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The Three Musketeers (The Later Years): A Musical Panto

By Kathryn Petersen

Music & Lyrics by Michael Ogborn
Directed by Pete Pryor
November 18, 2015 - January 10, 2016
Leonard C. Haas Stage

Swashbuckle your way into the holidays with The Three Musketeers (The Later Years). Laugh your pantos off as Athos, Porthos, Aramis and a chicken hunt for justice against the evil Lord Mazarotti in this musical adventure The Philadelphia Inquirer calls “outrageously silly.” Complete with plumed hats and sword fights, The Three Musketeers will have you shouting “All for one and one for all!”

Approximate run time is 2 hours including one 15 minute intermission. Best enjoyed by ages 5+

New! Relaxed performance of the Panto will be held on Saturday, January 9th at 2PM.

Relaxed performances are specially adjusted sensory-friendly shows, designed to create a theatre experience that is welcoming, judgment-free, and inclusive of children and families with a wide range of sensory, learning, and communication differences, including, but not limited to individuals on the Autism spectrum. Learn more here.

Performance Adjustments include:

  • House lights will remain on at a low level in the theater during the performance;
  • Lower sound level, especially for startling or loud sounds; (or refocusing of those moments)
  • A reduction of startling and/or strobe lighting;
  • Patrons are free to talk, vocalize and leave their seats during the performance;
  • Designated quiet areas within the theater;
  • Space throughout the theater for standing and movement;
  • Limited crowds and visitors through the theatre lobby during the day and timing of the performance;
  • A quiet area will be available where children and their families can relax in our theatre's lobby;
  • Fidget and stress sensory toys will be available to borrow as needed; and
  • People’s Light staff, who have been trained to be inviting and accommodating to families’ needs, will be available.

    Pre-show preparation materials
    Visiting the Theatre (general)
    The Three Musketeers Pre-show Guide
    Character Guide
    A Glossary of Interesting Words in The Three Musketeers

    Should you require specific seating accommodations or other needs, please notify the box office.

  • Queen Agnes of Malvaria: Mark Lazar*
    Lord Guido Mazarotti: Pete Pryor*
    King Hughy (the XIVth): Tabitha Allen
    Kestral: Laura Giknis*
    Aplomado: Marissa Barnathan
    Gyrfalcon: Susan McKey*
    Peregrine: Katie Johantgen
    D’Artagnan: Robert Smythe*
    Athos: Owen Pelesh^
    Porthos: Brad DePlanche*
    Aramis: Tom Teti*
    Colette: Meera Mohan*
    Horace the Hound: Dito Van Reigersberg*
    Henrietta the Chicken: Leah Walton*
    Director: Pete Pryor
    Assistant Director/Choreographer: Samantha Reading
    Music Director/Pianist: Geoff Langley
    Drummer: Kanako Omae Neale
    Set Design: James F. Pyne
    Costume Designer: Bridget Brennan for Alisa Kleckner
    Lighting Designer: Thom Weaver
    Sound Designer: Lucas Fendlay
    Production Stage Manager: Kate McSorley Fossner*
    Dramaturg: Gina Pisasale
    Line Producer: Zak Berkman

    * Member, Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers
    ^ Appears courtesy of AEA


    JUMP TO:
    What is a Panto?
    Themes of the play
    Why did People’s Light choose this play?
    The Story
    The Playwright

    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.


    • Honor and heroism do not just belong to the strongest and bravest among us, but to the dedicated, loyal, and determined.
    • You can accomplish great things and defeat a powerful villain when you band together with others.
    • A lot of meaningful things happen beyond our digital devices.


    “We love the Panto! This will be a revival, with some retooling, of a very successful panto, offering acting opportunities for our company artists and frequent guest artists. This is a signature element of our season for the past 12 years, and an all-ages way to celebrate the holidays at People’s Light.”
    —Producing Director Zak Berkman

    Director’s Statement by Pete Pryor

    The Three Musketeers (The Later Years) is a panto journey into the kingdom of Malveria. We follow our beloved Queen Agnes aka The Dame, Horace the hound, a chicken and a beautiful young damsel as they search high and low for Porthos, Athos and Artemis to come out of hiding and rescue King Hughey from the evil Lord Mazzarotti and his treacherous henchbirds. What happens when our heroes become older? Who can you really trust? Who is that mystery man that lives under the bridge? Where can you get the best haircut? The Musketeers is a tale of loyalty, responsibility and courage and is an interactive romp for the whole family. Our regular panto creative team will once again (Arthur and the Tale of the Red Dragon) be complimented by award winning puppet designer and Guggenheim fellow, Robert Smythe. The Three Musketeers is all for fun and fun for all!


    Time: The middle of the 17th Century (around 1649) and in Panto time
    Place: The Kingdom of Malveria

    Queen Agnes of Malvaria has just returned from Moscovia, where she was looking for a suitable bride for her young son, King Hughy XIV. While she’s been away, the dastardly Lord Mazarotti has exiled the Musketeers, manipulated and subdued Hughy, and seized control of the kingdom of Malveria. The Queen commands Horace, King Hughy’s loyal dog, to find the lost Musketeers and save the kingdom from Mazarotti.

    Horace discovers the original three Musketeers – Aramis, Porthos, and Athos – in disguise. But Lord Mazarotti’s henchmen, the Four Royal Falcons, snatch up our would-be-heroes, forcing Horace to flee for his life. While hiding, he meets Colette, Musketeer protégé D’Artagnan’s betrothed, and Hennie, Aramis’ chicken housekeeper. With the aid of a mad and blind beggar, they form a new Musketeer squad and devise a way to save the kingdom.

    They return to the castle in disguise and a three-part battle ensues revealing not only the successful return of Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, but also the beggar to be none other than D’Artagnan! With all the heroes together, Mazarotti and his Falcons are vanquished. King Hughy, now restored to his throne, oversees the happy reunion of Musketeers and begins a new age of peace and joy in the kingdom.

    Who’s Who

    The Court

    Queen Agnes of Malvaria
    Mother of the King. Maternal, protective, and the Dame of our Panto.

    Lord Guido Mazarotti
    Advisor to the King. A power-hungry and egotistical tyrant. Also called the Falconer.

    King Hughy XIV
    The Boy King. 14 years old. Means well, but has a lot to learn.

    one of the Four Royal Falcons. The dominant one.

    one of the Four Royal Falcons. The most inexperienced and impressionable one.

    one of the Four Royal Falcons. Proud.

    one of the Four Royal Falcons. Eager.

    The Musketeers

    disguised as a blind, crippled beggar

    disguised as a 17th Century barber

    disguised as a 17th Century Barber

    disguised as a Monk

    The New Musketeers

    Principal Girl. D’Artagnan’s beloved and currently a barmaid at the Fox and Hound. Kind, generous, ardent, and beautiful.

    Horace the Hound
    Principal Dog. King Hughy’s loyal companion, willing and dependable.

    Henrietta the Chicken
    Aramis’ plucky Housekeeper and confidante. A rule-follower and a little anxious, but dedicated to doing the right thing.


    Kathryn Petersen has been a People’s Light Company Member since 1986. She is a playwright, actress, and teacher residing in the Philadelphia region. A member of the Dramatist Guild, she’s had ten plays produced professionally and has penned eight of the eleven pantos produced at People’s Light. Cinderella: A Musical Panto garnered 13 Barrymore Award nominations including Best New Play when it premiered in 2008. Arthur’s Stone, Merlyn’s Fire, published by Dramatic Publishing Company, has been produced by schools and theaters around the country. Kathryn is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and has performed in over sixty productions regionally. She is an Assistant Professor of Theater at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA.