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People’s Light Announces 45th Anniversary Season

The season will feature the world premiere of a musical about Civil Rights activist Bayard Rustin.

MALVERN, Pa.: People’s Light has announced its 2019-20 season, featuring a variety of Philadelphia-area premieres.

“Rarely do we choose a theme for our season, but sometimes themes reveal themselves in retrospect,” said artistic director and CEO Abigail Adams in a statement. “Little did we know, until we put it all together, that our 45th anniversary season would be an exploration of courage: physical, spiritual, moral—every kind of courage you can imagine.”

The season began with Dot (Sept. 18-Oct. 20), written and directed by Colman Domingo. Domingo’s dramedy explores a West Philly family gathering over the holidays as their matriarch begins to lose her memory.

The season will continue with Little Red Robin Hood: A Musical Panto (Nov. 13-Jan. 5, 2020) by Kathryn Petersen with music and lyrics by Michael Ogborn. The holiday panto sets fairy tale figures in the 1940s as a villain takes over Robin Hood’s forest. Bill Fennelly will direct.

Next up will be The Children (Jan. 15-Feb. 9) by Lucy Kirkwood. The acclaimed drama follows retired nuclear physicists who must come to terms with their culpability as the world crumbles around them. Adams will direct.

Following will be Shakespeare in Love (Feb. 26-March 29), adapted by Lee Hall from Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard with music by Alex Bechtel. The play follows William Shakespeare as he fights writer’s block and meets the noblewoman Viola, who disguises herself as a man to pursue her dreams of acting.

The season will continue with Hold These Truths (March 18-April 19) by Jeanne Sakata. Inspired by the story of Gordon Hirabayashi, the solo show follows Hirabayashi as he is ordered to incarcerate Japanese Americans during World War II. Desdemona Chiang will direct.

Next will be Bayard Rustin: Inside Ashland (May 13-June 7), written and directed by Steve H. Broadnax III. This world premiere musical follows Civil Rights activist Bayard Rustin as he fights racism and homophobia while imprisoned in Kentucky.

Following will be Mary Jane (June 24 -July 19) by Amy Herzog. The Pulitzer Prize finalist play follows a single mother with a chronically ill child. Giovanna Sardelli will direct.

The season will conclude with Songs for Nobodies (Aug. 5-30) by Joanna Murray-Smith. The one-woman musical follows unknown women who encountered women icons of music like Judy Garland and Billie Holiday. Rob Lindley will direct.

Founded in 1974, People’s Light makes and experiences theatre through arts education programs, bringing people together for reflection, discovery, and celebration.

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