CHELSEA — A wacky pantomimed holiday show is returning to Chelsea this weekend, with free tickets for needy kids and families.
Nonprofit theater company Pantomonium, now in its 10th season, embraces the British pantomime style of theater, with original songs and family-friendly fare. The company will offer shows at the Hudson Guild Theater at 441 W. 26th St. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"It's basically people's theater," said co-founder and creative director Chris Major. "It's very cross-cultural and the tenor of the production really lends itself to the kids having a good time."
This year's show is a unique take on a classic fairytale. In "Rapunzel in the Land of Olalla," the long-haired princess is no longer in a fantasy world. Instead of a scary witch locking her up in a tower, it's her overprotective mom who won't let her have a cellphone or cut her hair.
"She's starting a new high school and she gets bullied," Major said.
Previous takes on classics include "Snow White and the Several Dwarfs" and a "Robin Hood," in which the hero is a woman.
Most tickets to the shows are donated to charitable organizations, like the Little Flower Network and Abraham House, along with shelters and schools, all aimed at bringing theater to an audience that may not get it any other time of the year. Those who can afford tickets are encouraged to give a $20 donation.
"It's for families who don't typically have theater as a part of their culture, something that they can really enjoy," Major said.
Pantomonium runs until Dec. 22 at the Hudson Guild theater. For details, visit their website.