Centerstage Theatre’s holiday tradition is back and ready to make families laugh this season.
“Puss in Boots,” a pantomime, is showing Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 27 through Dec. 19 at the Knutzen Family Theatre, 3200 SW Dash Point Road in Federal Way.
A pantomime is a musical comedy that involves music, topical jokes and is usually based on a well-known fairy tale. Each show includes never-changing tropes: a hero, a flirtatious dame, the good fairy, the villain and more.
“The audience knows all of these tropes,” said Artistic Director Trista Duval. “It’s a beautiful hybrid of old and new, and it’s wonderfully adaptable.”
“Puss in Boots” is written by local director, actor and playwright Vince Brady, who also wrote Centerstage’s 2019 show “Robin Hood.”
For years, the Federal Way theatre group has taken on popular panto shows, such as “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Jack and the Giant Beanstalk” and “Pinocchio.”
Knowing the traditional formula of characters and plot points, Brady’s panto is accompanied by the same music and choreography crew as in “Robin Hood.”
Within the world of panto, certain things are true, Duval said.
When the bad fairy shows up on stage, it’s OK to boo — in fact, it’s encouraged. When the good fairy arrives, start cheering. Amid the chaotic story line, Centerstage’s show mixes in singing and dancing to recognizable modern pop music.
The holiday show checks both boxes of tradition and brand new, Duval said.
“Holidays are about the familiar,” she said. “The reason panto fills that plot so nicely is that it has the perfect amount of familiar holiday tradition, knowing things from the get-go, but unexpected with enough new material to be exciting and fresh.”
Pre-pandemic pantomimes included more physical audience interaction than this year’s show, she said, but the magic of the production isn’t lost in the modifications.
Audience members are asked to wear their masks for the duration of the show, as well as show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
Duval said the show is ideal for any age, from sly over-their-heads humor to slap-stick silliness that your young kids may be repeating the entire drive home.
“Pantos exist to bring joy and laughter,” she said. “It’s one fun, amazing moment after another.”
Part of Centerstage’s mission is to break down barriers to live theatre. The organization, partnering with We Rock the Spectrum kids gym in Federal Way, is hosting a sensory friendly show at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4.
This show includes lowered volume, brighter lighting, areas for people to release energy if needed, earbuds and more if needed for those with sensory accommodations.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit centerstagetheatre.com.