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Lantern Theater Company’s 2011/12 Season to Include Shakespeare, Coward

Celebrating its 18th anniversary season in 2011/12, Lantern Theater Company announces a slate of plays and events that illustrate the company's ongoing commitment to celebrating the best in classic and contemporary playwriting.

The 2011/12 season opens with New Jerusalem, The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation: Amsterdam, July 27, 1656 - the Philadelphia premiere of David Ives' recent off-Broadway hit about one of the greatest philosophers in history. The Lantern celebrates the holiday season with a sophisticated, sexy, and sparkling production of Noël Coward's Private Lives. Springtime brings a fresh production of Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's beloved tragedy of star-crossed lovers and a city at war. The season concludes with The Island, a moving and surprisingly funny drama by Tony® Award-winners Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona.

"The Lantern's intimate performance space will host a season full of big ideas and big characters," says Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon. "We will deal with burning issues of conscience, human rights, and the power of the state in New Jerusalem and The Island, and with the irresistible force of human attraction in Romeo and Juliet and Private Lives. It's an ambitious program of works that explore - through radically different eyes and in many different voices - what it means to be human."

Special events will include the Fall Philosophy Festival: Theater and the Age of Reason, a festival centered around New Jerusalem that will explore the Jewish experience in Europe and Spinoza's lasting influence on art, literature, and philosophy; Anthony Lawton's adaptation of The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis' own favorite among his works; and Scholars: In Conversation - Swords, Sex & Surprises in Shakespeare's Verona, presented in conjunction with Romeo and Juliet.

Lantern Theater Company is located at St. Stephen's Theater at 10th and Ludlow Streets in Center City Philadelphia. For more information, visit www.lanterntheater.org or call (215) 829-0395. 4-Play Subscriptions and Flex Packages are now available for $72 - $168, with discounts available for students, seniors, and groups of 10 or more. Single tickets go on sale on Tuesday, September 6.

Lantern Theater Company's 2011/12 Mainstage Season

New Jerusalem, The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation: Amsterdam, July 27, 1656
October 6 - 30, 2011 (Press Opening: Wed, Oct. 12, 7:00 p.m.)
Philadelphia Premiere
By David Ives
Directed by Charles McMahon
As the Inquisition bears down on them, a small Jewish community flees Portugal to find a tenuous peace in seemingly liberal Amsterdam. But Spinoza, a favorite son of the community and the rabbi's heir apparent, is an outspoken iconoclast. When the boldness of his ideas strains the bounds of Amsterdam's professed tolerance, it leads to a dangerous confrontation between powerful political forces and his own beloved community. Based on true events in the life of one of the greatest philosophers in history, this recent off-Broadway hit from playwright David Ives challenges traditional political and religious thinking with conviction, passion, and wit. The cast includes Sam Henderson as Baruch de Spinoza and David Bardeen as Rabbi Mortera, with David Blatt, Jake Blouch, Seth Reichgott, Kittson O'Neill, and one additional cast member to be announced shortly.

Private Lives
December 8 - 31, 2011 (Press Opening: Wed, Dec. 14, 7:00 p.m.)
By Noël Coward
Directed by Kathryn MacMillan

This holiday season, the Lantern serves up Noël Coward's champagne cocktail of a comedy. Amanda and Elyot, once a glamorous and tempestuous couple, haven't seen each other since their divorce five years ago. When they meet by chance on a hotel balcony, their passion reignites - even though they are on their honeymoons with other people. Sophisticated, sexy, and sparkling, Private Lives is a screwball romantic comedy from the golden age of Hollywood. The cast includes Geneviève Perrier and Ben Dibble as Amanda and Elyot, Leonard C. Haas and Kristin O'Rourke as their new spouses, and Jessica Bedford as Louise.

Romeo and Juliet
March 1 - April 1, 2012 (Press Opening: Wed, Mar. 7, 7:00 p.m.)
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Charles McMahon
Romeo and Juliet is beloved all over the world for the tragic romance of its star-crossed lovers. But it is the story, too, of an enduring feud between the Capulet and Montague families - a conflict grown so deadly that it throws an entire city into turmoil. The danger on the streets is palpable: armed enemies from both sides lurk around corners, while the Prince threatens death to anyone who is caught up in the clash. When Romeo and his Juliet rise above the old grudges, their love may heal the deep divisions in Verona... or bring the whole city crashing down. "The city's top presenter of Shakespeare's work" (TheaterMania.com) stages this devastating explosion of poetry, sex, and violence. The cast includes Sean Lally as Romeo and Nicole Erb as Juliet, with Jake Blouch, Charlie DelMarcelle, Leonard C. Haas, Kevin Meehan, Kristin O'Rourke, Ceal Phelan, and Frank X.

The Island
May 17 - June 10, 2012 (Press Opening: Wed, May 23, 7:00 p.m.)
By Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntshona
Directed by Peter DeLaurier
The Island is Robben Island, South Africa's notorious prison, where John and Winston are political prisoners and cellmates. After absurdly grueling days laboring under the sun, they return to their dark cell to rehearse a makeshift performance of Sophocles' play Antigone. Winston takes the part of young Antigone, who defies the laws of the state for the sake of her conscience. John takes the part of Creon, the king, who is so desperate to hold onto power that he will crush any dissent. Rehearsals in the cramped cell will test their friendship and strain their resilience in this gripping, vivid portrait of apartheid-era struggle. Undeniably moving and surprisingly funny, this modern classic by Tony® Award-winners Athol Fugard, John Kani, and Winston Ntoshona celebrates hope, passion, and the strength of friendship. Beloved Philadelphia actor Frank X will be joined by an additional cast member to be announced shortly.

2011/12 Special Events
Fall Philosophy Festival: Theater and the Age of Reason
October 10 and 21 - 23, 2011

Presented in conjunction with New Jerusalem, the Fall Philosophy Festival will explore the Jewish experience in Europe and Spinoza's lasting influence on art, literature, and philosophy through special performances, readings, and lively panel discussions with theater artists and guest scholars. Confirmed participants include Anne Oravetz Albert of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of History; Vince Regan, Assistant Chief at the Philadelphia DA's Office; New Jerusalem director Charles McMahon; and New Jerusalem assistant director and Lantern teaching artist M. Craig Getting. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, September 6.

The Great Divorce
February 7 - 12, 2012 (Press Opening: Tue, Feb. 7, 8:00 p.m.)
By C.S. Lewis
Adapted and Performed by Anthony Lawton

C.S. Lewis' own favorite among his works, The Great Divorce tells the satiric and comic tale of hapless professor Clive and the motley band of malcontents who join him on a very curious bus ride. Journeying between Hell and Heaven, Clive crosses a wildly inventive landscape drawn by Lewis' philosophical imagination in a story filled with dazzling language and surprising insight. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, September 6.

Scholars: In Conversation - Swords, Sex & Surprises in Shakespeare's Verona
Mondays at 7pm: March 12, 19, and 26, 2012

Presented in conjunction with Romeo and Juliet, this three-part series will bring together audiences, scholars, and artists for insightful conversations about grudges, lovers, and unexpected moments of comedy in Shakespeare's beloved tragedy. Tickets go on sale September 6.

Lantern Theater Company: In Conversation (free for all ticket holders)

Directors: In Conversation - Audiences get a first-hand look into each production's design and rehearsal process in this moderated Q&A with each play's director. (Week 1 Fridays, 7:00 p.m.)

Artists: In Conversation - This post-show discussion offers an opportunity to talk with the creative artists involved with each production. (Week 1 Sundays, after 2:00 p.m. performance)

Pre-Curtain Cocktails - At this pre-show event, theater-goers mingle with Lantern staff, artists, and fellow audience members over happy hour specials and complimentary light fare at the Marathon at 10th & Walnut Sts. (Week 2 Fridays, 6:00 p.m.)

Artistic Director: In Conversation - Artistic Director Charles McMahon and Associate Artistic Director Kathryn MacMillan talk with audiences about what - and who - makes the Lantern distinctive, from choice of plays and artists, to how the theater space itself informs the company's performance style. (Week 3 Fridays, 7:00 p.m.)

About Lantern Theater Company
Founded in 1994, Lantern Theater Company is committed to an authentic and intimate exploration of the human spirit in its choice of classics, modern, and original works. The Lantern reaches a loyal and growing annual audience of over 16,000 through three core programs: Mainstage Productions that are smart, fun, engaging, and connected to the modern world; Lantern Theater Company: In Conversation, its audience enrichment program that offers an insider's look at each production with Lantern artists and guest scholars; and Illumination, its award-winning education program that engages local students and adults in the world of theater and nurtures their artistic expression through in-school residencies, student matinee performances, and teaching artist training for after school programs.

Philadelphia Weekly named the Lantern "Best Theater Company" in 2008, describing the company's selection of plays as "impressively diverse in genre and style." Since the inception of the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre in 1995, the Lantern has received 71 nominations and 15 awards, including the 2009 Barrymore Award for Excellence in Theatre Education and Community Service. The Lantern has received 8 nominations for Outstanding Overall Production of Play over the past 7 years, more than any other theater company in the Philadelphia region.

Lantern Theater Company has been in residence at St. Stephen's Theater at 10th & Ludlow Streets in Center City Philadelphia since 1996, managing the performance space and developing it into an affordable multi-purpose performing arts venue.

 


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