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If The Shoe Fits

By AML Publisher
Photos Courtesy of Mark Garvin, Mark Garvin Photography

Kim Carson and Christopher Patrick Mullen star in People’s Light and Theatre Company’s CINDERELLA

Kim Carson and Christopher Patrick Mullen star in People’s Light and Theatre Company’s CINDERELLA

Malvern’s People’s Light and Theatre delivers another entertaining and unpredictable holiday performance with this year’s production of Cinderella. The American classic, by Kathryn Petersen, is being produced in the English tradition of Pantomime, a theatrical approach that dates back over 100 years. Pantomimes almost always take place around the holiday season and are usually based around traditional children’s fairytales and stories. This is People’s Light and Theatre’s fifth consecutive holiday ‘Panto’ style show.

Director Pete Pryor, a veteran of two previous People’s Light and Theatre holiday performances (Treasure Island ’07 and Sleeping Beauty ’04), makes his PL&T directorial debut with Cinderella. “We are doing a pantos for the holidays, which People’s Light has done very successfully for each of the last five or six years. A pantomime takes a story that is very well-known and skewers it, turning it on its’ ear and making it into a fractured fairytale. Things are very silly, things are anachronistic and things are not what you expect to happen,” Pryor explained. “It very loosely adheres with some plot line but the main idea is that it is a time to have fun. So, you go to the theater with the family, and you just have a lot of fun with the music, topical references and twists and turns.”

Audience participation and a dame, who is the MC of the play and the audience’s guide, help to engage the audience from the start in an unpredictable and interactive experience. Children love that they get to boo the villains and argue with or cheer on the characters.


Pillow Fight!<br>A Panto is a comical interpretation of a popular fairytale that encourages audience participation and promises unpredictable twists and turns.

Pillow Fight!
A Panto is a comical interpretation of a popular fairytale that encourages audience participation and promises unpredictable twists and turns.

Kim Carson stars as Cinderella and says director Kathryn Petersen took life lessons from the American classic and brought them to the forefront in this version. “Kathryn has written just a fantastic script. It’s a little bit more about figuring out what you want in life and going for it! One of my favorite lines in the play is ’Being good isn’t about being a doormat and trying to please everybody all the time. Being good means bringing yourself to the party.’” Carson said. “In the older versions of Cinderella, the fairy godmother has control of everything that is happening and it is all because of her magical powers that things happen. In this version, Cinderella has a say, and so does the fairy godtree and the animals as well. So, it’s more of a modern interpretation.”

Chris P. Mullen stars as the prince’s valet. “My character is the trusted valet and in the play he actually makes a bet with the prince that he could find his girl if he switches roles with him. And, so the valet pretends to be the prince at the ball so there is a bit of an identity-switch going on with the prince and myself which makes for an interesting scenario,” Mullen explained.

A stellar cast will wow family and friends alike.<br>(Clockwise from left) Chris Faith as Big Gus, Andrew Kane as Tom Cat, Elena Bossler as Sudsy Squirrel, and Maggie Fitzgerald as Flea in Kathryn Petersen's CINDERELLA: A MUSICAL PANTO, with music and lyrics by Michael Ogborn.

A stellar cast will wow family and friends alike.
(Clockwise from left) Chris Faith as Big Gus, Andrew Kane as Tom Cat, Elena Bossler as Sudsy Squirrel, and Maggie Fitzgerald as Flea in Kathryn Petersen's CINDERELLA: A MUSICAL PANTO, with music and lyrics by Michael Ogborn.

Mullen, 45, a Malvern native and Great Valley grad, loves to perform for his hometown crowd — he has performed in dozens of productions at the theater over the years. He enjoys the pantos approach and the uniqueness of each and every performance. “It can be a righteous amount of fun because there is a keen awareness of the audience. It is not a wink to the audience, as much as it is a complete integration of the audience at every single moment. To the point where us, as actors, get a response from the audience in places you would never imagine. It’s unpredictable and just a lot of fun,” Mullen added.

Some regular Panto cast members return this year in key roles. Erin Weaver and company member Susan McKey are the evil stepsisters, Tom Teti plays the father, and Mark Lazar is the “Grand Dame/MC” in the role of the fairy godmother. Michael Ogborn returns as composer and lyricist and has written nine original songs. Whatever performance you choose, director Pryor promises a fantastic family experience. “It is going to be a total hoot; the play will be fantastic for everyone who comes to enjoy it. The music is incredible and all the people who come to the show will have a unique and memorable experience,” enthused Pryor.

Other pantomimes successfully produced by People’s Light and Theater include Sleeping Beauty, Robin Hood, and Treasure Island.

People’s Light & Theatre Company presents CINDERELLA, by Kathryn Petersen, with music and lyrics written by Michael Ogborn, from November 19, 2008 – January 4, 2009 on the Main Stage. Pete Pryor directs. People’s Light & Theatre is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern. Tickets are $29-$48, with special discounts available for students, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For tickets call 610.644.3500 or visit www.peopleslight.org.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Jen C. Says:

    Saw the play last week, it is so entertaining for all age ranges and the young woman who plays “Flea” is just fantastic. People’s Light is a great Main Line treasure, look forward to seeing Jerry Spinelli’s Eggs this spring. Keep supporting the local arts on your site!

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