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Fish Songs Live! Presents PHILIA


Fish Songs Live! opens its premiere show, an electronic fairytale musical, PHILIA with book by Evangeline Crittenden, music and lyrics by Nick Rattray. Based on the short story by Bay Area author Traci Chee, this new musical explores sexual freedom, coming of age, and slut-shaming. Evangeline Crittenden and Wesley Newfarmer helm this new musical, featuring Derricka Smith, Jessica Coker, David Schiller, Charles Lewis III, Josh Theis and Morgan Booker. PHILIA plays August 7th through August 29th at the Phoenix Theatre (414 Mason St) in San Francisco. For tickets ($20-30) and more information, the public may visit"

Gifted with kisses that transform beasts into princes and band geeks into soccer stars, Helena is out to find true love. But when the close-minded people of her provincial town get wind of her ability, she must decide if finding the perfect kiss is worth being branded the town slut. PHILIA is Helena's story, from a naive young girl who discovers she has a magical power, into a young woman who is firmly planted on the road to adulthood, self-empowerment, and balance. The show mixes "real-life" elements like high-school, stepmothers, and salons with magical realism and the fantastic.

Having performed to sold-out houses at the SF Fringe Festival in 2013, the collaborative team of Evangeline Crittenden, Traci Chee, and Nick Rattray have worked for two years to develop the show into a full-length modern electronic musical. Replacing a traditional band or orchestra with synthetic and electronic music, Nick Rattray has added a darkness and crispness that will draw audiences further into this magical and mysterious world.

"The title of the show, PHILIA, refers to the suffix that comes at the ends of words describing different kinds of love. The show (like the short story) is subdivided into chapters named after these loves (for example, "Batrachophilia" means "love of frogs," and that is the title of the chapter where helena kisses the Frog Prince.) It's interesting to note that, many of the "philias" in the show are made-up words; in the English language, there are many words for specific fears of things than loves of them. What does this mean for us as a culture? More importantly, how does this prevailing dominance of love over fear influence the way we view expressions of love, joy, affection and desire? Philia is a project that playfully explores the potential consequences of making love-driven choices in a fear-driven world." Evangeline Crittenden explained.

"We live in a culture, all over the country and world, that shames women for even acknowledging they have sexual or romantic desires. Girls are taught to be deferential to boys; that it's more noble and proper to ignore their own desires than to explore who they truly are. PHILIA illustrates experiences and themes we've all felt in our lives. We've all been told we're not good enough, or that what we want is unattainable. The idea of fighting to be who you are is something our society is going through right now." Added Wesley Newfarmer.

Evangeline Crittenden is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Fish Songs Live! and is in the process of obtaining her MFA in Acting from the California Institute of the Arts. Recent performances there include Paradise by Design, directed by Martin Acosta, and the title role in The Misanthrope, directed by Diane Rodriguez. She recently co-directed and performed in Pomegranate: A Shadow Ballet, which was a feminist re-imagining of the Greek myth of Persephone. The show was presented at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, to great critical acclaim. For more information about her work, visit her website:

Wesley Newfarmer is the Executive Director of Fish Songs Live! and is happy to be back home with "Philia" once again. Never expecting this show to be the longest Theatre project he's ever worked on, he's currently splitting his time between San Francisco and Dubai. This has been quite a process, now hitting its 3rd year. Favorite Bay Area credits include "Next to Normal" (Contra Costa Civic Theatre) "Assassins" (Ray of Light Theatre), "The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later" (New Conservatory Theatre Center) and "Port Out, Starboard Home" (foolsFURY). This show is different. This team is different. It's building art in a way that will move audiences and, hopefully, make them think.

Nick Rattray is the Composer and Lyricist and Musical Director of PHILIA. Nick studied music, art song, and opera at UC Santa Cruz. And just released the album "A Peach" (under the name Nick earlier this year. He loves improvisation, Buddhist meditation, and electronic music. He lives at Camp Granada with a family of musicians in the Oakland hills. This project is his trip to the moon.

Traci Chee is the author of the short story, "Philematophilia." Traci is an author of speculative fiction for teens. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at piano playing, egg painting, and hosting potluck game nights for family and friends. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog. Her YA debut, The Reader, is forthcoming from Penguin/Putnam in Spring 2016.
For tickets ($20-30) and more information, the public may visit

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