MALVERN, PA.: People’s Light has announced its 2016–2017 season, which will feature all works by American artists. The season will include the world premieres of Karen Hartman’s Project Dawn and Samantha Reading, Alec Bechtel, and Pete Pryor’s Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto.
“In this unsettling election year, we yearn for a future of unity and hope,” artistic director and CEO Abigail Adams said in a statement. “We seek stories that connect us to each other and our history, stories that celebrate the ways in which we are all part of something that transcends our own individual story.”
The season will begin with Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop (Sept. 28–Oct. 30). Set on April 3, 1968, the play imagines a fictional encounter between Martin Luther King Jr. and a hotel maid. Kamilah Forbes will direct.
Next will be the world premiere of Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto (Nov. 16, 2016–Jan 15, 2017), by Pete Pryor and Samantha Reading, with music and lyrics by Alec Bechtel. In this panto retelling of the fairy tale, the king has banned all record players to protect his daughter from a cursed needle.
Back Home Again: On the Road with John Denver (Dec. 3, 2016–Jan. 15, 2017), by Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman, is a musical about the late folk musician and features Denver’s hits including “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”
Next will be Surviving Twin (Jan 21–Feb. 4, 2017), written and performed by Loudon Wainwright III. The musical explores the writer’s family relationships and will be directed by Daniel Stern.
Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker (Feb. 15–March 12, 2017) will be onstage next. In the play, a wealthy widower hires a matchmaker to help him find a new wife. Abigail Adams will direct.
Lauren Gunderson’s I and You (March 29–April 23, 2017) will be next. The play follows two high school students working together on a report about Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Samantha Reading will direct.
Following will be The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (May 3–June 4, 2017), by Kate DiCamillo and featuring music by Eric Hellman and Jessie Fisher. Stuart Carden will direct this play about the journeys of a china rabbit.
The world premiere of Project Dawn (June 7–July 9, 2017), by Karen Hartman, is based on Hartman’s research inside Project Dawn Court, a court for prostitutes. As the first world premiere as part of People’s Light New Play Frontiers Residency & Commission program, the play chronicles the lives of women repeatedly convicted of prostitution.
Ken Ludwig’s Moon Over Buffalo (July 19–Aug. 13, 2017) will be the final show of the season. The play is a farce about two actors given their last chance at stardom and will be directed by Pryor.
People’s Light was founded in 1974 and produces a mix of world premieres, contemporary plays, and new takes on classic plays.