Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Philadelphia's Lantern Theater Company Presents 'Between Heaven and Hell: The Anthony Lawton Festival'

Anthony Lawton
Lantern Theater Company will present Between Heaven and Hell: The Anthony Lawton Festival from Friday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 19, offering an alternative to traditional holiday theater with works about spiritual life intended for all audiences – secular or religious.

The three-week festival marks the first time Philadelphia-based actor and playwright Anthony Lawton’s C.S. Lewis and Shel Silverstein adaptations and his original play have been presented in repertory.

The festival will showcase Lawton in solo performances of three plays, opening with the critically acclaimed The Great Divorce (Dec. 3-19), C.S. Lewis' own favorite among his works. The festival continues with The Devil and Billy Markham* (Dec. 8, 11, and 15), written entirely in rhyming couplets by Shel Silverstein, and Lawton’s autobiographical play, Heresy** (Dec. 14, 15, and 18).

The Festival will be held at Lantern Theater Company, located at St. Stephen's Theater at 10th and Ludlow streets in Philadelphia. Tickets are $25-$35; $10 student rush tickets are available 10 minutes before curtain with valid ID; cash only; additional discounts are available for subscribers, seniors, and groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available online at http://www.lanterntheater.org/ or by calling the Lantern Box Office at (215) 829-0395. [A full schedule of festival performances and play descriptions follows below.]

“I first worked with Tony in 1997 on a production of Shakespeare's All's Well the Ends Well, and since that time he has been one of the most important artistic partners for Lantern Theater Company and for me personally,” says the Lantern’s Artistic Director, Charles McMahon. “A big part of what makes theater worthwhile is that we get to discuss very interesting ideas with very interesting people, and then find creative and compelling ways to put those ideas on stage. Tony's whole approach to theater and storytelling is to enliven the mind and heart. The work is sometimes funny and sometimes challenging and it always makes you leave the theater feeling more expansive and alive than you felt when you came in. The Lantern is dedicated to an authentic and intimate exploration of mysteries of the human spirit, and Tony's work is right in line with that.”

Lawton has acted professionally since 1992 and has appeared on many stages throughout the Philadelphia region, including at the Lantern in productions such as The Lonesome West, Othello, and The Screwtape Letters, among others.

In 1998, Lawton founded the Mirror Theatre Company, which performs solo and small-cast plays. The mission of the Mirror is “Spiritual Theatre for a Secular Audience.” Lawton says he sees his plays as “part of an ongoing dialogue with the audience – a dialogue in which we discuss and consider that which is (or isn't!) Eternal in us.”

In discussing his inspiration for this mission, Lawton says, “When I first started studying acting, I realized that the impulse was an entirely selfish one. I was interested in attention and accolades. I wanted to offer something to audiences – to address spiritual concerns, and to foster a dialogue between orthodox and unorthodox audience members.”

Information: (215) 829-0395 or visit http://www.lanterntheater.org/. Running Time: All plays are approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.

Festival Performance Schedule
Friday, Dec. 3 at 8 pm – The Great Divorce, Opening
Saturday, Dec. 4 at 8 pm – The Great Divorce
Sunday, Dec. 5 at 2 pm – The Great Divorce, Post-Show Discussion*
Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 7 pm – The Devil and Billy Markham, Post-Show Discussion*
Thursday, Dec. 9 at 7 pm – The Great Divorce
Friday, Dec. 10 at 8 pm – The Great Divorce
Saturday, Dec. 11 at 8 pm – The Great Divorce
Saturday, Dec. 11 at 10:30 pm – The Devil and Billy Markham
Sunday, Dec. 12 at 2 pm – The Great Divorce
Tuesday, Dec. 14 at 7 pm – Heresy, Post-Show Discussion++
Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 7 pm – Heresy
Wednesday, Dec. 15 at 9:30 pm – The Devil and Billy Markham
Thursday, Dec. 16 at 7 pm – The Great Divorce
Friday, Dec. 17 at 8 pm – The Great Divorce
Saturday, Dec. 18 at 8 pm – The Great Divorce
Saturday, Dec. 18 at 10:30 pm – Heresy
Sunday, Dec. 19 at 2 pm – The Great Divorce, Closing

++Post-Show Discussion with Anthony Lawton, moderated by Lantern Associate Artistic Director Kathryn MacMillan

2010/11 Season
Lantern Theater Company will continue its 2010/11 season with A Skull in Connemara by Martin McDonagh (January 13 – February 6, 2011), A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare (March 10 – April 10, 2011), and Vigil by Morris Panych (May 19 – June 12, 2011).

Lantern Theater Company thanks its 2010/11 season corporate partners at Marathon Grill, La Fourno Ristorante Trattoria, and Dunkin’ Donuts, and its community partners at St. Stephen’s Church.

* This play includes themes of sacrifice and redemption and is unapologetically and joyously profane. Parental guidance advised for audience members under 17.
**This play contains profanity, frank discussions of sex, and ideas that some may consider to be blasphemous. Children under 17 not admitted.

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Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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