A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS Comes to the Laguna Playhouse Next Week

The show will begin performances on Thursday, December 7 and runs through Friday, December 29.

By: Nov. 28, 2023
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A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS Comes to the Laguna Playhouse Next Week

Laguna Playhouse and Lythgoe Family Productions have announced Joely Fisher (“Ellen,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Sally Bowles” in Cabaret on Broadway, dir: Sam Mendes) starring as “The Baroness,” Veronica Dunne (Disney's “KC Undercover,” “Roxie Hart” in Chicago on Broadway) starring as “Cinderella,” Jennifer Leigh Warren starring as “The Fairy Godmother,” (Little Shop of Horrors, Big River, both on Broadway), and Ben Giroux starring as “Buttons,” (“Nate” in “Big Nate,” “Rick & Morty”) in A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS, written by Kris Lythgoe, directed by Bonnie Lythgoe, musical direction by Andy Street, and choreography by Becca Sweitzer. A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS will begin performances on Thursday, December 7; (with a press opening on Friday, December 8 at 7:00 pm); and runs through Friday, December 29 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach.  



This holiday season, put on your glass slippers and join us for our annual Lythgoe Family Panto, A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS!  Based on the traditional British panto, where the audiences' participation is part of the show, expect a hilarious, heartwarming evening full of song, dance and holiday merriment!  In A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS, the timeless rags to riches story of a young girl meeting her prince gets an exciting holiday makeover. A wild, wacky, and interactive holiday event, A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS sets the age-old fairytale of Cinderella to modern music, with a comical twist and incredible magic! Featuring songs like “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton and “When You Believe” by Whitney Houston, this year's Panto promises to be the very best!              


Joely Fisher (“The Baroness”) Daughter of Hollywood legendary crooner Eddie Fisher and entertainment icon Connie Stevens, Joely Fisher was raised in the Los Angeles area educated in a dozen LA schools...continuing on to the Universite de Paris/Sorbonne and Emerson College in Boston. A triple-threat star of television, musical theatre, and motion pictures, her “sensational and sexy” turn as Sally Bowles in Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall's critic darling revival of Cabaret on Broadway as well as the National touring company earned her rave reviews.  She also starred on Broadway in Tommy Tune's revival of Grease. However, it was her five seasons as “Paige Clark,” Ellen's best friend on the historic and groundbreaking ABC show, "Ellen," that introduced her to television audiences around the world, and earned her a Golden Globe nomination.  She next starred opposite John Goodman in Fox's series "Normal, Ohio," and then spent two seasons starring in her own series “Wild Card” for Lifetime.  In 2005, she joined the cast of the hit television series “Desperate Housewives” where she played Felicity Huffman's tough and very complex boss “Nina Fletcher.”  She also starred opposite Brad Garrett for four seasons in Fox's “'Til Death,” and also on ABC's “Last Man Standing” opposite Hector Elizondo. Her film credits have placed her opposite some of the finest actors in film, like Jim Carrey in The Mask, Steve Martin in Mixed Nuts, and Nick Nolte in I'll Do Anything. Her crowning achievement to date was starring with Matthew Broderick in the $100 million-grossing Disney film Inspector Gadget.  Her television movies include the lead in NBC's "Thirst," Showtime's “Jitters,” ABC's "Seduction in a Small Town," “Cupid” for Hallmark and Lifetime's ripped from the headlines hit, “Girl in the Basement.”  In recent years Ms. Fisher has embarked on a directing career ranging in television show from “Sunset Fever,” to directing Laguna's own “Cinderella,” Veronica Dunne in “KC Undercover," to the socially conscious PSA campaigns for IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and for Welcome US, an organization started by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg on Immigrant Heritage. She will make her feature directorial debut this January with Girls Gone Wine.  She has led the charge to improve the lives of members of SAG/AFTRA for the past few years and she is happy to be back in Laguna after a seven-year absence. Greatest role to date is mother of five.

The cast of A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS will also feature: Veronica Dunne as “Cinderella,” (Disney's “KC Undercover,” Chicago on Broadway as “Roxie Hart”), Patrick Ortiz as “The Prince,” (“Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist” as “Eddie,” “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “One Life to Live”), Jennifer Leigh Warren as “The Fairy Godmother,” (Little Shop of Horrors, Big River, both on Broadway), Ben Giroux as “Buttons,” (“Nate” in “Big Nate,” “Rick & Morty”), Austyn Myers as “Dandini,” (Les Miserables on Broadway, Rogers The Musical at Disney California Adventure), Jeff Sumner (Lythgoe's The Wonderful Winter of Oz as “The Scarecrow” and Sleeping Beauty as “Nanny Tickle”) & Mark Gagliardi (“Blood and Treasure,” “Drunk History”) as “The Sisters.” Becky Lythgoe will perform select performances as “The Baroness” (“How I Met Your Mother,” “House M.D”).

The Ensemble will feature (in alphabetical order): Ashley Chavvaria, Alex Tho, and Alissa Wilsey.

Bonnie Lythgoe (Director) With a career spanning more than 30 years, Bonnie's achievements as a dancer, choreographer, director, TV presenter, TV producer and Broadway producer are second to none.  Starting her dancing career in the feature film “To Sir, With Love” starring Sidney Poitier, she followed up with a variety of choreography and directing roles including the world premieres of Robin Hood and Maid Marion: A Holiday Panto,Snow White, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Grease, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Full Monty, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Aladdin, West Side Story and Royal Variety for HRH Queen Elizabeth. With ongoing success in musical theatre, Bonnie served as a judge for a BBC singing reality series S Club Juniors created by Simon Fuller. She joined the next Simon Fuller venture, “American Idol,” where she served as a producer on the first three series before moving on to another new project, “So You Think You Can Dance,” for which she was both a judge and a producer for the first two series. Bonnie then headed Down Under for “So You Think You Can Dance Australia.”  In 2011, Bonnie created Lythgoe Family Productions in Los Angeles with her son Kristopher. Together they have brought musical “Panto” to Los Angeles. The first production was Cinderella, followed by Snow White with Neil Patrick Harris. Well-known for her creativity and involvement in global television hits, Bonnie is dedicated to bringing affordable theatre to families across the world through fun, laughter and music. 


BECCA SWEITZER (Choreographer) Her choreography has appeared on the TV shows “Jessie,” “Bunk'd,” “Code Black,” “AGT,” Fox's “Alter Ego” and HBO's Emmy nominated “We're Here.”  Commercial credits include Ugg, Chrysler, Beats By Dre and Sensa, and music video credits include Scissor Sisters, Passenger, Raphael Saadiq, and Cher Lloyd. She's worked with many high-profile drag queens on videos, television, tours, and notably, at Dolce & Gabbana's Fashion Week party in Milan. Theater credits include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Garry Marshall Theater) and Starmites (Open Fist Theater Company). She's a three-time World Choreography Award nominee. Find performing credits at www.beccasweitzer.com


ANDY STREET (Musical Direction) Television programs featuring his music are watched in over 100 countries throughout our world. His compositions, arrangements, and musical direction have won many major industry awards in England, Europe and the United States. He was the composer for “Madeline,” for which he was honored with an Emmy in 2003. He has continued to be a prolific composer in the television genre, wrote all the music for “Strawberry Shortcake,” “Angelina Ballerina,” and recently a new NBC/Universal show, for children, called “Norman Picklestripes.”  In 2012, Andy became the associate Musical Director and arranger for “American Idol” on Fox. He also mentored many of the successful singers on that show.  In October 2017, he was hired as Musical Director for a new variety series, Last Laugh in Vegas, featuring many variety stars of the past few decades in an all-new format, complete with orchestra, dancing girls, and the legendary Las Vegas razzmatazz!

Andy's first love, though, has always been the theatre. His latest musical, Doodle opened in January 2018 in London.  This follows other productions, The Hard-Boiled Egg and The Wasp, and 27 Santas and an Elf Called Kevin, also from the pens of Street and his good friend Jonathan Kydd, which were staged successfully in London and New York. He is currently working with Roger Avary (Pulp Fiction) on a new thriller musical set in London in the 18920s and in Spring 2024 he is looking forward to working with acclaimed director Charlotte Ercoli, scoring her new feature film, Fior di Latte,” set in New York and Florence.  


KRISTOPHER LYTHGOE (Writer/Producer) is so grateful to be back with Panto in Laguna. TV credits include: “So You Think You Can Dance” (Fox), “Corkscrewed: The Wrath of Grapes” (Fox Reality), “Who Are You” (Fox), “On The Nose” (Tvg), “My Beautiful Game” (Fox Soccer), “Soccer Superstar” (Nickelodeon), “Ellen's Game Of Games” and “True Story” (NBC). Theatre credits: Footloose, The Wedding Singer and many American Pantos across the country.


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