BONNIE Lythgoe plans to take audiences on a magic carpet ride, when she stages her second winter pantomime in Sydney.
Just off a plane from Los Angeles, Lythgoe told the Sunday Telegraph that she will produce Aladdin and his Wondrous Lamp at the State Theatre next July.
The production will build on the success of Snow White, which she presented this year with a celebrity-studded cast led by Magda Szubanski as the Wicked Queen.
“There’s so much magic about Aladdin, it’s one of my favourites,” Lythgoe told Jo Litson.
“We’re going to have an illusionist to do the magic carpet. And even though it’s set in the desert, we’ll also have some snow. I couldn’t believe how excited the children were in Snow White. Every single night the kids would run down to the front to be under the snow.”
Lythgoe will never be a pantomime dame, traditionally played by a man, but she is fast becoming the queen of panto.
The former So You Think You Can Dance Australia judge has been staging traditional British pantos, updated with contemporary pop songs, for several years in the US.
“I was asked to do one in London as well this Christmas but I just can’t because we’re opening Sleeping Beauty in Pasadena (in Los Angeles County) on December 10 so there isn’t time. I need another couple of me’s to be honest,” she says.
Lythgoe will spend the next month looking at celebrities for the lead roles in Aladdin and then return in March to cast the rest of the production.
Though she admits she didn’t make any money on Snow White, she says she was bowled over by the audience response.
“I couldn’t believe it. I never thought Australian people would take to it so well – better than Americans. They clapped, they laughed and they booed (the baddies).”
Lythgoe says she “learned a lot” from Snow White and that Aladdin will be a bit shorter and presented at more family-friendly times.
“I do want to make it an annual tradition,” she says. “Hopefully we’ll do Cinderella after Aladdin and Peter Pan after that. I want families to be able to come here every year at a reasonable price. To be honest I don’t care if I just break even every year, I just want to give Australians a family show that kids and their grandparents and parents can all come and enjoy together.”
Aladdin, State Theatre, July 4 – 12, 2015. Tickets on sale on November 17 through Ticketmaster.