Nashville area dancers invited to audition for TPAC and Lythgoe Family Give Kids Panto Present ‘Aladdin and His Winter Wish’

Auditions at CoolSprings Galleria September 21, 2019, led by just-announced choreographer Chase Benz to coincide with National Dance Day.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Tennessee Performing Arts Center and Lythgoe Family Give Kids Panto are pleased to announce that open auditions for Aladdin and His Winter Wish will be held at CoolSprings Galleria on National Dance Day, Saturday, September 21, 2019. Judges are seeking kids ages 7–16 as well as adults ages 18–30, of all ethnicities, to take the stage alongside previously announced stars Kira Kosarin (Nickelodeon’s The Thundermans) and Emmy Award-winning writer and comedic actor Bruce Vilanch. Additional stars will be announced later.

Tickets for Aladdin and His Winter Wish are on sale now at, by phone at 615-782-4040, and at the TPAC Box Office, 505 Deaderick St., in downtown Nashville. Single tickets start at $35, or a four-pack of tickets can be purchased for $99 for select performances.

The creative team for Aladdin and His Winter Wish includes newly announced choreographer Chase Benz (Step Up 2), currently on tour with American Idol’s Carrie Underwood. Previously announced Ernie Nolan (Nashville Children’s Theater) will direct.

Aladdin and His Winter Wish will run at TPAC December 12-22, 2019. Called “magic for the holidays, a fun family ride!” (The Los Angeles Times), the star-led production blends fairytales, comedy, the holidays, dancing, contemporary songs, and local and regional references to create an unforgettable theater experience. The age-old fairytale of Aladdin is given a modern twist with pop music, from “Treasure" by Bruno Mars to Ray Charles’s “You Don’t Know Me,” magic and comedy.

Auditions for Aladdin and His Winter Wish will coincide with National Dance Day (NDD), an annual celebration that aims to promote dance as a valuable form of exercise and artistic expression. Each year since 2010, people of all ages, from all parts of the country, come together to learn a dance routine. Before Aladdin and His Winter Wish auditions begin on September 21, choreographer Chase Benz will hold an open class to teach this year’s NDD routine. Participants of all ages are welcome to take the free class.

The schedule for Aladdin and His Winter Wish auditions and National Dance Day is as follows:

10:00 a.m.    Registration opens for National Dance Day (all ages)
10:30 a.m.    Choreographer Chase Benz teaches National Dance Day routine
11:30 a.m.    Registration opens for Aladdin kid auditions (age 7–16)
12:00 p.m.    Kid auditions begin
3:00 p.m.      Adult registration opens for Aladdin (age 18–30)
3:30 p.m.      Adult auditions begin

  • Audition registration for kid auditions will begin promptly at 11:30 am, and adult registration at 3:00 pm.
  • Come prepared to dance; wear comfortable clothes, soft sole shoes or jazz shoes, and bring water.
  • Kid auditions will end by 2:00 pm and adult auditions will end by 5:00 pm.
  • A rehearsal schedule and performance dates will be provided later.
  • Contact with questions.

Request for Coverage:

Media are invited to film portions of the auditions and National Dance Day routine.

Interviews will be available with choreographer Chase Benz and the judges, including Aladdin and His Winter Wish producers Kris and Becky Lythgoe, from the family behind hit TV shows American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.


Chase Benz (Choreographer). Born and raised in Nashville, TN, Chase Benz trained 11 years at one of Nashville’s top dance studios, DC Dance Factory. Benz began his professional dance career teaching at various high schools, colleges, and dance studios around the United States. Craving the stage, he quickly transitioned into choreography and performing as a dancer beginning in the Country Music Industry. At 15, Benz landed his first worldwide tour as a backup dancer to pop artist, Stacie Orrico. Soon after, Nickelodeon chose Benz to tour North America in an educational show where he was asked to sing, dance and act. Immediately after that, he choreographed and directed for Disco Diva, Donna Summer on her “Stamp your Feet” World Tour. Since then, Chase Benz has toured with Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey and Britney Spears on her Circus and Femme Fatale World Tour. Benz has also appeared in films such as “Stomp the Yard,” “Step Up 2,” and “The Hannah Montana Movie” as both a dancer and an assistant choreographer. TV credits include “Dancing with the Stars,” “Saturday Night Live,” the American Music Awards, “American Idol,” the Billboard Awards, and MTV Asia Awards, to name a few. In addition to stage and television appearances, he has also appeared in numerous music videos for Britney Spears, Rihanna, Madonna, Estelle, Black Eyed Peas, and Cherish. This past summer he choreographed for Sketchers and SYTYCD. He recently choreographed Latin sensation “Jbalvin” La Familia World tour. Chase, right now, is currently serving as Dance Captain and Associate Choreographer for the new Britney Spears Las Vegas show “Piece of Me”.

Ernie Nolan (Director) Executive Artistic Director of Nashville Children’s Theatre, Ernie is an award-winning director and playwright. His NCT credits include directing the world premiere TYA adaptation of Tysen and Miller’s “Tuck Everlasting,” “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” (First Night Award for Best Director of a Musical), “The Hundred Dresses,” “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” “Mockingbird,” “Dragons Love Tacos,” “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show,” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” Next season he is set to direct the world premiere musical “Auntie Claus” by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich. His work at The Broadway Playhouse in Chicago, IL includes “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Fancy Nancy The Musical,” “Pinkalicious,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “Cinderella,” “Charlotte’s Web,” and the world premiere of “Hansel and Gretel: A Wickedly Delicious Musical Treat,” written in collaboration with GRAMMY-nominated recording artist Justin Roberts. Also a resident artist of The Coterie Theatre in Kansas City, MO, he has directed and choreographed world premieres by such Tony-nominated artists as Willy and Rob Reale, Stephen Schwartz, Stephen Flaherty, and Lynn Ahrens, and Bill Russell and Henry Krieger. In March 2012, Ernie made his Off-Broadway debut with “Lucky Duck” at the New Victory Theatre in NYC. Ernie currently sits on the Executive Committee of ASSITEJ, a global theatre for young audiences service organization. In 2014, he received the Illinois Theatre Association’s Excellence in Theatre for Young Audiences award. He is a proud graduate of both the University of Michigan Musical Theatre Program (BFA Musical Theatre) and The Theatre School at DePaul University (MFA Directing)

Kris Lythgoe (Producer) is an Executive Producer and creator of television and theatre shows. TV credits include: “So You Think You Can Dance” (Fox), “Corkscrewed: The Wrath of Grapes” (Fox Reality), “Who Are You?” (Fox), “On The Nose” (TVG), “My Beautiful Game” (Fox Soccer), “A Snow White Christmas: Opening Night” (Ovation) and “Soccer Superstar” (Nickelodeon). Theatre credits: Footloose, The Wedding Singer and many American Pantos across the country. Over 5,000 kids will be introduced to the theatre this holiday season through Panto!

Becky Lythgoe (Producer) Cofounder of Lythgoe Family Panto, bringing Panto to America in Pasadena, Laguna, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Houston, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Raleigh for nearly a decade. B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Former recording artist and co-executive producer on her Universal Records debut album “Becstasy” (#1 Billboard Dance hit, IDMA award for Best New Artist). TV Guest Star: “How I Met Your Mother,” “House”, “All of Us.” TV Hosting: “Stars in Danger” (Fox), “CD USA” (DirecTV), and “G Word” (Discovery Channel). EVP, Magic Pictures International: “My Beautiful Game” (Fox Soccer) and “Opening Night” (Ovation). Together with Kris Lythgoe, she has received the Great American Award from The All-American Boys Chorus and Congressional Recognition for their contribution to the arts and arts education for new young audiences. They have served on committees for The Skirball Center (LA), The Hollywood Bowl, California Philharmonic, Children’s Hospital LA, LAUSD SaveThe Arts, The Tommy Tune Awards, Inspiration for Woman Awards, U of M Musical Theatre Dept. and at The Pasadena Playhouse.

Christi Dortch (Co-Producer-TPAC Rep) is the Executive Vice President of Programming and Sales for the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC).  Christi is a native of Nashville and a graduate of Western Kentucky University, where she earned a BFA in Theatre, with an emphasis on musical theatre performance.  For six years, she worked professionally in musical theatre as a triple threat before joining the administrative staff of TPAC.  In her 26 plus years at TPAC, she has had many roles including VP of Ticketing, oversight of Food & Beverage, and now as the EVP of Programming and Sales overseeing the curation of programming in the four halls TPAC manages. 

Christi also joined the team at the legendary theatre Westport County Playhouse for their reopening in 2006.  With then-artistic director Joanne Woodward and board members such as Christopher Plummer, Gene Wilder, and Paul Newman, the Playhouse opened with their first-ever year-round season.

Christi is delighted to add project manager and co-producer to her list of accomplishments through the work TPAC does with local, national artists, and producers, evaluating new projects and show development. 

Tennessee Performing Arts Center (Co-Producer) is a regional not-for-profit dedicated to the production and presentation of the performing arts. TPAC presents touring Broadway, concerts, comedy, dance, and other special engagements within its four Nashville venues; and produced an original music series in its historic War Memorial Auditorium – as well as six comprehensive arts education programs that have served more than 1.8 million. These projects include Part of the Plan – an original American Musical, Nashville House Concerts – a monthly music series at War Memorial focused on all the sounds that make Nashville unlike any other town, The People Sing! – a collaboration with Americana Music Festival and Voices of a People’s History and, most recently, working with Becky & Kris Lythgoe on Peter Pan & Tinker Bell: A Pirate’s Christmas. Under the leadership of Jennifer Turner, TPAC is home to the Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera, and Nashville Repertory Theatre, and recently has been engaged in elevating Nashville-produced works.

Lythgoe Family Panto produces fun musical theatre the whole family can enjoy. Known for their creativity and involvement in television hits "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance," the Lythgoes are dedicated to bringing affordable theatre to families across America. Based on the Grimm fairytales and others, each story has been modernized with topical scripts for parents and well-known pop songs for kids. The Lythgoes pride themselves on creating a memorable experience a family can share together.

GiveKidsPanto is a California based non-profit company that pays for school children to experience live theatre for the very first time. Buses are paid for and tickets are subsidized, as we introduce young kids to the Arts. In 2017, over 6,000 Title I students were introduced by the Lythgoes to live theatre, through the medium of Panto. For more information, visit

If You Go:
Aladdin and His Winter Wish Auditions
Saturday, Sept. 21
CoolSprings Galleria
1800 Galleria Blvd
Franklin, TN  37067
11:30 a.m.


Performance schedule, prices, and cast are subject to change without notice. Institutional sponsors for TPAC include Nissan North America and Coca-Cola. TPAC is a nonprofit arts organization funded in part by support from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission. TPAC reminds ticket buyers that the only official place to buy tickets online is

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Since 1980, the nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center has welcomed more than 12 million audience members and served more than 1.8 million children and adults with performances at TPAC, teacher resources, professional development opportunities, classroom residencies, and enrichment programs. Each year, TPAC serves several hundred thousand audience members with the HCA Healthcare / TriStar Health Broadway at TPAC series, a variety of special engagements, and the productions of three resident companies – Nashville Ballet, Nashville Opera and Nashville Repertory Theatre. TPAC’s mission is to lead with excellence in the performing arts and arts education, creating meaningful and relevant experiences to enrich lives, strengthen communities, and support economic vitality. For more information, visit