THEATRE NOVA PRESENTS THE WORLD PREMIERE OF
DJ WHITTINGTON'S KOOL KAT: A HIP-HOP PANTO
by CARLA MILARCH and R MACKENZIE LEWIS
Nov. 29 through Dec. 29, 2019
Showtimes for the Panto are
7:30 pm on Fridays,
3:00 pm and 7:30 pm on Saturdays,
and 2:00 pm on Sundays
All the holiday hilarity and happiness you’ve come to love from our annual Panto returns in this hip-hop twist on a seasonal favorite. Kids ages 2 to 102 will enjoy this rollicking family entertainment, complete with heroes, villains, original tunes, and parodies of popular songs, physical comedy, and fun (and candy!) -- this time set to the hip-hop stylings of DJ Whittington and his Kool Kat’s sick beats.
Directed by Jennifer Felts, with musical direction by R. MacKenzie Lewis, “DJ Whittington’s Kool Kat” features Asia Marie Hicks, Alaina Kerr, and Mike Sandusky. The production and design team includes Monica Spencer (scenic design), Daniel C. Walker (lighting design), Carla Milarch (costume design), Becky Fox (properties), and Briana O’Neal (stage manager).
PULP: Arts Around Ann Arbor
“Theatre Nova dishes up a super soulful Santa decked out in red velvet with zebra stripe trim to introduce its latest original holiday show. This delightful 90-minute show by Carla Milarch and R. Mackenzie Lewis serves up – in true panto fashion — outrageous surprises and laugh after laugh. It also provides a nice message about the meaning of Kwanza. Some families with young children attended the performance I saw, and all the children were enraptured by the show, enthusiastically booing and hissing when the villain came on stage. The glue in this rollicking three-person production is Mike Sandusky, who plays Super Soulful Santa, Dirty D, the FitzHitz founder, and the mansion’s saucy chef Dame Divinity Ambrosia. This over-the-top show is a crowd-pleaser and one you can’t see anywhere else. The music is great. The cast is excellent and Kerr certainly has talent in spades and could become a major star. There is some bawdy humor in the show, but it’s likely to go right over the heads of pre-teens in the audience. Don’t miss it."
The Screed Theatre Reviews
“the terrific trio of actors that director Jennifer Felts has assembled for this production are all precisely the type of performer that this kind of material demands. Asia Marie Hicks spends the bulk of her time on stage in the all-important role of Dick Whittington. And in this role, Hicks exhibits all the good stuff (innocence, earnestness, enthusiasm, geniality, sincerity) and not even a jot of any of the bad stuff that could potentially rear its head in a children's theatre setting (pandering, cloying, overacting, dullness). Quite frankly, words cannot adequately express how amazing Hicks is in this production. Then there’s the extraordinary Alaina Kerr - when Kerr’s Kool Kat appears on the scene, she puts her astonishing vocal prowess on full display with breathtakingly revelatory renditions of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and “I Will Always Love You”. Rounding out the main cast is the exuberant Mike Sandusky, who excels in each of his roles.
Sandusky imbues [Hip-Hop Santa] with a charmingly gregarious yet super chill demeanor, somewhat reminiscent of Snoop Dogg, except way less stoned. Meanwhile, Sandusky’s record mogul Fitzsimmons is an amusingly bizarre concoction. Brimming with swagger, his peculiarly high-pitched speaking voice is punctuated at regular intervals with an even higher-pitched guffaw. —this is an exceedingly commendable production. 'Tis meticulously and lovingly crafted and irresistibly performed.