People's Light Readies World Premiere Holiday Panto LITTLE RED ROBIN HOOD
Fairytales collide in Little Red Robin Hood: A Musical Panto! Each year, the People's Light holiday panto transforms a beloved children's story into a musical extravaganza filled with outrageous characters, toe-tapping original music, slapstick comedy, and topical humor for both kids and adults. For the first time, People's Light adapts not one, but two classic stories - the Robin Hood legend and Little Red Riding Hood - to create a holiday show like nothing you've ever seen. Little Red Robin Hood: A Musical Panto runs November 13 - January 5 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.
Emerging from commedia dell'arte, the Twelfth Night holiday, and the Festival of Fools, the Christmas "pantomime" dates back to the 18th century and remains the most popular theatre form in Great Britain. In a single year, 19 pantos played in London and 187 in the rest of the country. Over the past 16 years, People's Light has tailored the British form into its own unique brand of holiday hilarity, attracting thousands of visitors every holiday season.
In this world premiere panto, Robin Hood is dead, his merry men are in hiding, and Nottinghamshire is taken over by greedy villainess Lady Nottingham. When young Amelia, a bow-wielding orphan raised by outlaws, is sent on a mission to save "the Granny in the woods" from Lady N's right-hand wolf, an epic adventure begins! Set in the 1940s with a dash of the medieval, this hilarious musical mashup is the most inventive panto yet to emerge from "the nation's primary creator of such specialized tomfoolery" (Newsworks).
This marks the fifth collaboration between playwright Kathryn Petersen and composer/lyricist Michael Ogborn, the same creative team behind fan-favorite Cinderella: A Musical Panto. Adapted from such source material as Howard Pyle's The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, Grimm's Fairy Tales, the 1938 film The Adventures of Robin Hood, and more, Little Red Robin Hood combines elements from both folk tales with inspiration from 1940s gangster movies, the newspaper industry, and current events.
Petersen and Ogborn are joined by award-winning director Bill Fennelly, whose work has been seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally. Fennelly specializes in musical theatre, and is thrilled to delve into this singular art form. "Creating a panto is an exercise in finding the joy," he explains. "It provides us an opportunity to imagine a better and brighter world. A panto opens its arms wide and invites everyone to come on in, sit and laugh together - I can think of no greater holiday experience than that."
While Little Red Robin Hood delivers exciting new characters, music, and adventures, People's Light audiences can expect those same signature panto elements they know and love - the Dame: a boisterous and benevolent matriarch played by a man in a fabulous dress, heroes to cheer, villains to "boo", animal sidekicks, candy for the crowd, a "messy bit", and audience participation that brings everyone into the action. Watch out, you might even get pulled onstage!
It's no wonder that this unique and joyous theatrical experience draws fun-loving audiences young and old from a wide range of local communities. Producing Director Zak Berkman describes the phenomenon: "Every year, audiences of all ages relish the songs, dances, topical jokes, and jovial camaraderie of this holiday celebration, only at People's Light."
Little Red Robin Hood features several People's Light company members: Mark Lazar as Maud (The Dame), Susan McKey as Rocky the Raccoon, Christopher Patrick Mullen as newspaper editor Floyd Flynn Finkelstein, Mary Elizabeth Scallen as a villainous Lady Nottingham, and Tom Teti as Friar Tuck, as well as panto veterans Tori Lewis (Cinderella, Aladdin) and Eli Lynn (Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty) as various ensemble roles and Skippy the Chipmunk, respectively. Viveca Chow makes her People's Light debut as Amelia (Little Red Riding Hood herself), joined by fellow People's Light newcomers: Hanna Gaffney as Maid Marian, Armando Gutierrez as Lupo (the wolf), Ebony Pullum in various ensemble roles, and Victor Rodriguez Jr. as Bert the Beaver. Mark Marano returns to support as a swing, along with Catherine Purcell.
John Daniels (The Three Musketeers) returns as Music Director, aided by the theatre's panto drummer of ten years, Kanako Omae Neale. Designers Michael Schweikardt (set) and Richard St. Claire (costumes) make their People's Light debuts, while Mike Inwood and Brent Hoyer return to design lighting and sound, respectively. Stephen Casey once again serves as panto choreographer and Abby Weissman provides support as Assistant Director. Resident Stage Manager Kate McSorley Fossner stage manages, and Resident Dramaturg Gina Pisasale rounds out the team as Dramaturg.
Little Red Robin Hood previews Wednesday, November 13; Thursday, November 14; and Friday, November 15 at 7pm. The play opens on Saturday, November 16 at 7pm and runs through Sunday, January 5. Standard tickets start at $48, including fees. $35 preview tickets are available November 13-15. For tickets, call the Box Office at 610.644.3500.
Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. For more information or to purchase group tickets, call Group Sales Associate Kelly Benedict at 610.647.1900 x111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscription packages are available for the 2019/2020 Season at People's Light. Remaining productions include Little Red Robin Hood: A Musical Panto (November 13 - January 5); The Children (January 15 - February 9); Shakespeare in Love (February 26 - March 29); Hold These Truths (March 18 - April 19); Bayard Rustin: Inside Ashland (May 13 - June 7); Mary Jane (June 24 - July 19); and Songs for Nobodies (August 5 - 30). Visit www.peopleslight.org or call 610.644.3500 for more information.
Actors, prices, productions, performance dates and times are subject to change. Additional service charges will apply. Contact the Box Office for more details.