Hilarious "Phantom" Spoof Opens Pantochino's Season in Milford

Award-winning Pantochino Productions, a professional not-for-profit theatre company in Milford will debut it’s new musical “Panto of the Opera” October 13 through 29 at the MAC, Milford Arts Council on Railroad Avenue in Downtown Milford.

“Panto of the Opera” is a new, wildly funny, family-friendly musical panto by Bert Bernardi and Justin Rugg. The show is a hilarious spoof of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, the Gaston Leroux novel and the entire ‘Phantom’ phenomenon. Comical twists and turns about and the Phantom, and his unreliable chandelier, taunt Madame Carlotta and the opera staff while dear Christine becomes obsessed with the man behind the mask. Pantochino’s new adaptation promises broad comedy, sight gags, and songs.

“In the tradition of the British Panto, this is a wild, topsy-turvy take on the phantom,” said Bernardi who has written the book and lyrics. “There’a a laugh a minute—sometimes more,” he added. “Panto is what we do best,” said co-producer Jimmy Johansmeyer. “There is something for everyone—both kids and adults will love it.” 

Playing the role of the Phantom is Pantochino’s resident composer and actor, Justin Rugg. Most recently seen as Scrooge in “Christmas Carol,” Rugg attended Lebanon Valley College where he double-majored in music theory/composition and percussion performance. He has been composing and appearing in Pantochino’s original musical productions since 2012 as well as musical directing the Summer Theatre Camp series and the acclaimed Teen Theatre program. On the Pantochino stage he’s been seen as villains, princes, bugs, cookies and Santa Claus! 

The cast also includes company members Johansmeyer, Mary Mannix, Shelley Marsh Poggio, Rachelle Ianniello, Don Poggio and Lu DeJesus. Sydney Maher, Leanne Onofrio and Killian Meehan round our the company. The show also features a special appearance by BroadwayWorld Award Winner Victoria Sautee who’s online series “Let’s Learn Stuff” was called “Hysterical and Remarkable” by the Hartford Courant.

Directed by Bernardi, “Panto of the Opera” features setting by Von Del Mar, costumes by Johansmeyer, lighting by Jakob Kelsey, musical direction direction by Rugg and sound by Tyler Kittleman. Christina Ronquillo is stage manager.

Now in its fourteenth season, Pantochino Productions is widely acclaimed for its innovative, original musical theatre offerings, Summer Theatre Camps, Classes, After School Drama programs and Teen Theatre. The multi Award winning company is recipient of two “Best of Milford” Awards, many Broadway World Connecticut Awards and the Cultural Contribution Award presented by the Milford Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Performances of “Panto of the Opera” are Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 2 and 5:30pm and Sundays at 2pm. Seating is cabaret-style and audiences are invited to bring their own food and drink to enjoy during the performance. The Milford Arts Council, The MAC is located at 40 Railroad Avenue in Downtown Milford. Parking is free at showtime in all train station lots. Tickets are available online at www.pantochino.com. Note: Tickets are not available at the Milford Arts Council.



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