People’s Light Announces 2020/2021 Season

The 46th Season at People’s Light invites you to revisit old favorites, find fresh perspectives on timeless classics, and be part of groundbreaking new theatre.

Fall 2020 opens with two world premieres: Mushroom, the fourth locally inspired play to emerge from the New Play Frontiers Residency and Commission Program at People’s Light, and a music-infused production of Charles Dickens’ masterpiece A Christmas Carol, adapted by People’s Light Producing Director Zak Berkman. Lee Blessing’s new dark comedy Vivie makes its Philadelphia premiere in January 2021, followed by Lorraine Hansberry’s iconic American classic A Raisin in the Sun. Next spring also brings two world-premiere plays: Walden, an incisive and original drama by rising playwright Amy Berryman, and Personality, the world’s first stage musical to celebrate pop and R&B legend Lloyd “Mr. Personality” PriceThe season concludes with a summer of fan favorites. Robert Harling’s beloved comedy-drama Steel Magnolias runs June through July, followed by Sherlock Holmes and the Raven’s Curse, the regional premiere of a new Holmesian mystery.

“From Ebenezer Scrooge and Sherlock Holmes to our neighbors in Kennett Square, the 2020/2021 Season blends the familiar with the unknown and offers new ways to look at the stories and characters we think we know,” says People’s Light Executive Artistic Director Abigail Adams. “At a time when divisions might seem insurmountable, we’ve brought together a collection of plays and musicals that surprise, encourage, and connect us.”

 

THE 2020/2021 SEASON

MUSHROOM

By Eisa Davis

Directed by David Mendizábal

September 24 – October 25, 2020

Steinbright Stage

In Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, the intersecting lives of immigrant families collide when a workplace dispute, an unexpected romance, and the increased presence of ICE have far-reaching ramifications for the entire community. In “the mushroom capital of the world,” half of the United States’ mushrooms are harvested by generations of Mexican and Central American families. Pulitzer Prize finalist Eisa Davis paints a portrait of this stretch of Chester County – and a corner of our country – that illuminates just how deeply connected we all are. Mushroom is the latest world premiere to emerge from the theatre’s New Play Frontiers program, following Project Dawn, Mud Row, and Bayard Rustin: Inside Ashland. New Play Frontiers is a long-term initiative to commission, develop, and produce locally inspired plays that explore our American identity through the stories and concerns of the greater Philadelphia region. Mushroom has been supported by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage.

 

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

By Charles Dickens

A New Adaptation by Zak Berkman

Directed by David Bradley

November 19, 2020 – January 3, 2021

Leonard C. Haas Stage

 

Callous Scrooge, shackled Marley, and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future spring vividly to life in a fresh adaptation of our favorite yuletide ghost story. Featuring a vibrant mix of newly arranged 19th century English carols and original songs, this music-infused retelling by People’s Light Producing Director Zak Berkman captures the transformative joy and generosity of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic. Acclaimed regional actor Ian Merrill Peakes is Ebenezer Scrooge, leading an ensemble of 16 adult and youth actors, including many People’s Light company members and returning artists, as well as three on-stage musicians. A Christmas Carol is family friendly but not a musical panto. The theatre’s signature holiday pantos will return in Season 21/22.

VIVIE

By Lee Blessing
Directed by Abigail Adams

January 13 – February 7, 2021

Steinbright Stage

Banished to Northwest Jersey by her mob-ruling brothers, clairvoyant Vivie tries to forget that she knows too much. After a college journalist drops by for a psychic reading, unburied secrets lead to an epic showdown that changes everything. Supernatural drama meets crime thriller in this dark comedy about making the best of the family you’ve got. Starring company members Janis Dardaris and Stephen Novelli (last seen together in Morning’s at Seven), the People’s Light production of Vivie marks the Philadelphia premiere of the latest play by esteemed American playwright Lee Blessing, best known for his 1988 Pulitzer Prize-nominated drama A Walk in the Woods.

A RAISIN IN THE SUN

By Lorraine Hansberry

Directed by Amina Robinson

February 24 – March 28, 2021

Leonard C. Haas Stage

Simultaneously intimate and mythic in scope, A Raisin in the Sun “changed American theatre forever” (The New York Times) with its searing examination of the elusive American dream. Three generations of the Younger family share a cramped apartment on the segregated South Side of 1950s Chicago. The late Mr. Younger’s life insurance policy could mean a fresh start, but disputes over how to spend the money reveal deep generational divides. Philly-based actor and director Amina Robinson (2019 Barrymore Award winner for The Color Purple) helms Lorraine Hansberry’s pivotal drama.

 

WALDEN
By Amy Berryman

April 7 – May 2, 2021

Steinbright Stage

As Earth becomes increasingly uninhabitable, space colonization is within reach. Twin sisters Stella and Cassie, both young and ambitious NASA scientists, have worked tirelessly toward this goal. But deep-seated rivalry, personal entanglements, and conflicting philosophies threaten to drive them irrevocably apart – while the planet’s fate hangs in the balance. This incredibly smart new drama hails from New York-based actor and emerging playwright Amy Berryman, one of American theatre’s rising female voices, and makes its world premiere at People’s Light.

PERSONALITY: THE LLOYD PRICE MUSICAL

By B. Jeffrey Madoff with Lloyd Price

Directed by Sheldon Epps

May 19 – June 13, 2021

Leonard C. Haas Stage

This toe-tapping, show-stopping, world premiere musical marks the first piece of American theatre to celebrate Lloyd “Mr. Personality” Price. From digging ditches in Kenner, Louisiana to overnight teen sensation, through the Korean War and Jim Crow, to his 1998 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the incredible story of this pop and R&B legend has never been told – until now. As he navigates the 1950s and 60s entertainment industry, Lloyd’s quest to unify his country through music parallels America’s struggle to define itself throughout the turbulent 20th century. This unmissable music event features a knockout cast of 14 singers and dancers and Lloyd’s million-selling hit songs like “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” “Stagger Lee,” and the iconic song that became his namesake, “Personality.”

STEEL MAGNOLIAS

By Robert Harling

Directed by Abigail Adams

June 23 – July 25, 2021

Steinbright Stage

The reigning ladies of a small Louisiana parish spend Saturday mornings at Truvy Jones’ beauty parlor. With help from aspiring beautician Annelle, Truvy doles out gossip, wisecracks, and hairspray to “grande dame” Miss Clairee, the loveable curmudgeon Ouiser, queen bee M’Lynn, and M’Lynn’s vivacious daughter Shelby. Six unforgettable women command the stage in this hilarious and heart-wrenching favorite starring People’s Light company members Mary Elizabeth Scallen, Susan McKey, Kathryn Petersen, Teri Lamm, and Claire Inie-Richards.

SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE RAVEN’S CURSE

By R. Hamilton Wright
Based on the works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Directed by David Bradley

August 4 – 29, 2021

Leonard C. Haas Stage

Armed with witty repartee and the powers of deduction, your favorite crime-solving duo take on a brand-new case. Following the mysterious death of Sherlock’s uncle, Holmes and Watson travel to Scotland to investigate a cryptic message left in his will. Aided by “the only woman Sherlock ever loved,” they must crack the code before someone else falls prey to the infamous Raven of Skye. Following its 2020 world premiere at Canada’s Shaw Festival, this fast-paced, playful adaptation makes its regional premiere in Malvern and features several People’s Light company members, including Christopher Patrick Mullen as the inimitable Sherlock Holmes.

 

SUBSCRIPTION & TICKET INFORMATION
Season 20/21 8-Play subscriptions range from $228 to $344 (including building and maintenance fees) and are now available at peopleslight.org or by calling the Box Office at 610.644.3500. Actors, prices, productions, performance dates and times are subject to change. A one-time $10 service charge will apply per order.

Standard single tickets go on sale this summer and range from $37 to $60, including fees. Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase group tickets, call Kelly Benedict at 610.647.1900 ext. 111, or email benedict@peopleslight.org.

CONNECT, ENGAGE, INTERACT AT PEOPLE’S LIGHT
People’s Light continues Scoop on Wednesdays, a lively discussion before Wednesday evening performances, excluding previews. Resident Dramaturg Gina Pisasale hosts an artist from the production to get the inside “scoop” about the rehearsal and production process, design choices, and the world of the play.  The program begins at 6pm. Price of $5 includes light fare. Call the Box Office at 610.644.3500 or visit peopleslight.org for more information.

Stay for AfterWORDS, an informal Q&A with the cast following Thursday evening performances, excluding previews. Free with your ticket purchase.

Celebrate with your LGBTQ+ friends and neighbors at pre-show Pride Receptions before the following performances:

A Christmas Carol: December 13, 2pm performance

Vivie: January 29, 7:30pm performance

Steel Magnolias: July 16, 7:30pm performance

Enjoy Dinner and A Show with a prix-fixe package at The Farmhouse Bistro and save up to 15% off the single ticket price! Packages available at peopleslight.org or through the Box Office. If you’re a subscriber or already have tickets to a performance, you can add dinner or Sunday brunch separately by calling the Box Office at 610.644.3500.

 

The Farmhouse at People’s Light is the premier venue in Chester County for weddings, corporate events, and special celebrations. Our charming restaurant, recently renovated ballroom, and indoor pavilion beautifully accommodate events large and small. Contact our Sales Team at 610.647.1900 ext. 156 for more information.


ACCESSIBILITY AT PEOPLE’S LIGHT

People’s Light aims to break down barriers and ensure that theatre is accessible for everyone. In partnership with the National Theatre of Great Britain and the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, People’s Light is the first U.S. theatre to offer Smart Caption Glasses. These allow people who are Deaf or experience hearing loss to view captions from any seat in the theatre, thanks to the innovative Open Access Smart Capture technology developed by the National Theatre and Professor Andrew Lambourne. Smart Caption Glasses (manufactured by Epson) display a synchronized transcript of the play’s dialogue and sound directly onto the lenses. Lightweight and entirely customizable, the glasses provide a radical departure in how open captioning is delivered. Smart Caption Glasses will be free to People’s Light patrons and can be reserved online in advance of select performances. Specific dates to be announced at peopleslight.org.

 

The theatre will continue to offer Open Caption (OC) performances that feature an LED screen near the stage that displays text simultaneously with live speech and action, for individuals with hearing impairment and English language learners. No other elements of the production change for these performances.

Open Caption Weeks:

A Christmas Carol: December 15-20
Vivie: February 2-7

A Raisin in the Sun: March 16-21

Walden: April 27-May 2

Personality: June 1-6

Steel Magnolias: July 14-18

Sherlock Holmes and the Raven’s Curse: August 25-29

 

Relaxed Performances provide a welcoming environment that lets all our patrons express themselves freely, without judgment or inhibition. These live theatre experiences invite and encourage everyone – including individuals with autism, ADD, ADHD, dementia, and sensory sensitivities – to enjoy the performance in our “shush-free” zone.

Relaxed Performances:

Mushroom: October 24 at 2pm

A Christmas Carol: January 3 at 2pm

Vivie: February 5 at 7:30pm

A Raisin in the Sun: March 27 at 2pm

Walden: May 1 at 2pm

Personality: June 12 at 2pm

Steel Magnolias: July 23 at 7:30pm

Sherlock Holmes and the Raven’s Curse: August 28 at 2pm

People’s Light offers a range of audio/visual aids and sensory supports freely available to patrons, including audio headsets, T-Coil “induction” loops, large print programs, fidgets, noise-canceling headphones, and more. These supports are available in the theatre lobby on a first come, first served basis (no reservations required). During select performances, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters sit next to the stage and translate the show in real time for patrons who speak ASL.

We also offer audio-described performances and pre-show sensory tours throughout the season. Description headsets provide commentary on the visual aspects of a performance (the set, costumes, and lighting effects, as well as the physical actions and body language of the actors) for our patrons with visual impairments. This supplemental narration interweaves with the real-time, spoken dialogue, so patrons won’t miss a moment of the performance. In conjunction with this service, the sensory tour offers the opportunity to experience production elements up close and feel certain key props and costume pieces before the performance begins.

To increase financial access to our work, People’s Light offers a range of ticket discounts, including $37 Preview Nights (includes fees), 50% off Access Nights, $15 Industry Rush, and $5 Student Rush, among others. Call 610.644.3500 or visit peopleslight.org for more information on ticket discounts.

50% off Access Nights:

Mushroom: October 21 at 7:30pm

A Christmas Carol: December 29 at 7pm

Vivie: February 2 at 7:30pm

A Raisin in the Sun: March 24 at 7:30pm

Walden: April 28 at 7:30pm

Personality: June 9 at 7:30pm

Steel Magnolias: July 20 at 7:30pm

Sherlock Holmes and the Raven’s Curse: August 25 at 7:30pm

If you have questions about the accessibility offerings at People’s Light, please contact Director of Community Investment Marcie Bramucci at 610.647.1900 ext. 143 or bramucci@peopleslight.org.

 

ABOUT PEOPLE’S LIGHT

People’s Light, one of the largest professional theatres in Pennsylvania, forges cultural and civic connections throughout our rapidly growing region. In the landscape of American regional theatres, we count ourselves among the few located outside of a metropolitan area. Our home in the heart of Chester County places us at a unique crossroads of rural, urban, and suburban populations. Throughout our year-round season,

we produce contemporary plays, classics, new forms of music theatre, and original work. Beyond the stage,

we host a wide array of cultural experiences and education programs that inspire meaningful engagement with, and sustained investment in and from, our surrounding communities.

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