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Ariana Grande as Snow White in Pasadena

December 13, 2012

Ariana-Grande-2The Pasadena Playhouse is going panto. Its holiday offering is A Snow White Christmas —an Americanized adaptation of the genre that’s extremely popular in Britain every December, although panto hasn’t caught on much in the US.

In the show, when Snow White’s wicked stepmother asks the Magical Mirror on the Wall who is the fairest of them all, the answer will come from a recorded Neil Patrick Harris. It’s an ideal casting decision, given the actor’s love of illusion and magic. But because he won’t be on stage, he’ll be the only cast member who’s unable to hear the audience’s boos and cheers — which are encouraged in panto.

The stepmother’s query will come via Charlene Tilton, the actress who portrayed Lucy Ewing on all three dips into the television show Dallas. And it will be prompted by the title character who, through no fault of her own, brought forth a jealous rage in her stepmother. In the Grimms tale, Snow White has skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as the night. It’s an image most of us know courtesy of Disney, which has sought to trademark the name.

While Pasadena’s Snow White has dark brown hair, her skin reflects her part Sicilian roots and the many childhood weekends spent on the beach in Boca Raton, Florida. Ariana Grande, a star on Nickelodeon, says acting does not come naturally to her. “Acting is more work,” compared to singing — which she says she hasn’t studied, as “I was literally born with it. It’s like my purpose.”  Read more.

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