Gorilla Tango produces gender-bending, family-friendly spin on “Jack and the Beanstalk”

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Gorilla Tango Originals presents a new take on an old story: “Jack and the Beanstalk: A Panto Adventure” by Jason Peck and directed by Drew Alexander Echales. (Photo courtesy of Gorilla Tango)

CHICAGO — Gorilla Tango Originals proudly presents a new take on an old story: “Jack and the Beanstalk: A Panto Adventure” by Jason Peck and directed by Drew Alexander Echales. “Jack and the Beanstalk: A Panto Adventure” is family friendly (best for ages 5 and up), and performs Saturdays at 1pm, March 4-April 22, 2017, at Gorilla Tango Theatre (1919 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago IL 60647). Tickets are $15; lap children (i.e. ages 1 and under) free. Please visit www.gorillatango.com or call 773-598-4549 for tickets and more information.

Oh no! Princess Rose has been kidnapped by the Giant, Blunderbore. Oh my! Jack’s magical beans grew a gigantic beanstalk to the Giant’s castle in the sky. Can Jack climb the beanstalk and rescue the Princess? Or will she have to rescue him instead? Find out in this fun, interactive, gender-bending British Panto*, suitable for the whole family.

*ABOUT BRITISH PANTO (pantomime): British Panto refers to a traditional family-friendly genre that includes songs, gags, slapstick comedy, gender-bending actors, and plenty of topical humor for the adults. Anglophiles will be particularly big fans of this lesser-known theatrical genre making its reappearance and the rest of the audience will be delighted as well. Panto is loud, energetic fun and the perfect family activity.

Says Gorilla Tango Originals Executive Producer, Ellen Domonkos White: “I am very appreciative of the way this particular genre embraces the complexity of gender identity by making it approachable and acceptable. The British Pantomime Dame is fascinating because she is not a Drag Queen; this is a male-identifying actor playing a woman. The actor playing in our Pantomime is very well versed in this style of performance and thoroughly enjoys embracing his feminine side on stage. I am also a big fan of ‘Jack’ being played by a female-identifying actor – it’s refreshing to see the hero played by a woman. I think it’s important for children to see genders in a nontraditional way. And we don’t do it in a way that brings attention to it and turns the show into a political statement; rather, we treat gender in an accessible way. Maybe it’ll spark a conversation or it might simply help a child embrace different gender-identities. Or maybe they won’t even notice it at all. Ha!”

Author Jason Peck, hailing from London, states: “I’ve been a fan of the pantomime genre for as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t until I became a teenager that I discovered more of the background to it through vaudeville, the U.K equivalent British Music Hall, and the Italian theatrical movement, Commedia dell ‘arte. I’ve wanted to write a pantomime for quite a few years, but with all of the disparate elements that make up a pantomime, it wasn’t something that was easy to do. Having been a comedy writer for a while now, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to go back to a genre that I’ve always wanted to write.”

As Sir Ian McKellen, who twice played Widow Twankey in a Panto version of “Aladdin”, once said: “Panto has everything theatrical–song, dance, verse, slapstick, soliloquy, audience participation, spectacle, cross-dressing and a good plot, strong on morality and romance – what more could you want from a family outing?”

“Jack and the Beanstalk: A Panto Adventure” runs one hour in length.

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