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    Monday, March 04, 2024

    It’s a Cinderella panto at the Norwich Arts Center

    Cinderella, played by Gabby Mastracchio, and the Prince, played by Ryan Violet Parfitt (Submitted)
    Cinderella's Fairy Godmother is portrayed by Julieann Ruggiero-Swanson. (Submitted)

    The tale of Cinderella morphs into a panto this weekend and next at the Norwich Arts Center.

    If you’re wondering what exactly a panto is, here is the NAC’s explanation:

    “It's short for pantomime, which for hundreds of years in Great Britain has meant a fairy-tale retold with jokes for kids, jokes for adults, merry mayhem, local references, songs and dancing. Panto characters include Goodies, Baddies, Magical Creatures, and Dames, women played for laughs by men.“

    “Cinderella at the Christmas Ball: A Panto” will feature local children and adults playing everything from Crow Minions to Cinderella’s “identical twin” stepsisters.

    Gabby Mastracchio, who is a student at Griswold High School, portrays Cinderella. Mary Kay Kelleher is her Evil Stepmother — as well as the show’s director. Theater veteran and sound designer John Lamar, playing MC Buttons, will lead the audience participation part of the show.

    The panto was brought to Norwich in 2017 by the late Diana Bishop of New London. “Cinderella at the Christmas Ball” features a script by Bishop and revised by Faye Ringel.

    “Cinderella at the Christmas Ball: A Panto,” Donald L. Oat Theater, Norwich Arts Center, 62 Broadway Norwich; runs Fri.-Dec. 17; shows at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and Sat. and 2 p.m. Sun.; $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, military, students and NAC members, free for kids 10 and under, but they have to reserve a seat.

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