MALVERN, PA.: People’s Light has announced its 2020-21 season, the company’s 46th, featuring four world premieres and a slew of classics.
“The 2020-21 season blends the familiar with the unknown and offers new ways to look at the stories and characters we think we know,” said People’s Light executive artistic director Abigail Adams in a statement. “At a time when divisions might seem insurmountable, we’ve brought together a collection of plays and musicals that surprise, encourage, and connect us.”
The season begins with Mushroom (Sept. 24-Oct. 25), a new play from Pulitzer Prize finalist Eisa Davis. Inspired by recent events, this play follows the intersecting lives of immigrant families in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, as they deal with workplace disputes, unexpected romance, and the increased presence of ICE in their community. Mushroom emerged from the theatre’s New Play Frontiers program, a long-term initiative to commission, develop, and produce locally inspired plays that explore our American identity through the stories and concerns of the greater Philadelphia region. David Mendizábal will direct.
Next up is Zak Berkman’s new adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Nov. 19-Jan. 3, 2021), directed by David Bradley. This fresh take on the classic will feature a mix of newly arranged 19th-century English carols and original songs. Ian Merrill Peakes will take on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, leading an ensemble of 16 adult and youth actors as well as three onstage musicians.
The season continues with the Philadelphia premiere of Lee Blessing’s Vivie (Jan. 13-Feb. 7, 2021). Supernatural drama meets crime thriller in this dark comedy about making the best of the family you’ve got. People’s Light company members Janis Dardaris and Stephen Novelli will star and Abigail Adams will direct.
Following will be Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark play A Raisin in the Sun (Feb. 24- March 28, 2021), which examines deep generational divides among the Younger family as they live in a shared apartment on the segregated South Side of Chicago in the 1950s. Barrymore Award winner Amina Robinson will helm the production.
Next is the world premiere of emerging playwright Amy Berryman’s sci-fi drama Walden (April 7-May 2, 2021). Deep-seated rivalry, personal entanglements, and conflicting philosophies threaten to drive twin sisters and NASA scientists Stella and Cassie apart, and the fate of an uninhabitable Earth hangs in the balance.
The season will continue with Personality: The Lloyd Price Musical (May 19-June 13, 2021), a world premiere jukebox musical centered on pop and R&B legend Lloyd “Mr. Personality” Price. Written by By B. Jeffrey Madoff and featuring the music of Price, the production will feature a cast of 14 singers and dancers and direction by Sheldon Epps.
Following will be Steel Magnolias (June 23-July 25, 2021), the beloved 1987 play by Robert Harling. Every Saturday morning, the reigning ladies of a small Louisiana parish spend time together at Truvy Jones’ Beauty Parlor in this dramatic comedy. People’s Light company members Mary Elizabeth Scallen, Susan McKey, Kathryn Petersen, Teri Lamm, and Claire Inie-Richards will star and Abigail Adams will direct.
Concluding the season is Sherlock Holmes and the Raven’s Curse (Aug. 4-29, 2021), written by R. Hamilton Wright and based on the works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Following the mysterious death of Sherlock’s uncle, Holmes and Watson travel to Scotland to investigate a cryptic message left in his will. People’s Light company member Christopher Patrick Mullen will star as Sherlock Holmes and David Bradley will direct.
People’s Light, one of the largest professional theatres in Pennsylvania, was founded in 1974 and forges cultural and civic connections throughout their rapidly growing region of Chester County.