Arts & Culture Maplewood Towns

British ‘Panto’ Theater Returns to the Burgdorff

 

Brett Sabo, Gabriel Anthony, BatFred Huntley, Joe Giannone, Anique Evans rehears for Robin Hood: A Very British Pantomime.
Brett Sabo, Gabriel Anthony, BatFred Huntley, Joe Giannone, and Anique Evans rehears for Robin Hood: A Very British Pantomime.

British pantomime theater returns to Maplewood’s Burgdorff Center for the third year this January with “Robin Hood: A Very British Pantomime” directed by Ridley McIntyre.

Following Deadgood Events’ two sell­out “A Very British Pantomime” shows held at the Burgdorff in previous years, a new production team led by Chrissy and Ridley McIntyre is taking over and will continue the tradition of British “panto” in town.

The McIntyres have formed a new production company called Suburban Legend Arts to assume the role of the vacating Deadgood Events. “We are very sad to lose our friends Liz and Gareth Jones of Deadgood, but we felt the show must go on,” said Chrissy McIntyre. Kathleen Ash­Milby, the children’s director said, “I can’t imagine Maplewood without a panto now.”

In fact, people all over town have come to rely on this new tradition. One advertiser for the show explained that it is “her favorite part of the year” and she simply had to place an ad to support the efforts. In just a few years, panto has really staked a claim in the town as a highlight of the holiday season.

The first production “Arrrr! A Very British Pantomime” introduced the town to the British holiday tradition of panto — a family show that is a cross between a fairy tale and a broad vaudevillian stage show. Some classic panto tropes include the principal boy which is always played by a woman, the Dame which is always a man in garish drag, and a plot usually ending with a happily ever after. In between all that, there is singing and joking, talking back and forth with the audience and a raucous good time had by everyone, young and old. “Arrrr!” raised more than $3,000 for local charities.

That sell-out show led to “Wotcha Gotcha: A Very British Pantomime” the following year. This show, held over two weekends helped to raise more than $6,000.

Now in it’s third year, Chrissy and Ridley McIntyre have assumed the role of writers and will bring the story of Robin Hood, like you’ve never seen before. For instance, the Real Housewives of Sherwood Forest never made it in the Kevin Costner version. Once again, all the money raised will be given to local charities.

The actors, directors, producers and the behind-the-scenes helpers all graciously donate their time to create a very special theatrical experience for the families of our towns. You won’t want to miss this new show.

Robin Hood: A Very British Pantomime directed by Ridley McIntyre, at the Burgdorff Performing Arts Center, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood, NJ.

Show runs January 2, 3 and 4 and January 9, 10 and 11. Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. and Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. 

Tickets available at robinhoodpanto.brownpapertickets.com.

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