Pantochino Productions Inc., a professional non profit theater company for family audiences, will open its new musical panto “Cinderella Italiano!” on Friday, April 24 at the Center for the Arts in downtown Milford. It will play weekends through May 9.
“Cinderella Italiano!” is a big Italian house party of a musical, performed in a high-energy panto style where anything can happen. The traditional story of the girl who wants to go to the ball is transported to Italy. It’s filled with the sights and sounds of everything Italian; the Prince is Prince Spaghetti, the Fairy Godmother is a traditional Italian ‘Nonna’ simply known as The Godmother. There are ugly stepsisters, glass slippers and for this production, a magical cannoli. The story is adapted by Pantochino’s Bert Bernardi with music by Justin Rugg.
“Growing up Italian-American with my grandparents who came here ‘on the boat,’ this family-friendly show is chock full of cultural references, traditions, superstitions and expressions inspired by my very own great big Italian family,” said Bernardi. “It’s not only funny, it has a big heart — everything you’d expect Cinderella to be, and more.”
The original musical score takes its cues from the culture too.
“The score is upbeat and lively,” said Rugg. “I was inspired not only by the sounds of old world Italy, but also by the wealth of Italian American artists and performers like Connie Francis, Lou Monte and Sergio Franchi,” he said.
“From kids to grandparents, everyone is going to enjoy this one,” Bernardi said.
Featured in the performing company are Mary Mannix, Shelley Marsh Poggio, Jimmy Johansmeyer, Justin Rugg, Maria Berte, Jeremy Tortora, Cassie Gerace, Meg Cardi, Peyton Lott and Kiley Poggio.
The production features sets by Von Del Mar, sound design by Nathaniel Dobas, costumes by Johansmeyer with Jeff Therkelsen serving as production stage manager.
Pantochino Productions Inc., now in its fourth season, is dedicated to bringing original musical theater to family audiences in the greater New Haven area.
Performances of “Cinderella Italiano!” are Friday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 25 at 2 and 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 26 at 2 p.m.; Friday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 3 at 2 p.m. and Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
The Center for the Arts is located in downtown Milford at 40 Railroad Avenue. Parking for all shows is free in the Milford train station lots. All seats are $18 when purchased online, or $20 at the door, if available. Visit pantochino.com for tickets and full details.