BOX OFFICE 610.644.3500

Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto

By Pete Pryor & Samantha Reading
Music & Lyrics by Alex Bechtel
Directed by Pete Pryor
November 16, 2016-January 15, 2017
Leonard C. Haas Stage


WORLD PREMIERE In this Panto spin on the classic tale of fairies, awakenings, and true love, a land made prosperous by its music industry is now in ruins. The King has banned all record players from Paoli Shoals to protect his daughter from an enchanted needle and the curse of the wicked Chanteuse. But on the dawn of Princess Aurora’s 16th birthday everything changes: the Moon falls out of the sky, true identities are revealed, and rock begins to roll throughout the kingdom. This celebration of the magic of music and finding your voice is pitch perfect for all ages.

Relaxed Performance: January 15th at 2pm

A sensory-friendly, judgement-free performance for anyone who would enjoy a more flexible theatre experience. For more info on our relaxed performances, click here. You can download a Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto Pre-show Guide and a Character Guide.

ASL Performance: January 15th at 2pm

NEW! American Sign Language interpretation provided by Hands Up Productions. Please inquire with the box office (610-644-3500) about designated seating for best view of interpreters during the performance.

Dinner & A Show Packages

Enjoy a prix fixe dinner and a show package for $79 (Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday evening) and $88 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday matinee) at The Farmhouse Bistro prior to the Wed-Sun evening performances. That's a savings of up to 15% off the single ticket price.

Don't sleep through brunch!
Join us at 11:45am at The Farmhouse Bistro for a brunch buffet before the December 4th Sunday matinee of Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto and meet your favorite Panto characters from 12:15-12:45pm.

Already have tickets? Add brunch for $30 (Adults and Teens) or $16 (Children). Click here for the menu.

King: Tom Teti*
Mama C: Mark Lazar*
Princess Aurora: Ariana Sepúlveda
Aunt Tikki/Sun: Susan McKey*
Chanteuse: Kim Carson*
Sam Slug: Josh Totora*
Kerri Crane: Emily Kaye Lynn
Mudbug: Brendan Norton*
Ogre/Sun: Hannah Van Sciver
Boy: Luke Bradt
Moon: Tabitha Allen
Star: Abigail Brown
Male Swing: Deontez Lockett
Female Swing: Tori Mittelman
Child Swing: Shane Patrick Pryor
Director: Pete Pryor
Assistant Director/Choreographer: Samantha Reading
Music Director: Thomas Fosnocht III
Drummer: Kanako Omae Neale
Set Design: Roman Tatarowicz
Costume Designer: Nikki Delhomme
Lighting Designer: Paul Hackenmueller
Sound Designer: Lucas Fendlay
Dramaturg: Gina Pisasale
Production Stage Manager: Kate Fossner*
Line Producer: Zak Berkman

* Member, Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers.

Tabitha Allen: Moon/Dance Captain
Peoples Light: The Three Musketeers (The Later Years). Theatre Includes: This is The Week That Is! (1812), Local Girls, Failure: A Love Story (Azuka), The Taming of the Shrew (Delaware Shakespeare Festival), and Vainglorious (Applied Mechanics). Coming up at People’s Light: The Matchmaker and Moon Over Buffalo.

Luke Bradt: Boy
People’s Light: Biloxi Blues, The Three Musketeers (The Later Years). Theatre Includes: According to Goldman, (Act II Playhouse), 1776 (Media Theatre), The Comedy of Errors (Delaware Shakespeare Festival), The Sisterhood, Hot ‘N’ Cole (Mauckingbird Theatre). Training: BFA in Musical Theatre and Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point.

Abigail Brown: Star
People’s Light debut. Theatre Includes: South Jersey Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker 2014 and 2015, most recent roles: Female Cousin, Soldier, Angel, and Snow Assistant; Future Storyteller for Historic Philadelphia this past August. Training: Studied acting and musical theater at Arden Drama School, where her favorite role was Cindy Lou Who. Currently studies dance and musical theater in Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia. Abigail is a sixth grader at Bunker Hill Middle School in Sewell, NJ, where she sings in the chorus. Her hobbies include piano, history, crafts, and American Girl dolls.

Kim Carson: Chanteuse
People’s Light: Arthur and the Tale of the Red Dragon, Cinderella, Aladdin, The Master Builder, and Six Characters in Search of an Author. Theatre Includes: Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theatre, Mauckingbird Theatre, Theatre Exile, John W Engeman Theater, 59 E 59, Virginia Stage Co, Passage Theatre, NJ Rep, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Azuka Theatre.

Mark Lazar: Mama C
Company Member since 1998. People’s Light: Sense and Sensibility, The Cherry Orchard, The Rainmaker, The Master Builder, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Of Mice and Men, King Lear, The Foreigner, The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily, and all the Pantos. Theatre Includes: North Carolina Shakespeare Festival (12 seasons; 10 Christmas Carols as Ebenezer Scrooge), Madison Repertory Theatre (10 seasons; Founding Member), American Players Theatre, Milwaukee Rep and most of Wisconsin’s other professional theatres. Also: Charlotte Rep, Festival Stage of Winston-Salem, New American, Cider Mill and East Lynn. Film/Television Includes: Frame of Mind, Folkbooks (PBS Award), Shake Rag Alley. Radio: Ebenezer Scrooge, Delaware Public Radio’s annual theatrical broadcast of A Christmas Carol, 15 years Broadcaster (USA and International). National Tour: Charlotte’s Web. Training: B.A. Theatre, Dean’s List, University of Wisconsin.

Deontez Lockett: Male Swing
People’s Light debut. Theatre Includes: HAIR, The Elephant Man, Kiss Me, Kate, RUINED, So Far From God (Chicago Shakespeare), Gloomy Gus (Victory Gardens), A Little Night Music with Leslie Uggams and Ron Raines (Michigan Opera Theatre).

Emily Kaye Lynn: Kerri Crane/Fight Captain
People’s Light debut. Theatre Includes: Romeo and Juliet (Compass Rose Theatre), Flash of Time (The Kimmel Center), Cabaret (Renaissance Theatre), Othello, The Taming of the Shrew (Shut Up! It’s Shakespeare!). She also performed for four years with the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, where she served as Assistant Stunt Coordinator. Training: BFA in Musical Theatre from Shenandoah Conservatory, spent several years street performing as a clown, and is recognized with honors by five different international stage combat organizations. Soli Deo Gloria.

Susan McKey: Aunt Tikki
Company Member since 1988. People’s Light: Most recently: The Three Musketeers (The Later Years), Arthur and the Tale of the Red Dragon, Pride and Prejudice, Cinderella. Other People’s Light credits include Legacy of Light, Master Builder, End Days, Playhouse Creatures, Book of Days, Splittin’ the Raft, Skin of our Teeth, to name only a few. Theatre Includes: Unnecessary Farce (Act II Playhouse), Time Stands Still (Act II/Delaware Theatre Co), How I Learned to Drive (Theatre Horizon), Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Lady from the Sea (Lantern Theatre), Tooth & Claw, Hedda Gabler, Henry V, & Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet – for which she won the first ever Barrymore Award for Best Supporting Actress (Arden Theatre). Next up: White Guy on The Bus at DTC and 59th St. E. 59th in NYC.

Tori Mittelman: Female Swing
People’s Light debut. Theatre Includes: (Upcoming) Praskovya in The Nose (EgoPo Classic Theatre), Martha in The Secret Garden (Candlelight Theatre), Napoleon in Animal Farm (Luna Theatre), Annelle in Steel Magnolias (Candlelight Theatre), Agent Skuller in Men in Plaid (National Theatre for Children), Lydia in Big Love (UWSP Theatre). Recently AD for When the Rain Stops Falling at the Wilma Theatre. Training: BFA in Acting, Minor in Peace Studies from The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point.

Brendan Norton: Mudbug
People’s Light: Pride & Prejudice. Theatre Includes: Field Hockey Hot (11th Hour Theatre Company), The Diary of Anne Frank (EgoPo Productions), RENT (Bristol Riverside Theatre), The Wind in the Willow (Quintessence Theatre Group), among others; several shows with Playhouse on Park in West Hartford, CT - including Emcee in Cabaret and S. Antipholus/E. Antipholus in The Comedy of Errors. Training: BA in Acting, Fordham at Lincoln Center.

Shane Patrick Pryor: Child Swing
People's Light debut. Shane is an animal enthusiast and future discoverer of new animal species. While Shane entertains people on a daily basis, Sleeping Beauty will be his first professional acting experience. He is very happy to be working with his Dad on this show and dedicates his performance (if he goes on) to his family.

Ariana Sepúlveda: Princess Aurora
People’s Light debut. Theatre Includes: Recent grad of University of the Arts where some favorite roles include Sheila in A Chorus Line, Riff Raff in Rocky Horror Show, Ofelia in Anna in the Tropics; also featured in cabarets at 54 Below, Birdland and Don’t Tell Mama in NYC.

Tom Teti: King
Company Member since the beginning, 1974. People’s Light: Over 150 productions, most recently The Three Musketeers (The Later Years), Stella and Lou, Arthur and the Tale of the Red Dragon, Pride and Prejudice, Cinderella, and Mark Twain: Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburgers. Theatre Includes: Most recently Red at Shadowland Theatre, Tommy and Me with Theatre Exile at Fringe Arts, Walnut Street Theatre, Wilma Theater, Hedgerow, Philadelphia Theater Company, Arden Theatre, Montgomery Theater, Act II Playhouse. Nationally: Kennedy Center, D.C.; City Theater, Pittsburgh; Humana Festival Actor’s Theater, Louisville; Two River, Red Bank, NJ; Shadowland, Ellenville, NY; Odyssey Theatre LA. Film/Television Includes: Homicide, Hack, Limitless, Condition Red.

Josh Totora: Sam Slug
People’s Light: Big Gus in Cinderella. Theatre Includes: Performer: He Who Gets Slapped (Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, Barrymore Award for Outstanding Original Music); The Three Maries by Michael Ogborn; The Tempest (Commonwealth Classic Theatre); Man of La Mancha (Act II Playhouse); Gentlemen Volunteers (Upcoming, Pig Iron); Hetty Feather (Upcoming, Delaware Theatre Co.). Composer: A Dream Within a Dream: The Spirit of Poe and Red Badge of Courage (Florida Rep); Journey to Oz (Children’s Theatre of Charlotte); The Odyssey Experience (Experiential Theatre); Watership Down (Simpatico); Five Children and It (Haddonfield Theater Arts Center). Training: BA in Theatre Performance, Rowan University. Josh is also a member of the folk/bluegrass band The Nimble Cats.

Hannah Van Sciver: Ogre/Sun
People’s Light debut. Theatre Includes: Bicycle Face (Off-Broadway, United Solo), The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare in Clark Park), King John and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Revolution Shakespeare), La Ronde (Historic Powell House), and The Magnus Effect and Fifty Days at Iliam (The Greenfield Collective); Upcoming: Tilda Swinton Adopt Me Please (The Greenfield Collective). Founding and Artistic Director of The Greenfield Collective, a Philadelphia-based team of artists creating gutsy, original, multidisciplinary works of theatre. Training: British American Drama Academy/Yale School of Drama at Oxford, Pig Iron and Wilma Hothouse workshops, University of Pennsylvania.


Once upon a Panto, there was a King who loved a fairy named Chanteuse B. Wit. She was in the super famous amazing band Whole Lotta Lava with Queen O. Beauty and Mama C. Grace, the great Dame of the land. But as time passed, the King’s loving eye wandered towards Queen. When the King and Queen had a baby, Aurora, and didn’t invite Chanteuse to the celebration, that very bad fairy crashed the party and cast a curse: that Aurora would prick her finger on a record needle before sunset on her 16th birthday and die. The Queen died of grief and in haste, Mama C. cast a spell that Aurora would sleep for 100 years instead of dying if her finger ever met a record needle, only to be awoken by a kiss from her true love. The King banned all record players and fled to the East to the swamps with Mama C. to hide Aurora in Ogre’s hovel. And the music business of Paoli Shoals up and shut down.

But today is the day! Aurora’s 16th birthday! The King, Mama C, and the Ogre get ready for the party and Aurora’s animal pals, the great studio musicians called the Swampers – Mudbug, Kerri Crane, and Sam Slug – are anxious for the curse…spell…cursespell to be broken! But magic and mystery abound! The Moon and a Star fall from the sky and the sun cannot set. Meanwhile, an unsuspecting Aurora is building a rocket to get Moon and Star back in to space, Chanteuse crashes Aurora’s 16th birthday surprise party, havoc ensues, a record player is revealed, and…

Who is Aurora’s true love? How will night return to end the endless day? Can Chanteuse be stopped? Will music ever return to Paoli Shoals? It all depends on you! Come and add your voice to the story and help us Panto our way to happily ever after!


King: Father to the Princess. He is desperately trying to protect his daughter and has been in hiding in a hovel for 16 years. He is distracted, but doing the best he can.

Dame (Mama C. Grace): Very Good Fairy. She’s a former bandmate of the Very Bad Fairy, Chanteuse and has been in hiding for 16 years with the King and Aurora.

Princess Aurora: Turning 16 today! She’s an aspiring astronomer/astrophysicist and is unaware of the curse that has been placed upon her.

Aunt Tikki: Aurora’s backwoods and determined best friend. She lives in a junkyard, is able to procure anything, and deals in antiques (get it?).

Chanteuse B. Wit: Very Bad Fairy. She’s a former bandmate to Mama C. She’s demanding and seductively self-destructive.

Sam Slug: A Swamper, one of the great studio musicians of the now defunct Wax Trax recording studio. He thinks he is a snail without a home and wants to right all the injustices in the world.

Kerri Crane: A Swamper, one of the great studio musicians of the now defunct Wax Trax recording studio. She’s anxious and always hungry.

Mudbug: A Swamper. He was the famous record producer for the Wax Trax label, but now, he’s a destitute music impresario. He speaks an unintelligible mix of Creole, Cajun & North Philly.

Ogre: Mother to the Boy. She’s agreed to swap homes with the King until sunset of the Princess’ 16th Birthday. She hates living in the Manor and can’t wait to go home.

Boy: Son of an Ogre. Ogre thinks he is very ugly for an Ogre but for a human he is very handsome indeed.

Moon: Fell out of the sky. She is beautiful, caring, ethereal and lost.

Star: Fell out of the sky trying to save the Moon. She is learning to speak human.

Sun: Still in the sky. Working very hard and less than pleased at the Moon for falling out of the sky.


North: The Manor. The King’s palace but right now it is where the Ogre lives with the Boy.

South: The Swamp. It used to be The Great Valley and home to Wax Trax, the greatest record store in the kingdom. When the King banished record players, Wax Trax had to close its doors. Now the South is a swamp, covered in overgrown trees. Branches reach out over everything and music has been replaced with the sounds of swamp life, crickets, and toads.

East: The Shack. The Ogre’s home. A small, run down hovel on the Eastern edge of the swamp. At the start of the story, the King, Dame and Princess have lived there for 16 years.

West: The Sand Skyscraper aka Sandscraper. Totally unsound structure that was built by Mudbug. It could crumble at any time because everyone knows you shouldn’t build castles made of sand.

The Sky: Above it all

What is a Panto?

By Lee Devin and Gina Pisasale

“I’ve always thought it a wonderful form, because it can include anything the theatre is able to give a welcome to.” ~Ian McKellen on Pantos

Coming out of the commedia dell’arte, the Twelfth Night holiday (which has reversal of roles as a tradition), the Festival of Fools and Epiphany, the Christmas Panto is today the most popular theatre form in Great Britain. In a single year, 19 pantos played in London and 187 in the rest of the country.

Traditionally, pantos typically take a well-known fairy tales or other favorite children’s story and turn it on its ear. Favorite stories, which have inspired countless different Pantos, are Aladdin, Robin Hood, Cinderella, Dick Wittington, Jack and the Beanstalk, Mother Goose, Puss in Boots, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks and Snow White. These familiar stories form the basis for exaggeration, variation and topical social commentary, as well as outrageous jokes, humorous songs, sprightly dances and, sometimes, a strangely affecting love story.

The tradition has developed some fairly rigid conventions of plotting, casting and story. Here are some of the familiar elements that audiences at People’s Light have come to relish:

  • The Dame: a boisterous yet benevolent matriarch played by a man in drag
  • A hero (sometimes played by a woman); a heroine; and a stock villain
  • “Skin roles,” animal pals who help our hero in his or her adventures
  • A comic duo
  • A basic story that explores themes of love, friendship, and good vs. evil
  • Music, dance, and slapstick
  • Audience participation: boo, cheer, even argue with the characters onstage
  • Satire of local events, government policies, and famous people
  • A “slosh scene” or “messy bit”: a slapstick routine with something wet, gooey, and/or slippery
  • A “candy bit”: the actors throw candy into the audience, sometimes by the villain’s lackeys to get information about the hero
  • Silly songs that the audience joins in singing

Since the 18th century, audiences have gathered in droves to enjoy the songs, jokes, costumes and treats of this Christmas celebration. At People’s Light, we’re having great fun joining this tradition, adjusting it to our culture and aesthetic, bringing it to our time and place. We don’t want to get all solemn, but these stories live in the hearts of us all, and beneath the fun and foolery they touch us in fundamental ways. We want to place these deep stories on out stage without losing the madcap, All Fools’ Day impulse that invented the panto back then and keeps it alive today.


Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto Press Release

A sound sleep: An East Passyunk Crossing res­id­ent is a re­fresh­ing pres­ence as the tit­u­lar fig­ure in a mu­sic­al panto
by Joseph Myers, South Philly Review


Dazzling Sleeping Beauty keeps panto tradition alive at People's Light
by Jim Rutter, Philadelphia Inquirer

Review: Sleeping Beauty, springing awake
by Howard Shapiro, Newsworks

Review: Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto at People’s Light
by Deb Miller, DC Metro Theater Arts

THEATER REVIEW: Sleeping Beauty at People’s Light is a treat for everyone
by Frank Burd, Ticket to Entertainment

People’s Light presents Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto:Wake up, princess! It's panto time.
by Mark Cofta, Broad Street Review

People’s 13th annual Panto is a "Beauty"
by Ellen Wilson Dilks, DelCo Culture Vultures

Experience Joy with Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto at People’s Light
by Kelli Curtin, Theatre Sensation