Lantern Theater Company Presents A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS in March

A Man for All Seasons runs Thursday, March 10 through Sunday, April 10, 2022, at Plays & Players Theatre.

By: Feb. 25, 2022
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Lantern Theater Company will launch its 2021/22 Mainstage Season and return to live performances with an epic production of A Man for All Seasons by award-winning British playwright and screenwriter Robert Bolt.

Lantern artistic partner Peter DeLaurier directs an ensemble cast of Philadelphia actors including Frank X as Sir Thomas More, Scott Greer as The Common Man, and Anthony Lawton as Thomas Cromwell, with Jake Blouch, Benjamin Brown, Morgan Charéce Hall, Gregory Isaac, Paul Harrold, and Mary Elizabeth Scallen.

A Man for All Seasons runs Thursday, March 10 through Sunday, April 10, 2022, at Plays & Players Theatre; a complete schedule of performances and audience enrichment events is included in the fact sheet below. Theater critics and members of the press are invited to request press tickets for opening night on Wednesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. by contacting Anne Shuff at ashuff@lanterntheater.org.

To ensure a safe and comfortable return to live performances, all audience members will be required to present proof of full Covid-19 vaccination and a corresponding photo ID for entry. Everyone other than the actors on stage will also be required to wear properly fitted masks at all times.

Bolt's searing drama focuses on Sir Thomas More's refusal to acknowledge King Henry VIII as the supreme head of the Church of England, exploring themes of ethics and personal conscience as it compels audiences to consider how far they might go to keep clear their own conscience in the face of pressure from a powerful ruler or government. Producing A Man for All Seasons at a time fraught with political division, divisive debate, and pervasive inequality, the Lantern's production focuses on the ongoing need for public ethics in contemporary politics and policy-making.

"While Tudor England was undeniably a dangerous place and time, governed by the whims of a fickle monarch and administered by people who would do anything to please him, Bolt wrote A Man for All Seasons to address the dilemmas of conscience that people and politicians faced in his own time. I think in doing so he has created something for all times," said Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon. "After all, do we think the world today is run by people different from King Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell, and Thomas Cranmer? I see them in the paper every day. But what would it mean to look them all in the eye and say: 'No.' It's humbling to remember that we are not the heroes of the story; we are the common folk."

"In epochs of change and crisis we seem to need heroes and martyrs," said Peter DeLaurier, who helms the Lantern's production. "We make plays about them to remember that it's possible to have that strength and steadfastness even when we can't muster it ourselves. Thomas More was a brilliant, sociable, loving man, filled with life, successful and well-liked. But his world was also changing, quickly, and in ways he could not accept and, finally - as Bolt says - he 'found something in himself without which life was valueless and when that was denied him was able to grasp his death.' Do we have something like that in us? Would we recognize it? For what, right now, would we put our virtue on the table... our identities... our lives? The Right to Life? The Right to Choose? Traditional American Values? The salvation of 'Small-d-Democracy?' Thomas More is a man for our season."

Lantern Theater Company will delve into the themes of A Man for All Seasons on its Lantern Searchlight blog, available online at lanterntheater.org/searchlight. Articles will be published weekly throughout the production's run, exploring the history of Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII and the English Reformation, the Tudors, and modern prisoners of conscience, plus behind the scenes interviews with the creative artists.

Tickets for A Man for All Seasons start at $25 and are available online at www.lanterntheater.org or by calling the Lantern Box Office at (215) 829-0395. Discounts are available for students, seniors 65 and up, U.S. military personnel, and groups of 10 or more. All performances of A Man for All Seasons will take place at Plays & Players Theatre, located at 1714 Delancey Place in Center City Philadelphia.

About the Artists

Lauded by The New York Times as "one of the most successful British writers of his generation," Robert Bolt was an Academy Award-winning screenwriter and playwright, best-known for writing the screenplays for Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago. A Man for All Seasons was first performed at The Globe Theatre (now The Gielgud Theatre) in London before becoming a hit on Broadway, playing 620 performances and winning four Tony Awards in 1962, including Best Play. Scripted by Bolt himself, the 1966 feature film of the same name won six Academy Awards in 1967 including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

A Man for All Seasons will be directed by longtime Lantern artistic collaborator Peter DeLaurier, whose recent directing credits include Lantern productions of Molly Sweeney by Brian Friel, Hapgood by Tom Stoppard, Red Velvet by Lolita Charkabarti, 36 Views by Naomi Iizuka, and The Island and Sizwe Bansi Is Dead, both by Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona. Celebrating 54 years in professional theater in 2022, DeLaurier has also appeared at the Lantern in productions of The Plague, The Tempest, An Iliad, Underneath the Lintel, QED, The Train Driver, Emma, Heroes, Uncle Vanya, and Skylight. DeLaurier is a seven-time Barrymore Award nominee and received the award twice: for his role as The Librarian in Underneath the Lintel at the Lantern and as Kent in King Lear at People's Light, where he been a resident company member since 1991.

Beloved Philadelphia actor Frank X will tap into his unique combination of searing intelligence and deep empathy to bring the towering role of Sir Thomas More vividly to life. Appearing in his 19th Lantern stage production with A Man for All Seasons, his other Lantern credits include The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Tempest, As You Like It, "Master Harold"...and the boys, and King Lear. He has appeared on stages locally and nationally throughout his career, including InterAct Theatre Company, Arden Theatre Company, Quintessence Theatre, Seattle Rep, and Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Following his pandemic appearance as Falstaff in the Lantern's Shakespeare NOW live reading of Henry IV, Part 2, Scott Greer makes his long-awaited Lantern mainstage debut as The Common Man. He has worked at almost every theater company in Philadelphia during his 28-year career as well as regionally at Actors Theatre of Theatre of Louisville, Round House Theatre, Cape May Stage, and others.

Anthony Lawton takes on the role of Thomas Cromwell. Lawton's recent Lantern credits include The Plague, Molly Sweeney, his original adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui. Lawton is well known to Philadelphia audiences for his original works for the stage - including The Foocy, which had its world premiere at the Lantern in 2005, and The Light Princess, which premiered at Arden Theatre Company in 2017. His original adaptations of works by C.S. Lewis, Shel Silverstein, and others have earned him praise from Philadelphia City Paper as the city's "Best One-Man Theatre."

The ensemble cast also includes several Lantern stage veterans: Jake Blouch as King Henry VIII and others (Emma, As You Like It, Henry V, The Liar, A Skull in Connemara), Benjamin Brown as the Duke of Norfolk (Lantern Shakespeare NOW), Gregory Isaac as Cardinal Wolsey and others (The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens and Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord; The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui; Betrayal), Anthony Lawton as Thomas Cromwell (Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, The Plague, Molly Sweeney, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui), and Mary Elizabeth Scallen as Lady Alice More (Happy Days). Making their Lantern debuts with A Man for All Seasons are Morgan Charéce Hall as Lady Margaret More and Paul Harrold as Richard Rich.

The creative team includes scenic designer James F. Pyne, Jr. (Me and the Devil, The Plague, Othello), costume designer Kelly Myers (The Last Match), lighting designer Lily Fossner (Hapgood, Red Velvet), and sound design and original music by Christopher Colucci (The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens & Count Leo Tolstoy: Discord; Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol; The Plague; Molly Sweeney). Lantern Education Director M. Craig Getting and Lantern 2021/22 Season Professional Apprentice Leah Brockman serve as associate director and assistant director, respectively.



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