June 24, 2021
Presidio Theatre announces The Magic Lamp
A new holiday panto bringing together 150 years of popular British comedic tradition and an all-star creative team.
The Presidio Theatre presents a bright new addition to the Bay Area holiday entertainment landscape this December 2-31 with the world premiere of the panto, The Magic Lamp, that reframes the classic tale of Aladdin. The production features an original script and music, setting the comic action in contemporary San Francisco brimming with humor, audience participation, magic and hope for the whole family. Panto is a traditional British holiday entertainment that combines slapstick humor, one-line zingers, outrageous characters and send-ups of current events. The creative team for The Magic Lamp includes legendary writers, composers and actors who have made shows like Beach Blanket Babylon popular with audiences around the world. The team brings high-octane credentials to this new show with magnificent costumes, musical parodies, dancing, magic and over-the-top silliness. Performance days and times will be announced—with a special New Year’s Eve benefit performance and party. Tickets, priced $25-$50, will go on sale in September.
“The Magic Lamp focuses on the magic, humor and hope that are found all around us, everyday,” says Executive Producer Peggy Haas, “I am hoping that the laughter and joy of The Magic Lamp will shine a light towards a brighter future.”
“The brash, irreverent Christmas panto is one of the reasons the UK has such a strong theatre tradition,” observes Tamroz Torfeh, an internationally acclaimed veteran of The Royal Shakespeare Company and Broadway who is a Bay Area native now based in London. “I am thrilled about this new production that brings the best of the panto tradition to Bay Area audiences.”
The Magic Lamp script sets the story in contemporary San Francisco, with Aladdin as a bicycle messenger. Aladdin more than meets his match in Jazz, a strong independent young woman. Instead of a Sultan, the traditional disapproving patriarch has been re-envisioned as a powerful Silicon Valley Sultana. Following panto tradition, the production features a signature animal, in this case, Pecker the chicken and his clique of outspoken cluckers.
Creative Team and Cast
Executive Producer Peggy Haas has assembled a creative team including director Tamroz Torfeh, dramaturg Christine Nicholson, assistant director Vern Lewis, co-playwrights Christine Nicholson and Luther Hanson, creative contributor (music, script, art, etc.) Mason Williams, musical director Bill Keck, technical director Jeff Gregory, production manager Patty Ann Farrell, production designer Sean Riley, lighting designer Stephanie Anne Johnson, projection designer David Murakami, costume designer Alina Bokovikov, and choreographer Stacey Printz. The cast includes Curt Branom as Aladdin’s mother, Widow Twankey, and Beach Blanket Babylon phenom Renée Lubin as a Genie. Additional casting to be announced.
About the Living Tradition of Panto
Panto is a beloved holiday family tradition in the UK and Ireland. For over 150 years, these seasonal comical adaptations of classic fairy tales have been told with music, slapstick, repartee, and audience interaction. While The Magic Lamp follows the story line of the children’s tale Aladdin, the characters, setting and plot have been updated and informed by modern events, and the dialogue is spiced up with double-entendre that only the adults in the audience will understand and appreciate. Audiences will quickly get into the act, learning to cheer the heroes and boo the villains.