“Opening Night” Provides a Backstage Look at the World of Theater

by Mike Mcdonnough on February 25, 2013

in Programming Announcements

Janson Media today announced the release of the television special Opening Night: An American Panto (1 x 84′) to international television, VOD, digital platforms and non-theatrical markets. The program airs on the cable network Ovation in the United States. Opening Night is a behind-the-curtain look at the Lythgoe family’s (American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance) quest to bring the fun British holiday tradition of “Panto” theatre to the United States. Can the Lythgoes recreate the success of previous American productions with this British transplant?

British Panto is a holiday tradition going back to the 17th century. Pantos are aimed at the whole family – over-the-top musical comedies that are loosely based on fairy tales but loaded with pop culture references and performed around Christmastime.

The film features show producers Bonnie Lythgoe, Kris Lythgoe, and Becky Baeling, and stage actors Marina Sirtis (Star Trek:  The Next Generation), Lindsay Pearce (Glee), Erich Bergen (Person of Interest, Desperate Housewives), Nigel Lythgoe (So You Think You Can Dance, A Chance to Dance) and Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) as “The Mirror.” Produced by Warp Factor 2 of Los Angeles, the two-hour special follows the Lythgoes through the hair-raising process of putting together a lavish first-time-ever panto production of “Snow White” for American audiences.

With the majority of casting already in place, the journey begins with the Lythgoe family making final preparations of an upcoming open casting call.  Casting problems lead to tensions from extremely long hours, giving viewers an inside look at the rehearsal process and personal lives of the cast and crew. With the final components to the production such as costumes and sets in jeopardy, the cameras follow the frantic pace of the cast and crew in hopes of being ready for Opening Night.

Warp Factor 2 is a television and film production company based in Los Angeles, CA. The company’s works can be seen on Fox Soccer Channel (My Beautiful Game), Ovation Network (A Snow White Christmas: Opening Night), IGN Entertainment’s START (Castlevania: Hymn of Blood) and KCAL 9 (Countdown Los Angeles) just to name a few.