WOMEN ON FIRE: Stories from the Frontlines Has Been Extended
Royal Family Productions, a non-profit theatre company known for its innovative productions and development of new original work, will extend its acclaimed production of WOMEN ON FIRE: Stories from the Frontlines to accommodate the demand. WOMEN ON FIRE is written, curated, and directed by Royal Family artistic director Chris Henry from stories told to her by a group of anonymous women, with choreography from Lorna Ventura. The show began performances on May 11 and extended twice due to popular demand and critical and industry acclaim. WOMEN ON FIRE: will now run through June 8, 2018 at Royal Family Performing Arts Space (145 West 46th Street, 3rd Floor). Tickets are $45-$65 and can be purchased by clicking www.RoyalFamilyProductions.org
The rotating cast includes Tony nominee Kathleen Chalfant (Broadway: Angels In America, M. Butterfly), Tony nominee and Emmy winner Penny Fuller (Broadway: Sunday in the Park with George, Dividing The Estate), Rosa Arredondo (Film: Still Alice), Gina Naomi Baez, Blair Baker (Broadway: The Humans), Maddie Corman (Broadway: Picnic. TV: "When We Rise," "Younger"), Rose Courtney, Catherine Curtin (TV: "Orange Is The New Black," "Stranger Things"), Elizabeth A. Davis (Broadway: Once, Tony Nomination), Yllka Gashi, Simone Harrison (RFP: Love/ Sick), Colleen Hawks (Broadway: The Boy From Oz, Shrek), Steffanie Leigh (Broadway: Mary Poppins, War Paint), Lauran L'Rae, Cynthia Mace (RFP: Safe Home, Angels in America at Mark Taper Forum), Ali Marsh (TV: "Gypsy," "In Plain Sight"), Gargi Mukherjee (Film: Its Free), Stephanie Jae Park (Broadway: War Paint), Tonye Patano (Broadway: 45 Seconds from Broadway. TV: "Weeds"), Kira Player, Tony winner Maryann Plunkett (Broadway: A Man for All Seasons, Me and My Girl) , Laila Robins (Broadway: Heartbreak House, The Real Thing TV: "Homeland," "Deception"), Constance Shulman (TV: "Orange is the New Black," "Broad City") Lianah Sta. Ana (Broadway: Miss Saigon), and Tony nominee Mary Testa (Broadway: On the Town, Wicked, Xanadu). Brooke Averi, Maïa Eugene, Kiersten Foster, Chieh Hsiung, Musa Hitomi, Kara Menendez, and Alyssa Ness are the WOMEN ON FIRE dance ensemble. Creative team includes: Lighting, Scenic Design and Costume by Cheyenne Sykes, Original Music by Lars Jacobsen, Sound Design by Chet Miller, and Associate Director Jessica Wu.
Henry has collected women's stories and with them, explores the "State of the United States" from different cultural, socioeconomic, and diverse perspectives. The all-female cast will be complemented with a modern dance element choreographed by Lorna Ventura.
"One night, I was watching the news. For what seems like the millionth time since November 2016, I was devastated. It felt like this was never going to stop. The country that I knew, was being destroyed from the inside, and no one could do anything to prevent it. The rot that was always under America was bubbling to the surface. I felt so angry and hopeless, and I yelled, 'I'm going to set myself on fire in front of the White House.' My partner responded, 'Isn't there anything more productive you could be doing other than self-immolation?' I decided to create a piece of art where women from all different points of view would be represented in a safe space. It seems like both sides are constantly screaming at each other and there is no real communication happening. I was lucky to have many women share their stories with me. The piece is just a start. A small pebble in a giant ocean of stories." Chris Henry
Royal Family's mission is to galvanize the Times Square community by cultivating raw talent, collaborating with seasoned artists, and inspiring audiences with a diversity of lion-hearted theatre. To us, everyone in the theatre community is not only royalty, but family. Our programs and productions lift artists at all stages of their careers. We don't want to tell just any story: we want to best serve artists in telling their own stories. In today's political and social climate, it is also more important than ever to celebrate all voices-especially those underrepresented in the traditional theatre space. At Royal Family, we celebrate the work of female artists, playwrights of color, works with LGBTQIA themes, and artists of all ages and body types.
Royal Family has been a creative incubator of original, humanistic plays for over a decade. Bravery and fearlessness are imperative to our process. Artists and audiences alike are challenged in a creative safe space to explore the humor and the tangled truths of the human condition. As actor and first-time playwright Anthony Rapp (Rent, Dazed and Confused, Star Trek: Discovery) observes, "Royal Family is committed to truthful, heartfelt, alive, theatrical storytelling. It's vital to the human experience and hard to come by."
Royal Family was established in 2007 by Katie Avebe, Mary Bernardi, Chris Henry and Andy Theodorou as a home for artists wishing to challenge and transform the traditional theatre canon. Since its launch, Royal Family has developed lasting relationships with highly regarded theatre professionals such as Kathleen Chalfant (Angels in America, Tony-Nominee Wit) and Anthony Rapp (Rent, If/Then, Dazed and Confused), and has partnered with artists including Scott Adsit (30 Rock), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock, Orphans, The Hunt For Red October, The Departed), John Cariani (Tony-Nominee Fiddler on the Roof, The Band's Visit, Something Rotten), Elizabeth A. Davis (Tony-Nominee Once, Caucasian Chalk Circle, 39 Steps), and J. Robert Spencer (Tony-Nominee Next to Normal, Jersey Boys). Our productions have been reviewed by The New York Times, Time Out, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, Time Out London, The London Times, and The Irish Times and featured three years in a row in the esteemed Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Recent highlights include a collaboration between stage and television star-turned-choreographer Taye Diggs, choreographer Jenny Parsinen, and Royal Family's Emerging Artist Program on 2017's thoughts of a COLORED MAN on a day when the sun set too early by playwright Keenan Scott II. The play weaves the story of twelve African American men searching for their identity in a conformist world. Through the Emerging Artist Program, Scott is now partnering with commercial producers to workshop the play under the direction of Taye Diggs. In 2016, Royal Family premiered Rock and Roll Refugee, a biographical musical about Genya Ravan, who also wrote the music and lyrics. The Polish World War II refugee and Holocaust survivor broke into the rock scene at a time when it was a predominantly male field, forming the first all-girl band and becoming the first female music producer. The New York Times' Laura Collins-Hughes praised the production as "exciting" and lauded its "strikingly female gaze." Royal Family premiered Tony Award nominee John Cariani's comedy LOVE / SICK, the darker cousin to his widely produced hit play Almost Maine.
Royal Family is led by Artistic Director Chris Henry. Over the past ten seasons, Henry has produced over 600 performances, created 1,900 employment opportunities for artists, been twice nominated for the Zelda Fichlander award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and won the New England Theater Conference Regional Directors Award. Jessica Wu is Associate Artistic Director of Royal Family Production.
Tickets start at $45 - $65
Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.royalfamilyproductions.org