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Lantern Theater Company Announces Digital Relaunch of THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THOMAS JEFFERSON, CHARLES DICKENS, & COUNT LEO TOLSTOY: DISCORD

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The production begins today and streams on demand through February 27, 2022.

Lantern Theater Company announced today the relaunch of its digital premiere of The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens & Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord - the company's latest professionally filmed production, furthering its mission to engage audiences with plays that investigate and illuminate what is essential in the human spirit and the spirit of the times.

A Founding Father, a Victorian literary celebrity, and a Russian aristocrat/anarchist clash in this provocative comedy that sets three of the world's greatest thinkers against each other in a battle of wits and wills. Jefferson, Dickens, and Tolstoy find themselves locked in a room with no exit. Attempting an escape, they ransack the philosophies of their lives and work, searching for a truth that will set them free while confronting their own hypocrisy and failings.

Created by playwright and former stand-up comedian Scott Carter and directed by Armina LaManna, the new digital take on the Lantern's 2017 smash hit play features Gregory Isaac as Jefferson, Brian McCann as Dickens, and Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon as Tolstoy.

The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens & Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord begins today and streams on demand through February 27, 2022. Tickets and information are available online at www.lanterntheater.org.

Originally produced by the Lantern during its 2016/17 season, The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens & Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord was written by Scott Carter over the course of many years, following a nearly fatal asthma attack that set him on a path of spiritual exploration. Inspired by Carter's discovery that Jefferson, Dickens, and Tolstoy had all compiled their own gospels from existing biblical literature, the play explores both their aspirations and foibles. Thrust together in death, three of the modern world's most influential minds grapple in spirited and witty debate about their beliefs and their ability - and failure - to live up to their own God's standards with nothing but a pen, a journal, and their squabbling roommates to judge them. Carter noted that after his near-death experience he "entered a bliss state - loving all whom I met and forgiving previous transgressions done to me. It lasted about a week." The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens & Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord is an exploration of the instinct to reach toward grace and the difficulty of living in it.

"The Lantern has long produced work that engages both the head and the heart, bringing to life explorations of human nature, philosophy, art, and literature," said Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon, who also plays Tolstoy in the filmed production. "This play forces Jefferson, Dickens, and Tolstoy to confront the serious problems undermining their legacies and to ask whether the good they intended through their public actions excuse the real harms done to the people over whom they had power and sway."

Director Armina LaManna met and talked with Carter throughout the process of rehearsing and filming his play. "To Scott, this play is like a living, breathing entity," she said. "I really liked the play when I read it. When I met him, that changed into a more intimate relationship for me, because of the way that he talked about it. And the skill and the erudition that he used to write this play is absolutely stunning. Scott really, really wants his play to change people."

Lantern Theater Company will further explore The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens & Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord on its Lantern Searchlight blog, available online at lanterntheater.org/searchlight. Articles will be published through the play's streaming run, delving into the history of Jefferson, Dickens, and Tolstoy and their gospels, plus behind the scenes interviews with the creative artists.

Tickets for The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens & Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord are $20 per household/device and are available online at www.lanterntheater.org or by calling the Lantern Box Office at (215) 829-0395. Closed captioning is available. Ticket buyers will receive an email confirmation with their ticket access link, which will provide on-demand access to the play for one viewing during the extended streaming period, now through February 27, 2022. The production can be viewed on most internet-connected devices with email/web browser access, including desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and select smart TVs. A Digital Afterlife Pass is also available for $35, which includes one ticket for The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens & Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord and the world premiere digital production of Steve H. Broadnax III's Me and the Devil (streaming now through November 21, 2021).


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