Our Mission

“Introducing Classic Theater to Audiences of All Ages”

We perform condensed classic adaptations that present the language, characters, plot and spirit of the world’s greatest writers – not only by Shakespeare, but Molière, Goldoni, Shaw, Andersen, Goldsmith, Grimm – the most revered writers of Western Literature. Our productions are intelligent and fun, reaching out to adults, seniors, teens, and bright youngsters.

Why focus on the Classics?

We believe our cultural and educational expectations are being woefully underestimated by today’s media. Sponge Bob and Jersey Shore have a place, but we believe there’s more. The classics are stories that have endured because they speak illuminating truths to each generation. They contain the richest language, characters and plots in our culture. They are the source of today’s theater, film and TV. They are about families. In the classics, the joys and problems of 17th Century parents and children form a bridge to the 21st. We realize we are, and have always been, part of the same human family.

Aren’t they difficult to understand?

Live theater requires focus and attention, but the same language that may be intimidating on the page becomes much clearer when presented as it was intended, as dialogue, between visible characters in a dramatic situation. For example, if in A Midsummer Night’s Dream we see Helena is tall and Hermia is short, all the references in the cat-fight make sense! Our unique, professional one hour adaptations are perfect introductions for the old, young, and in-between. These performances will stimulate conversation on the way home.

Board of Directors

Lance Davis Co-founder/Artistic Director
Barry Gordon (Chair)
Mary Chalon (Vice Chair)
Hoyt Hilsman (Treasurer)
Lisa Stark (Secretary)
Maggie Ewing
Tom Peters
Ivar Brogger
John Harnagel

PNT Advisory Board

Dr. Mario Molina, Golden Shores Medical
Susan Bleecker, CPA
Shula Brudner, The Brudner Group
Karen Frederiksen, Disney
Richie Hoover, Tony Award-winning Designer
Mike Bollenbacher
Terry Perl, Consultant
Julia Rivera, 5D Spectrum

Our History

I’d been a professional New York actor for twenty years, trained in the classics and comedy, and was guest teaching at some local universities in Los Angeles when I realized that most of my students, theater and non-theater, had little if any experience with live, professional theater and none with live, professional, classic theater. In Acting Class they watched scenes from Kenneth Branagh films.

I was chatting about this with a lawyer friend who said, “Well it’s not just the kids, Lance. I’m a fifty year old lawyer and I’ve never seen Twelfth Night. I’d be afraid I wouldn’t get it.” The only exposure he’d had to Shakespeare was of three hour productions that seemed more like taking medicine than entertainment. He’d never heard of Molière, France’s most gifted playwright and the source of modern comedy (Norman Lear?).

My wife, Mary, also a professional actress, and I decided that classical plays should somehow be told in a way that would inspire the young and reward the old, developing in them an appetite that would lead to further exploration of the unique art form, ‘Theater’. We found a gracious and generous angel, Terry Perl, who launched our journey in April 2000, and we sailed forth to create The Parson’s Nose Experience.

In 2008, in response to the economic turn-down, we began two series of performances: Our Full Production Series and our “Pay What You Will” Readers’ Theater Series. We pride ourselves on paying our actors above the Actors Equity union requirements because we believe artists should be paid. To date we have introduced approximately sixty-five fun, condensed, broad-stroke, professional presentations of thirty-two comedies by Shakespeare, Molière, Goldoni, Shaw, Belasco, Grimm, Andersen, Goldsmith, Perrault and Boucicault, delighting over 60,000 kids and adults. We are the only company in America devoted to this new way of experiencing the classics.

With your help we will continue our mission and these timeless stories will live and grow.

Co-founder/Artistic Director, Lance Davis

About Parson’s Nose Theater

Parson’s Nose is a not-for-profit (501c3) professional theater company of classically trained artists, founded in April, 2000 by Lance Davis and Mary Chalon. Our mission is “to introduce classic theater to audiences of all ages.”

Where does the name come from?

Sometimes comes she with a tithe pig’s tail
Tickling a parson’s nose as he lies asleep
And then dreams he of another benefice (donation?).

– Mercutio, Queen Mab speech, Romeo and Juliet

And In Philadelphia, where I grew up, the “parson’s nose” also referred to the tail end of a chicken.