Debra Whitfield's FIRE, About Triangle Waist Company Disaster, Premieres Tonight Off-Broadway

By: Oct. 12, 2017
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Chatillion Stage Company presents the world premiere of the new play FIRE written by Debra Whitfield (Duck Sauce Can Be Dangerous).

Directed by Benjamin Viertel (The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant), the 8-member cast features Lauriel Friedman (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Jake Horowitz (Our Town), Kevin Lowry (Sweet & Lucky), Paulette Oliva (Barbicide), Laura King Otazo (Insignificant), Jay Russell (End of the Rainbow), Malka Wallick (Outer Banks) and Stuart Zagnit (Newsies).

The limited engagement of FIRE begins this evening, October 12, 2017, continuing through Saturday evening, October 28, 2017 at Theatre 54 at Shetler Studios and Theatres (244 West 54th Street, 12th Floor). Opening Night is Wednesday evening, October 18, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire on March 25, 1911, lives in infamy as one of the worst disasters in the history of New York City. In just a few short minutes, over one hundred and forty lives were abruptly extinguished when the 8th, 9th and 10th floors of the Triangle Waist Company were consumed by fire on that fateful March day. Most of the casualties were female immigrants who had come to America to start new lives for themselves and for their families. Many of the girls sent portions of their meager incomes back home to their relatives who remained in the "old country." The young women had believed the stories they had read about American streets being "paved with gold." The reality was, the only gold they saw were the gold coins pocketed by the manufacturers.

FIRE dramatically interweaves fictionalized stories about these young transplants with actual testimony from the trial against the owners of the factory. It poetically explores the theme of avarice juxtaposed against the dream of living in a new land and all the promise that goes along with it.

FIRE resonates today because one of the baser human desires, greed, pervades the world culture as much now, if not more, than it did back in 1911. The play is ultimately about overcoming adversity and never giving up hope for a better life.

The creative team includes Bryce Cutler (scenic & projection design), Emily Chalmers (costumes), Deborah Constantine (lights), Carlene Stober (sound), Ed Matthew (sound), Debra Moolin (props), Inga Thrasher (hair/make-up consultant), Colleen Gleason (dialect coach), Cyrus Newitt (technical director), and Toro Com- munications (social media). The Production Stage Manager is Emily Zepeda with Skye Cone, Assistant Stage Manager.

FIRE will play the following performance schedule: Wednesday - Friday at 8:00 p.m., and Saturday at 3:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00. PLEASE NOTE: No matinee performance on Saturday, October 14. There is a special added performance on Tuesday, October 17 at 8:00 p.m. Opening Night is Wednesday evening, October 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for FIRE are priced at $30, cash at the door, or $25 (plus convenience fee) online or via phone, and may be purchased by visiting the show website at or through Ovation tix by calling (866) 811-4111. Tickets for opening night on October 18th are priced at $50 (includes a post-show VIP reception).

For additional information, visit

Debra Whitfield (Playwright) is an award-winning director, actress, and playwright. She has worked at The Mint Theater, Florida Studio Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Dorset Theatre Festival, Two River Theater Company, Hartford TheaterWorks, the Depot Theatre, the Bickford Theatre, the Emelin Theatre and the Amateur Comedy Club, among others. Additional writing credits include: Duck Sauce Can Be Dangerous, Tech Support, The Man in the Window, and Champagne, all produced in New York City. As a director, Off-Broadway: Olympics U?ber Alles (St. Luke's Theatre); The Banana Monologues (Acorn Theatre). Other favorite productions are Blithe Spirit, Brighton Beach Memoirs and ROPE. Debra was named Best Director for Welcome to the Hard Luck Cafe? (Director/Choreographer) at the Thespis Festival in NYC. She won Best Actress awards for her work in How I Learned to Drive, Relatively Speaking and The Adjustment. Debra is the Artistic Director of the Chatillion Stage Company and is on the Board of Directors for The Shaw Project. Member SDC, WGAE, AEA, SAG-AFTRA. Visit for more.

Benjamin Viertel (Director) is a freelance director based in New York City, born in France and raised in South Florida by German and Italian parents. Upcoming: Grindr The Musical (UK and Italian tour). Past: The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (New Ohio Theater), Fireface (The Brick), Clipped (Atlantic Stage II), Kragtar: A Monster Musical (Peoples Improv Theater), Sad Indie Love Song (IRT Theater), Crimes of the Heart and Avenue Q (Bristol Valley Theater); and award-winning webseries "[Blank] My Life." Benjamin has worked with BAM, Roundabout Theater Company, Huntington Theater Company, The New Group, and The Civilians. Member of Kennedy Center Director's Lab, MTC's Directing Fellow, The Civilian's R&D Group, and Resident Artist at The Brick and Abrons Arts Center. Co-founder and Artistic Director of Third Space. Education: Carnegie Mellon University. Go to

Chatillion Stage Company (Producer) is an exciting new company committed to producing relevant, original works, both plays and musicals, as well as the classics. CSC is especially interested in pieces that explore the female experience, whether in an historical setting or in a more contemporary environment. FIRE is the debut production for Chatillion Stage Company.


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