MALVERN, PA.: People’s Light has announced its 2017-18 season of eight productions.
“The eight productions in our 43rd season seek to surprise our senses and nourish our souls,” said producing director Zak Berkman in a statement. “They come from writers of very different backgrounds and experiences, and they share an impulse to elevate our understanding of the complex human heart with compassion, humor, and song.”
The season will open with the world premiere of Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole by Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor (Oct. 11-Dec. 3). Directed by McGregor, the play imagines Cole as he faces his final Christmastime broadcast, and considers the advice of his friend Sammy Davis Jr. to “go out with a bang.” The show will feature Cole’s hits.
The holiday season will also contain a People’s Light tradition: a panto performance. Next season will feature Aladdin: A Musical Panto by Pete Pryor and Samantha Reading, with music and lyrics by Michael Ogborn (Nov. 15, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018). It will retell the story of Aladdin and his magic lamp in the style of a musical panto. Pryer will direct.
In January, People’s Light will present Morning’s at Seven by Paul Osborn (Jan. 10-Feb. 4, 2018). The play takes place in a small Midwestern town, where four sisters and their husbands face secrets and resentments in their old age. Abigail Adams will direct. The cast so far is Carla Belver, Alda Cortese, Janis Dardaris, and Marcia Saunders.
Following that will be The Diary of Anne Frank, Wendy Kesselman’s adaptation of Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s play (Feb. 21-March 31, 2018). David Bradley will direct the production, which will star a multiracial cast as Anne Frank and her family, as they hide from the Nazis in 1942 Amsterdam.
After that will be I Will Not Go Gently, written and performed by Jennifer Childs (March 21-April 15, 2018). The one-woman show will feature original music by Childs and Christopher Colucci. The play was originally produced at 1812 Productions. Harriet Power will direct.
Then, six actors will star in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (April 25-May 27, 2018). Berkman and People’s Light resident director Samantha Reading have adapted the tale for a small cast. Reading will also direct.
During the summer, the theatre will mount Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau (June 13-July 8, 2018). The play takes place in Detroit, where a group of African-American autoworkers are facing factory downsizing. Steve H. Broadnax III will direct.
The season will close with Mark Twain’s River of Song by Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman (Aug. 1-26, 2018). David Lutken and a cast of musicians will perform a exploration of music and culture on the Mississippi River, which will include American traditional songs like “Dance Boatmen Dance,” “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” and “Deep River Blues.” Myler will direct. The production will first be produced at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre before traveling to Malvern.
People’s Light produces a mix of world premieres, contemporary plays, and fresh approaches to classic texts.