After 20 years of producing and performing in Toronto’s favourite family holiday musicals, Ross Petty will hang up his Spanx and take his final boo as Captain Hook in a brand new production of PETER PAN, The 20th Anniversary Family Musical PANto-monium now playing at the Elgin Theatre in downtown Toronto. While Petty will continue to produce the annual family holiday musical, this year will be his final stage appearance as a notorious evil-doer and the last opportunity for the exquisitely twisted form of love he revels in as ‘the man who must be booed.’Joining Ross for his “glorious goodbye” are Panto stalwarts Eddie Glen (TweedleDum/Smee) who has appeared in 12 of the 20 productions; and Dan Chameroy (Tinkerbum) who starred in the first panto production at the Elgin Theatre in 1996 as the titular Robin Hood.Yes, this is the story of the boy who wouldn’t grow up and his evil nemesis Hook. The title role of PETER PAN is played by the super cute Anthony MacPherson, a brilliant singer, dancer and actor. The hilarious (and glamorous) Jessica Holmes (below) plays the very frisky Queen of Hearts, Jordan Clark is Alice and Steffi DiDomenicantonio plays Wendy. The dapper Mad Hatter is played by Lamar Johnson and the ever-smiling Cheshire Cat is purrformed (!) by Taveeta Szymanowitcz.While I was unable to attend this glorious extravaganza of the absurd (whew, what a mouthful!) myself, my friend Ayda (9yrs old) who lives down the hall went on my behalf with her mum and dad and she came home with her head filled with wonder and a whole list of great things to say about the show. Here is what she told me:
The mixture of scenery, costumes, make-up and dancing made the prefect onstage cake. Mmmm, yum…just the right amount of each ingredient (you can tell Ayda loves to cook, eh?). The costumes were amazing, especially the Queen of Hearts who was dressed in a big poofy red sparkly gown. The Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat looked awesome, too. The stage was designed with lots of colourful scenery and made me feel like I could actually be in Wonderland. The actors and actresses all did a good job and I loved it when the Queen of Hearts called Peter “Fwying Pan” in her weird accent. Haa haa haa. All of us in the audience could sing along with the songs which were re-written with new lyrics to match what was happening on stage. My parents and I danced in our seats to a special version of “Uptown Funk”. Yes, I loved Peter Pan in Wonderland.So take the hint from Ayda and take your family to see this traditional Christmas show that is so much a part of the British theatre heritage. I myself performed in several Christmas panto’s back in the UK in the early 70’s when I was a bright young actress in the Cheltenham Rep. Company – my fave role was playing Puss in Boots in brown tights, plunging neckline and thigh-high highheeled leather lace-up boots. I think my Puss was a bit more Benny Hill than Mother Goose!!
Tickets are on sale now for PETER PAN, The 20th Anniversary Family Musical PANto-monium, running at the historic Elgin Theatre (below) from now until January 3, 2016. Follow this link to purchase your tkts: http://rosspetty.com/tickets/ticketsBig thank-you to FLIP Publicity for my media passes and although I really wanted to go myself (post-surgery aches, pains and fuzzy-headedness prevented me from attending), I know young Ayda was given a real appreciation for actors and live shows; she’s a true theatre convert now.