Throughout the Christmas season in 2017, the Balboa Theater in San Diego put on a production of Peter Pan: A Pirate’s Christmas. The production was a Panto, short for pantomime, which means that the story is reworked with modern music and adaptions. This Panto featured songs like “Believe” by Josh Groban and “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift which made it accessible for seasoned and new musical theater lovers.
GeekRockTV had the opportunity to speak with the musical’s own Tinkerbell, Ashley Argota. Argota is no stranger to Panto, as she had previously played Jasmine in Aladdin. She was thrilled to be able to portray an even sassier Tinkerbell than she has seen before, and even more excited about the Heelys! Instead of flying through the air in a harness, she got to glide around the stage in a sparkly dress and Heelys.
Argota said that the production was put together in a very short two weeks. With only a week and a half of regular rehearsals, their opening day was when they did their first full run. Despite the limited amount of time they had, the cast felt confident in their staging and characters.
Though the production was only put on for a limited time, this is definitely not the last time that the theater will be showing a panto!
Host: Hey everyone welcome to GeekRockTV, I am here at the Peter Pan Tinkerbell, A pirates Christmas at the Balboa Theater! We have Ashley Argota here who plays Tinkerbell and she’d gonna bring some fairy dust to Neverland this weekend! So congratulations on your role, what went through your mind when you found out you were casted as Tinkerbell?
Ashley: I was so excited, I did a Panto 4 years ago, I did Aladdin and His Winter Wish. I played Jasmine. It was my first Panto ever so it was a pretty easy yes to playing Tinkerbell. Also I get to play a fairy and I get to wear Heely’s so I was happy about that.
Host: I’m a little jealous, even though I’m going through a bit of a pirate phase! For those viewers out there that are a bit new to Panto, can you explain what a Panto is?
Ashley: They take a classic fairytale and put modern music to it. It’s a great way to introduce kids to musical theater. I believe it’s a 300-year-old British tradition. And for a lot of these kids it’s their first time ever seeing a stage show. It’s very exciting for us, it’s very interactive, we turn to the audience and ask all the kids these questions! Yeah! It’s great.
Host: My first Panto was A Snow White’s Christmas and it was so fun, I said we need to get this all around the world!
Ashley: Yeah it’s so fun! I think Lythgoe is trying to make it a holiday tradition for everybody and spread around America.
Host: What is your experience of Peter Pan growing up?
Ashley: Oh I loved Peter Pan. I had the VHS growing up. And of course I loved Tinkerbell and how sassy she was. So I love that I get to play an even sassier Tinkerbell that I grew up with.
Host: What’s your favorite adaptation of Peter Pan?
Ashley: Hook is my favorite adaptation of Peter Pan. I love love love Hook. Forever ago I did a promo, and it was me and my friends. They told us to turn on the TV and watch something and Hook was on. So we got to watch Hook during work!
Host: How long did you guys put this production together?
Ashley: We had barely enough time. We put this on in about two weeks which is insane for any musical theater show especially for Peter Pan. There is a lot of technical stuff, like Peter Pan flies. So we had about a week and a half of regular rehearsals and then we did just a few days of rehearsals here in San Diego and we teched the show for a day and half. So basically, we got into the theater a day and a half before the show, we put it on stage for the first time, and then the day that we opened was when we had our very first run of the show which is so insane. Then we literally opened that night.
Host: You guys are way too good and way too professional!
Ashley: We had such a talented cast and it was so great coming into the space because we knew that no matter what happened technically that our show was solid, our characters were solid and our part, our job was super super solid. So we were like whatever happens, it doesn’t matter because we know exactly what we’re doing.
Host: So let’s talk about flying real quick. What went on during tech rehearsals. Are those harnesses really as comfortable as they seem>
Ashley: I don’t have to do any harness stuff in this show, Riley does.
Host: Did you at least try it?
Ashley: I’ve done it on a show before, when I did Lab Rats. The harnesses are very uncomfortable and the fact that Riley can sing while he’s flying in the air and he has to be in that harness for a long time at the top of the show, he sounds incredible. So, go Riley.
Host: Yeah, I mean he was in Hairspray. It was perfect casting he did really great in the show. I had a chance to watch it from the balcony. So how many songs will you be singing?
Ashley: I sing Shake It Off, it’s my big number. We do Fight Song, we do Nature Boy at the top of the show. We do Believe, that’s a big number in the show. Yeah, we do a lot of really fun songs.
Host: What’s your favorite?
Ashley: Shake it Off is my favorite one because I get to do this really fun choreography and I get to wear Heelys while doing this really fun choreography.
Host: Let’s talk about the pirates. I thought it was really cute the modern renditions they did of the pirates and Captain Hook. Can you give us a little sneak peak about what to expect?
Ashley: Our pirates are not normal pirates they are based on other characters, so they’re all singers. The three of them. So, I guess you’ll just have to come to the show and find out.
Host: What are your plans for the holidays? It’s a holiday show!
Ashley: Yes! I’m spending Christmas eve with my dad. My family just came to see the show yesterday so I just saw them. And I’m going to my boyfriend’s for Christmas this year! Yeah! So that will be a lot of fun.
Host: Ashley you’re such a busy girl, what other projects do you have going on that you can let your fans know about!
Ashley: Yes! There’s a show I did last year that we just found out it got another season. So we start shooting that at the end of January, and a few of the films I did and the shows I shot this year are coming out at the beginning of the next year. So, I have a very busy 2018.
Host: What’s your favorite pizza topping?
Ashley: Pineapple! I know. It’s such a weird one for a lot of people, but I love pineapple.
Host: It’s okay! I like a little fruit on a pizza. Do you have any favorite natural beauty remedies?
Ashley: Oh! I just started, a huge thing that was on Amazon. Indian Aztec Clay Mask thing. It’s a clay that you mix with Apple Cider Vinegar and it is so crazy if you ever try it.
Host: I’ve always been scared putting ACV on my face but I use it for everything else.
Ashley: It really clears up your skin, it’s real good.
Host: What message do you have for your fans, and why they should see it this weekend?
Ashley: I just think it’s such a great holiday tradition and what I love about the Lythgoe is that they are really good at bringing families together and I think that is something that the show does really well. So, come spend some time with us this holiday season, we are so excited to be in San Diego!
Host: You hear that people, if you believe in magic and who doesn’t! Come join us this weekend. It’s a great family show, great for the holidays. So thank you Ashley for taking the time out of your schedule to come talk with us. Hope you have a great holiday!
Dates: December 2 – December 24, 2017
Official Website: www.AmericanPanto.com
Social Media Pages:
Kelsea Villaneuva| Writing Contributor & Transcriber
B.A | Communications | University of San Francisco
Kelsea has always been a fiction enthusiast, whether that be in the stories she read or the movies she watched. Growing up her knack for daydreaming and passion for creating led her to art and writing. These hobbies turned into a way for her to share the things that she loves with the world. From fan fiction to newspaper articles, she enjoys translating her thoughts and observations onto paper. She was Editor-in-Chief of her school paper and wrote a plethora of articles throughout the 3 years she did Journalism. She has also interned for an online beauty blog, Mocha Girl Beauty, where she produced online content. As a communications major and journalism minor at the University of San Francisco, she hopes to use her skills to let people know about what’s happening online and around the world. Instagram @Im_kelpsea| View My Blogs
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