Royal Family Productions 2020 Spring Season to Feature Kathleen Chalfant, Maddie Corman and More
Royal Family Productions (Chris Henry, Artistic Director), a Times Square-based non-profit theatre company known for its innovative productions and development of new original work, has announced their 2020 spring season. The season kicks-off with Royal Family's Resident Choreographer/Creative Associate Lorna Ventura curating the Female Forward Festival, featuring solo shows by cabaret star Queen Esther (The Moxie Show) and Rosa Arredondo (TV: "Roswell, New Mexico" Broadway: A Streetcar Named Desire), and a staged reading of This Open Earth, a new play by Iman Schuk. Next up is a return engagement of Royal Family's hit 2018 mainstage show, WOMEN ON FIRE: Stories from the Frontlines. Running in rep will be a newly-created companion piece, GEN Z ON FIRE: Loud and Clear. In April, we will be premiering the new play Los Altos, written by our 2020 Emerging Artist, Miles Orduna. Finally, the season will conclude in May by developing several new pieces from Tony Nominee Kristin Hanggi, Tyquan Payne, Victor Verhaeghe, and Royal Family Writer-in-Residence Christina Franklin. Our entire season will be taking place at Royal Family Performing Arts Space (145 West 46th Street).
FEMALE FORWARD FESTIVAL is curated by Royal Family's Resident Choreographer/Creative Associate Lorna Ventura. This festival features Blackbirding by Queen Esther, Journeys by Rosa Arredondo, and This Open Earth by Iman Schuk. Tickets are $30; $100; $250 and can be purchased by clicking royalfamilyproductions.org
Vocalist, solo performer, playwright, musician, and producer Queen Esther continues to perform internationally with her mentor Riosewllharmelodic guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer as she forges her own sonic path with her Black Americana and jazz projects. Described by Vanity Fair as "...a brutal, original, explosive singer," recent highlights include a TED Talk about the erasure of African-Americans in country and bluegrass, headlining at Dizzy's in Lincoln Center with her project Queen Esther sings Billie Holiday: The Lost Classics and a Black Americana performance at the 2018 Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago, Ill. Queen Esther's solo show Blackbirding uses storytelling, news bites, wordplay, soundscapes, live music, photographs, and original songs to show how the 19th-century practice of kidnapping and terrorizing black people never really ended.
Rosa Arredondo is thrilled to return to Royal Family Productions with her solo show, JOURNEYS, after appearing in their production of WOMEN ON FIRE: Stories from the Frontlines. You can catch Rosa Arredondo, as Sheriff Valenti, on the hit TV series Roswell. Her film credits include the Academy Award-winning film Still Alice, Baby Girl by award-winning director Macdara Vallely, and Slamdance audience award-winner Silver Tongues. Rosa's theatre credits include Emily Mann's Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, the Cherry Lane's production of The Surgeon And Her Daughters, the Sonnet Theater Rep's The Maids, George Wolfe's Harlem Song, and the Lincoln Center production of The House of Bernarda Alba. Everyone who has come to this country from another, regardless of age, gender, or background has a story. Journeys is a series of monologues based on those stories. Why they came, their first impressions, most memorable experience, and who was left behind. In all, the piece deals with the loneliness, struggles, joys, and dreams of anyone who has ever left home, to start a new life. It serves as a gentle reminder of our ancestors' ... Journeys.
Iman Schuk is an actress, model, and emerging playwright. A student of the human experience, Iman uses her writing to highlight the compelling richness and complexity of everyday people living their everyday lives. She shares this work in honor of her father Sam Smith, who told her to have the courage to follow her own pen wherever it should take her. This Open Earth is a 75-minute play that encourages us to discover the rich texture of the relationships around us. It expresses the subtle but binding experiences and relationships that create the "community" we ultimately depend on. In this play, we consider the idea that maybe the most compelling, interesting, necessary and impactful stories don't belong to the celebrities or social icons or big personalities, but instead to the real-life people we see moving through their real-life struggles in the apartment right next door.
After a sold-out run in 2018, Royal Family will bring back WOMEN ON FIRE: Stories from the Frontlines by popular demand for only 12 Performances Led once again by Kathleen Chalfant, this star-studded, rotating cast of women explores the "state of the United States." Our cast includes Gina Naomi Baez, Andréa Burns, Maddie Corman, Julie Halston, Steffanie Leigh, Cynthia Mace, Gargi Mukherjee, Alysia Reiner, Laila Robins, Constance Shulman, Lianah Sta. Ana and Ashley Williams with more to be announced shortly! WOMEN ON FIRE: Stories from the Frontlines will run February 21 - March 16, 2020. Tickets are $30; $100; $250 and can be purchased by clicking royalfamilyproductions.org
In GEN Z ON FIRE: Loud and Clear, a companion piece to WOMEN ON FIRE: Stories from the Frontlines series, Chris Henry has taken actual stories from children and young people aged 11-19 and shaped them into an incisive look at what really concerns the youngest generation. This piece continues Royal Family's educational mission by having an all-student cast. GEN Z ON FIRE: Loud and Clear will run March 2nd - March 15th, 2020. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by clicking royalfamilyproductions.org
With Los Altos, our 2020 Emerging Artist Miles Orduna has penned a funny and moving new drama that explores the nature of grief and family ties in the suburbs of Southern California. Miles has worked as a dramaturg with Royal Family on such productions as thoughts of a Love/Sick, Thoughts of COLORED MAN... and Anne of Green Gables: Part I. Los Altos will run April 24-26. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by clicking royalfamilyproductions.org
May is the month of development (Dates TBA)! With developmental productions of The Marys, a new musical with music and lyrics by Damon Intrabartolo (Bare: A Pop Opera) and Anna Fernwood, Book by Abdi Nazemian, Created and Conceived by Damon Intrabartolo, Anna Fernwood, Abdi Nazemian, and Kristin Hanggi (Rock of Ages, Tony Nomination), and directed by Kristin Hanggi; Tyquan Payne's (RFP's thoughts of a COLORED MAN..., Worth St.) one-man show, Window Payne; Reading of the new musical by Victor Verhaeghe's (RFP's Four Last Things), Joe Boover and Jason Cohen entitled The Doormen. Ending with RFP's Writer-in-Residence, Christina Franklin (Worth St., For Colored Girls..., White Noise) new, untitled work to close out the Royal Family Spring Season.