Photo Flash: People's Light Celebrates 15 Years of Pantos with CINDERELLA!
People's Light celebrates 15 years of madcap merriment with Cinderella: A Musical Panto. As "the nation's primary creator of such specialized tomfoolery" (Newsworks), People's Light has adapted the theatrical form of British pantomime into their own unique brand of holiday hilarity. Over 200,000 people ages 5-105 have attended the panto since People's Light began producing them over a decade ago. Following the tradition of putting a new spin on old fairytales, this year's panto transports the Cinderella story to the roaring 1920s. Cinderella: A Musical Panto runs November 14 - January 6 on the Leonard C. Haas Stage. Tickets range from $21.50-$53. To purchase, call 610.644.3500 or visit peopleslight.org. People's Light is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355.
Filled with award-winning original music, outrageous costumes, slapstick comedy, and pop-culture references, the People's Light panto is hilarious holiday entertainment for the entire family. Audiences are invited to cheer their heroes, "boo" the bad guys, and even trade quips with the cast. Director David Bradley explains, "The panto form is about generosity - performers open up to the audience, invite them in, and make sure everyone in the room feels as if we're in it together. We need that right now."
With Cinderella, author Kathryn Petersen stays true to the essence of the classic tale but aims to "tell it in a way the audience has never heard it before." Our heroine, Ella, dreams of being an air show barnstormer pilot, her animal pals are streetwise tough guys, and the Prince's Ball takes place at a speakeasy. Bradley says, "I love the way Kathryn and [composer and lyricist] Michael Ogborn shape the classic Cinderella story - combining mystery, wild antics, and the pizazz of the 1920's. At its heart, the story shows the power of getting to make your own way in the world. In this version, Ella stands up for what she wants and who she wants to be. I love that choice-and how the play celebrates that."
The People's Light panto has become a holiday tradition for many throughout the region. "There are families who have been with us since our first panto fifteen years ago," says Executive Artistic Director Abigail Adams. "We're thrilled to see our friends and neighbors return year after year, alongside hundreds of newcomers experiencing this form of theatre for the very first time."
Cinderella: A Musical Panto features members of the resident ensemble at People's Light. Mark Lazar is back as the Theatre's celebrated Dame, playing Ella's mother Hazel Opfinder. Tom Teti portrays Ella's widowed father Oliver Opfinder. Susan McKey, Christopher Patrick Mullen, and Mary Elizabeth Scallen are Ella's animal pals Sudsy Squirrel, Tom Cat, and Big Gus. They are joined by new and returning guest artists. Caroline Strang (The Diary of Anne Frank), plays Ella Opfinder. Frequent guest Kim Carson (Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Arthur and the Tale of the Red Dragon, Cinderella (2013)) returns to the panto stage as Baroness Lucretia Loosestrife. Luke Bradt (Sleeping Beauty, Biloxi Blues, The Three Musketeers) plays Barnaby, and Tori Lewis (Aladdin) portrays evil stepsister Invasia Loosestrife. Making their People's Light debut are Tyler Fauntleroy as Prince Aidan, Christian Giancaterino as Flea, and Nicole Stacie as Poisianna Loosestrife. Michael Covel, Stephanie Hodge, and Mark Marano serve as swings.
People's Light Company Member David Bradley directs. Former People's Light Director of Design James F. Pyne, Jr. designs the set, and Company Member Rosemarie McKelvey creates costumes. Mike Inwood designs lights and Brent Hoyer does sound design. Stephen Casey choreographs, and Daniel Matarazzo serves as Music Director, aided by the Theatre's panto drummer of nine years, Kanako Omae Neale. Company Member Kate McSorley Fossner stage manages and Gina Pisasale dramaturgs.
Photo Credit: Mark Garvin
Luke Bradt and Tyler Fauntleroy
Kim Carson, Tori Lewis, and Nicole Stacie
Luke Bradt and Caroline Strang
The cast of Cinderella: A Musical Panto