The Panto of the Opera – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

You’ve heard of “The Phantom of the Opera,” but have you ever wrapped your masked head around “The Panto of the Opera?” I doubt it as it is the newest musical brain child of Bert Bernardi and Justin Rugg of Pantochino Productions of Milford, weekends until almost Halloween Eve, Sunday, October 29, at the Milford Arts Council, at 40 Railroad Avenue.

Who is the man behind the mask and how dare any one make fun of Andrew Lloyd Webber? What cheek? What chutzpah? What chandelier? All bets are off as this wild reinterpreted version of the original goes zany and unfettered for your pleasure and amusement.

Justin Rugg stars as our mysterious hero who is desperately in pursuit of the lovely lady Christine, captured by Mary Mannix. This is British Panto at its funniest, “A wild topsy-turvy take on the phantom, “ states director Bert Bernardi. Co-producer Jimmy Johansmeyer, who also designs all the magnificent costumes, promises “There is something for everyone – both kids and adults will love it.”

Enter the Paris Deluxe Opera House at your own peril to witness the ambitious singer Christine from nearby Norwalk disarm with her charms the theater’s Maestro, Jimmy Johansmeyer, and the manager, Don Poggio, much to the dismay of Madame Dreary, Rachelle Ianniello, and the show’s aging diva star Carlotta, Shelley Marsh Poggio. How will the Phantom react to the goings on? Will he succeed in replacing Carlotta with his new protege?
Will the famous paranormal detective Madame Cherchez, fabulously portrayed by Victoria Sautee, succeed in ridding the theater of its nemesis? The rest of the cast, Killian Meehan, Lu DeJesus, Sydney Maher, and Leanne Onofrio are breathless with worry in case Madame Cherchez fails in her cause.

With cheery tunes like “The Baguette Song,” “Angel of Music,” “The Peripatetic Paranormal” and “The Phantom Situation,” the talented cast sings and dances through its terror of the Panto appearing.

For tickets, go online to Performances are Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Remember this is cabaret so you can bring goodies to eat and drink at your table.

Get into the Halloween spirit with a visit with Pantochino Productions whether you are in costume or not. Clearly masks are optional!