Monday, November 28 2022 11:13

Theater Spotlight: Alice in Wonderland

Written by County Lines Magazine
Photos by Mark Garvin

The People's Light panto returns!

A beloved holiday tradition returns to People’s Light with the world premiere of “Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto.” We suggest you make time in your holiday schedule to share this special kind of fun.

Do you remember the story? On her first day of skiddle mool — oops, that should be middle school! — Alice Liddle stumbles upon a strange book in the library and ends up in a mysterious, magical place. Young Alice follows the White Rabbit into a hole and meets a variety of creatures, including the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Dormouse, the Queen of Hearts and others.

“Arthur and the Tale of the Red Dragon: A Musical Panto”

Cheer the heroes, boo the bad guys and help Alice find her way home in this panto-tastic take on Lewis Carroll’s madcap classic (book by Jennifer Childs, music and lyrics by Alex Bechtel, directed by Bill Fennelly). This year’s People’s Light panto is entertainment for the entire family, and the audience is part of the show.

“Cinderella: A Musical Panto”

As “the nation’s primary creator of such specialized tomfoolery” (Newsworks) for almost two decades — past pantos have included “Aladdin,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Cinderella” and others. People’s Light has adapted the British pantomime into its own unique brand of holiday hilarity for decades. Audiences of all ages participate in the songs, dances, topical jokes and jovial camaraderie of this longstanding tradition.

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

Playwright Jennifer Childs — co-founder of 1812 Productions, the only professional theater company in the country dedicated to comedy — is a big fan of audience participation. Childs says, “I love that the panto addresses real things that kids experience … in a fun and engaging way.” Her goal for the audience is “to make you laugh with abandon and cry just a little.”

When asked what he loves most about the panto, composer and lyricist Alex Bechtel says, “There’s a surprise at every turn. And at every surprising turn is joy, delight, irreverence and play, both among the cast and with the audience. Panto forms an instant family, but it’s not a saccharine family. It’s a real family in which everyone is yelling and throwing food.”

“Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto”

“After the last few years of darkness, we want to bring some light,” adds director Bill Fennelly. “We’ve been away from the theater for a few years, and the panto feels like the perfect way to bring the community back together.”

Recommended for ages 5 to 105! Runtime is 2 hours and 15 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission. Share the holiday spirit with Alice and friends this season.


“Little Red Riding Hood: A Musical Panto”

What: “Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto”

Where: People’s Light, Leonard C. Haas Stage, 39 Conestoga Rd., Malvern

When: Through January 1, 2023

Box Office & Info: 610-644-3500;

School Groups: Arrange a 10 a.m. show, 610-647-1900×111

Masks: Currently required indoors regardless of vaccination status. Check for updated protocols.

Relaxed Performance: Sunday, December 11 at 2 p.m.

Audio & Visual Aids: Limited availability