December 2015 - Let us Entertain You - The Dolls' Cinderella: An E! True Hollywood Story
When it comes to the holiday season there are many traditions, but none as entertaining as The Dolls annual Christmas show. This year, The Dolls are bringing a taste of British pantos with this year’s show, The Dolls Present Cinderella: The E! True Hollywood Story. The Dolls creator, Ken Ansloan, took a moment to talk about what we can expect with this production.
Where did the idea to do Cinderella as an E True Hollywood story come from?
After almost 20 years of doing Christmas Shows I was wondering what this years Christmas Show would be. My friend, Jessica Osbourne, is from England and she suggested that we do a Christmas Panto. Christmas Pantos are one of the biggest Christmas traditions in England. Pantomime to us here in America means mime (silent theatre in which performers express themselves through gestures). In England it is the noisest form of theatre that has lots of slapstick humor, songs and audience participation. Pantos or pantomimes usually tell a fairy tale. This idea really appealed to me and Jessica really helped me with the writing. She has been in numerous pantomimes back in England.
We all know the story of Cinderella, whether you’ve read Brother Grimm or the Disney version. What can we expect with this show?
It is definitely more humorous and rowdy. Pantos have definite rules that you have to follow For instance, every panto has to have a ghost scene. Although it tells the traditional story of Cinderella, it does so in a way that is going to be very unique to American audiences. The “Cinderella” pantos have a character called Buttons who guides the audience what to do and gets the audience worked up. Audiences can expect to have an evening filled with lots of belly laughs and songs where they play an important part to the story!
Was the creative process different from others shows? I know that you usually handle the writing. How was it working with Jessica?
Yes, the process was different. I was totally going in another direction with the show. I was somewhat familiar with British Pantos but Jessica quickly made me realize that I actually knew very little. She was invaluable in that regard. But writing with another person also pushes you into going into places you would never have thought. So it was really a growing experience in that regards. But we also have the same sense of humor as well. We would go over the script together and brainstorm and just keep pushing each other to come up with funnier ideas. We spent half the evening just laughing together at our ideas. It was great fun!
Will we see some of our Doll regulars in this show, maybe some new faces? And do I need to ask who the wicked stepmother is?
Yes, it has most of the Dolls regulars. It will also have some new faces! Jessica suggested that two of the characters be played by stand up comedians. She was very wise in suggesting this.
The character Buttons, for instance, has to be so quick on his feet and able to adlib at a moment’s depending on the audience’s reactions. So we have to popular Albuquerque stand-up comedians in our show - Joe Quesada and William Cameron Bolt. They are natural born actors. They immediately fit into our Dolls’ family and add a unique element to our show!
And, of course, I was born to play the evil stepmother! I feel as if I have been preparing for this role all my life! The audience gets to “boo” and “hiss” every time I enter on-stage. I love it!
One word to describe this year’s Christmas show?
So many words flooded to my brain, but the one that shines brightest is “hilarious”. I don’t think I fully realized how funny it was until we had read thru. The whole cast was reading it for the first time and every line got a laugh. We’re still laughing even though we’ve heard the jokes a hundred times now! I am amazed at how the show just flows. And how funny it is. So “hilarious” is definitely the best word that describes this year’s Christmas Show!
The Dolls Present Cinderella: The E! True Hollywood Story will run from December 4 - December 20 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Wells Fargo Theater. Purchase your tickets at ww.nhccnm.org.