The earliest known pantomime in the U.S. was Robinson Crusoe produced at St. John's Theatre, New York in 1786.A production at Olympic Theatre in New York of Humpty Dumpty ran for over 1,200 performances in 1868, becoming one of the most successful American pantomimes.
In 1993 there was a production of Cinderella at the UCLA Freud Theatre, starring Zsa Zsa Gabor as the Fairy Godmother. The production received mixed reviews. This production was a typically British production with writer-director Nigel Miles-Thomas taking the perennial panto story of Cinderella and her Prince Charming and spiced it up with a cast of characters that includes a pair of juggling, wisecracking nasty stepsisters called Thelma and Louise. There was an attempt to Americanize the humour, but it was more distracting than amusing and did not seem to work. Songs by Harry Warren, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and others were sprinkled throughout. As the Fairy Godmother, Gabor was the only miked actor onstage and she managed to fluff nearly every line except the jokes that referred winkingly to her own run-ins with the law. One such quip alluded to the 1990 incident in which the actress slapped a Beverly Hills police officer, and a couple were nods to Gabor's protracted civil court battle with actress Elke Sommer, who sued her for defamation and won a $3.3-million judgment against Gabor.
Lythgoe Family Productions has produced pantomimes each winter since 2010 in California. Their first production was Cinderella in North Hollywood, starring Jerry Mathers and Freddie Stroma. This was followed in 2011 by A Snow White Christmas, starring Marina Sirtis as The Wicked Queen and Neil Patrick Harris as The Magic Mirror,and A Cinderella Christmas, starring Fred Willard as Baron Hardup, Cinderella's father. In 2012, the company mounted A Snow White Christmas at the Pasadena Playhouse, starring Ariana Grande as Snow White, Charlene Tilton as The Wicked Queen and Neil Patrick Harris again as The Magic Mirror.
2017 Passadena Playhouse
Beauty and the Beast - A Christmas Rose
In 2017 Lythgoe Family Panto (LFP) presented Beauty and the Beast – A Christmas Rose in association with Pasadena Playhouse, running for 15 performances between December 13 -24, 2017. The production was directed by Sheldon Epps and choreographed by Mandy Moore (La La Land) whilst Bonnie lythgoe served as Executive Director.
A special Golden Ticket was available for children aged 4-12 years old to buy the opportunity to appear on stage during the actual production.
This production was an updated version of the classic fairy tale in the style of a British pantomime.
Peter Pan and Tinkerbell - A Pirates's Christmas
San Diego - Opened 21st December 2017
Peter Pan and Tinker Bell: A Pirate’s Christmas was a flying, singing and swashbuckling holiday adventure performed in the style of a British panto in San Diego atthe Balboa Theatre, a wild quest with Tinker Bell, Wendy and Peter Pan, as they tried to put a stop to the plot of some dastardly pirates who planned to kidnap Peter as a present to Captain Hook. Filled with big laughs, magic, dancers and contemporary songs by everyone from Taylor Swift to the Bee Gees, this family show was a little bit of something for everyone.
Riley Costello – Peter Pan
Audrey Whitby – Wendy
Ashley Argota – Tinker Bell
Mark Ryan – Captain Hook
The Wonderful Winter of Oz
Pasadena Civic Auditorium - 15th Dec 2018 - 30th December 2018
Lythgoe Family Entertainment
Kermit the Frog as The Wizard
Phil LaMarr as the Tin Woodman
Juan Pablo Di Pace as The Cowardly Lion
Jared Gertner as The Scarecrow
Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer as The Wicked Witch