Our annual holiday Panto returns! When the young ne’er-do-well Aladdin and his animal pals discover a mysterious lamp, the hilarious adventure begins. Join our heroes as they rescue Princess Mai Tai, fly a magic carpet, and join forces with the beloved Dame, Widow Twankey, to save their village of Paolistein. Aladdin is a magical and musical romp that is sure to have you jumping out of your seats and singing in the aisles!
PNC Access Nights
Get 1/2 price tickets to the Thursday, December 13th 7pm and Thursday, January 3rd 7pm performances of Aladdin: A Musical Panto. To purchase tickets, call the Box Office at 610.644.3500 or purchase online, and use the promo code PNCARTS.
Actors, prices, productions, performance dates and times are subject to change. Additional fees or upgrades will apply. Contact the Box Office for details.
Aladdin: Justin Jain* The Widow Twankey (Dame): Mark Lazar* Mai Tai: Meera Mohan The Sultan: Kim Carson* Fu: Ed Swidey* Manny the Monkey: Brad DePlanche* Morris the Mantis: Andrew Kane* The Genius of the Ring: Mal Whyte The Genie of the Lamp: Larry Malvern* Nurse: Susan McKey* Minion #1: Karen Peakes* Minion #2: Conrad Sager* Minion #3: Antoine McClary
* Member, Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers.
PNC Arts Alive Explore Center Click here to visit the PNC Explore Center page, where can learn more about Aladdin: A Musical Panto with our Discovery Guide!
Explore Aladdin: A Musical Panto!
What is a Panto?
The holiday Panto is long-standing British performance form that evolved out of the Italian commedia dell’arte tradition, the Twelfth Night holiday, the Festival of Fools and Epiphany celebrations, and British music hall entertainments. When the modern Panto became an established genre in the 18th Century, writers turned to familiar stories that appealed to children and adults alike. These tales provide loose narrative outlines that form the basis for exaggeration, variation and topical social commentary, outrageous jokes, humorous songs, dances and, sometimes, a strangely affecting love story. Popular tales that have inspired countless Pantos are Aladdin, Robin Hood, Cinderella, Dick Wittington, Jack and the Beanstalk, Mother Goose, Puss in Boots, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks, and Snow White.
• Music, dance, and slapstick
• The Dame: a boisterous yet benevolent matriarch played by a man in drag
• A hero (sometimes played by a woman); a heroine; and a stock villain
• Audience participation: boo, cheer, even argue with the characters onstage
• Satire of local events, government policies, and famous people
• A “messy bit”: a slapstick routine with something wet, gooey, and/or slippery
• A “candy bit”: the actors throw candy into the audience, sometimes by the villain’s lackeys to get information about the hero
• Silly songs that the audience joins in singing
Aladdin Set Design
Curious about what magic the Aladdin set has in store? We asked Set Designer James F. Pyne (or Jeep, as we affectionately refer to him around the office) to give us a preview of how it will all come together!
Here Jeep shows how the pages of the "story book" portion of the set will turn.
Photos of the "story book" portion of the Aladdin set.
Aladdin Becomes a Panto
For this year’s Panto, we’ve chosen to adapt Aladdin, a story filled with mystery, adventure, and magic. The tale itself has mysterious and shrouded origins. Many of us know it as part of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, or The Arabian Nights, where Scheherazade tells stories within stories to King Shahryar to save her life. But before it reached this written form, storytellers from India, Persia, and China passed the tales orally as they traveled along the Silk Road, a trading route that extended from China to Egypt and eventually into Europe. What is considered the first written predecessor of these tales, Hazar Afsanah (A Thousand Legends), was translated to Arabic around 850 A.D. but unfortunately was lost. The earliest manuscript in existence today was written in Syria in the 14th Century.
Although the framing story of Scheherazade has remained, individual stories contained within printed versions of The Arabian Nights have varied. A written version of “The Story of Aladdin and the Magical Lamp” didn’t appear until the first major European translation of Nights into French by Antoine Galland in 1704. It quickly gained popularity, exciting the European imagination and appetite for the mysterious and exotic. Aladdin was adapted for the stage in 1788 and was performed in London’s Covent Garden. Once the genre of the British Panto was firmly established in the mid-1800s, Aladdin was immediately added to the repertoire and its popularity has continued through today.
Momentous Published Versions of The Arabian Nights Les Mille et une nuits, contes arabes traduits en français ("Thousand and one nights, Arab stories translated into French"), a 12-volume version by Antione Galland, published 1704.
The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, a 10-volume version by Sir Richard Burton, published 1885. This version is based on an Egyptian manuscript known as the Calcutta II version. Because of strict Victorian laws on sexual content, it was published privately for subscribers only.
The Arabian Nights, translated by Husain Haddawy, published by W.W. Norton & Company, May 17, 2008. This is a translation of Muhsim Mahdi’s 1984 Arabic version, which is based on the earliest extant Syrian manuscript and considered among scholars as the most “definitive” version.
Plot Points of Galland's Aladdin (from an 1815 English translation by Edward Forster)
Antoine Galland was a French scholar who translated The Thousand and One Nights from Arabic in the first decade of the eighteenth century. Here are the major plot points of his translation.
• Mustafa, an impoverished tailor in one of the kingdoms of China, has a son Aladdin, an “obstinate, disobedient, and mischievous” youth who “regarded nothing his father or mother said to him.” His idle and reckless ways cause his father so much pain he died.
• Aladdin refuses still to learn a trade and take care of his mother, so she sells everything in Mustafa’s shop and begins to spin cotton to sustain herself and Aladdin. This is their situation when Aladdin is fifteen and our story properly begins.
• A stranger, an African magician, arrives in town and notices Aladdin. He learns of the family’s situation and approaches Aladdin under the premise that he is the youth’s long-lost uncle. He showers gifts, favors, and promises to bring Aladdin into a reputable trade and so deceives both Aladdin and his mother.
• One day, the magician takes Aladdin far outside the city, to a narrow valley where with his understanding of magic he opens a subterranean cavern and instructs Aladdin to enter. When Aladdin refuses, he slaps the youth so hard Aladdin bleeds and may have lost a few teeth. Frightened, Aladdin complies and the magician tells him to retrieve first the lamp and then he may touch anything else within the caves. He also places a ring upon Aladdin’s finger, claiming it is a preservative against evil.
Join us at 12pm at The Farmhouse Bistro for brunch before select Sunday 2pm matinee performances (please note: there is no brunch prior to the November 18th or December 30th matinees), and meet your favorite Panto characters! Brunch is $21.95 for adults and $12.95 for youth (12 and under). Call 610.647.8060 for Bistro reservations.