Nick Carpenter is making his 21st Town Players appearance in the role of the Woodcutter, who is quite smitten with Dame Robyn Hood.
Impersonating the Big Bad Wolf will be Dennis McGrath whose last panto appearance was as Gonzorgo, a comic ruffian, in Babes in Toyland. Dennis is a retired teacher, now substituting and umpiring; he and his wife Juli, who is stage managing Little Red Riding Hood, are a real Town Players’ romance, having met nearly twelve years ago during The Merry Wives of Windsor.
By way of The Three Stooges and bound to bring down the house with peals of laughter are the three pigs, Dewey, Cheetum and Howe, played respectively by Fred Seufert of Greenwich, Tim Cronin of Stamford and Kevin McDonough of Ridgefield. Fred has studied acting and improvisational theatre at SUNY Purchase, has performed with the improvisational troupes Grown-Up’s Playground and Undiscovered Treasures, and is currently a member of the improve troupe Funny Side Up. This is Tim’s 5th panto. He has also appeared in TPNC productions of The Good Doctor, Moon Over Buffalo, Rumors, How Green Was My Brownie, and Write Me a Murder, as well as directing Proof and The Weir. Kevin studied at the Del’Arte School of Physical Theatre, is a Clown College graduate, and toured throughout the country with the Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Donna Glen and Jessie Gilbert, both from Norwalk, will play the brother and sister water carriers Jack and Jill. Jessie is participating in her first Panto; her TPNC roles include Amy in Amy’s View, Dr. Livingstone in Agnes of God, Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Kate in Dancing in Lughnasa. Known to Town Players’ audiences mainly as a talented scene designer—Postmortem, The Weir, Cactus Flower, and Assassin’s New Friend—Donna has appeared in ensemble roles in both The Scottish Play and Romeo & Juliet at Shakespeare on the Green, Stamford, plus many chorus/ensemble roles in New Canaan Summer Theater eons ago.
Two talented ladies, Carol Barbour of Wilton and Linda Simon of Stamford, are making their Town Players debuts. More usually not seen when running our light board, Linda is playing Red’s adventurous, untraditional 21st century grandmother. Carol, a soprano with the Pro Arte Singers, who plays the Good Fairy, is so happy to have the opportunity to be in Little Red Riding Hood with her daughter Katherine.
Presiding over the grand finale boxing match between Billy and the Big Bad Wolf, choreographed by Marta Backman of Bronxville, will be Alex Weston of Shelton, appearing as the referee/announcer. In last year’s Snow White, Alex was seen as Clarissa’s silly son, Muddles, who spoke back and forth to the boys and girls in the audience in lively exchanges.
The children’s chorus of ten villagers includes Alexandra Allen, Emily Barnard, Elizabeth Luchs, Meghan Musto and Virginia Smith of New Canaan, Gaby Highton of Darien, Stephanie Dineen of Fairfield, Emily Zullo of Pound Ridge, Fiona Stevens of Stamford, and Katherine Barbour of Wilton.
Mark your calendar now for Little Red Riding Hood, A Panto. It will gladden your heart for the holidays. Bring your child, grandchild, niece or nephew; or be like Auntie Mame, borrow the child of a friend, neighbor, or colleague and make it an occasion!