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Baum & Cheri's GUN & POWDER Gets Workshop, Readings at 2nd Annual SigWorks Lab


Signature Theatre has announced that Gun & Powder by Ross Baum and Angelica Chéri has been chosen for further development at the second annual SigWorks: Musical Theater Lab. Baum and Chéri's new musical was selected from 170 submissions for artistic development at Signature Theatre during the summer of 2017.

The project, under the leadership of Signature's Director of New Works Joe Calarco will receive a two-week workshop with two public readings. As part of the SigWorks: Musical Theater Lab, Gun & Powder will receive a director and assistant director, a musical director, actors, and a stage manager.

SigWorks: Musical Theater Lab will take place August 21 - September 2, 2017. Gun & Powder show will receive two public readings - August 26 and September 2 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are free, to reserve tickets visit or call 703 820 9771.

"Signature continues its commitment to new work with our second Sigworks Musical Theater Lab this summer," said Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. "This program continues to nurture up and coming writers and provide opportunities to develop new musicals for our stages. We're excited to add Gun & Powder to our ever-growing list of new works."

"I couldn't be more thrilled to work with Angelica and Ross on Gun & Powder this summer for our SigWorks Lab," said Director of New Works Joe Calarco. "We received many submissions so picking one show was very difficult, but the story they have to tell is one I've never heard, and the sound of the score is so fresh, that I knew they and their show had to be a part of Signature."

Gun & Powder features music by Ross Baum and book and lyrics by Angelica Chéri. It is inspired by the true story of Mary and Martha Clarke, fair-skinned African-American twin sisters who passed for white, and according to family legend, were outlaws. The musical follows the girls' journey forsaking their true identity becoming respecTEd White women of the West. It is a story about defying social and racial bounds, honoring family legacy, the bond of sisterhood and the power of identity.

New Work at Signature Theatre is sponsored by The Reva & David Logan Foundation.


Ross Baum is a composer, performer, and music arranger born and raised in New York. He holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University and an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from New York University. His original work been seen on stages and screens across the country including NY City Center, Barrington Stage Company, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, Billboard, Playbill, and the E! Network. During his two years at NYU, he participated in residencies at Goodspeed Opera House and Two River Theater, and was selected as winner of NY City Center's Sondheim Remix contest. His original musical, GUN & POWDER (book & lyrics by Angelica Cheri), served as the inaugural workshop production for the new NYU-Tisch Center for New Musicals in October 2015. Ross has also composed original scores to Anne Frank: MY SECRET LIFE and A LETTER TO AUNTIE ROSA (co-written with Angelica Cheri and Ben Holtzman), which were commissioned by Diverging Elements Theatre Company. Other theaters for which he has created music include Maine Stage Shakespeare and the National Children's Theatre of South Africa.

Ross is the founder and music director of RANGE A Cappella, through which he has provided vocal arrangements for Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, Playbill, Billboard, the E! Network's 2015 Oscars Live Red Carpet coverage, and performed with Kelly Clarkson at Radio City Music Hall. Also for RANGE he conceived and arrangEd Hamilton [in 7 minutes], which went viral on YouTube with over 2 million views. Ross also works regularly on projects by other composers, including Marcy Heisler & Zina Goldrich, and Kait Kerrigan & Brian Lowdermilk, for whom he recently served as Associate Vocal Arranger of THE BAD YEARS. He is currently a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.

Angelica Chéri is a playwright, musical theatre bookwriter/lyricist, screenwriter and poet. Her play The Sting of White Roses, Part Two of the Prophet's Cycle, was produced at the North Carolina Black Repertory Company for a limited run. Part One of the Prophet's Cycle, The Seeds of Abraham, was produced at the Billie Holiday Theatre and workshopped at the Pershing Square Signature Center, under the mentorship of playwright Lynn Nottage. Other works include Berta, Berta, a full-length play with staged readings at the National Black Theatre and the hERD Podcast Series at Elephant Run District; Slow Gin Fits, a short play produced in the Fire This Time Festival and published in Indie Theatre Now; Gun & Powder, a musical that was the inaugural workshop production of the NYU Center for New Musicals; The Yin and The Yang, a Columbia University workshop production that is currently being adapted as a web mini-series; and A Letter to Auntie Rosa, a short children's play commissioned by Diverging Elements Theatre Company. Angelica has had residencies at Goodspeed Musicals and Two River Theater, written for the Obie Award-winning 48 Hours in Harlem Festival and was the Master Playwright in the Frank Silvera Writer's Workshop Inaugural 3in3 Playwright Festival. She and collaborator Ross Baum were commissioned to write and compose the official anthem of the National Children's Theater of South Africa. Angelica is also currently an I AM SOUL Playwright Fellow at the National Black Theatre, developing I Will Not Lie to David, Part Three of The Prophet's Cycle. Angelica received her BA in Theatre from UCLA, MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University and MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU.

Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Signature Theatre is a non-profit professional theater company in Arlington, Virginia dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature has presented 47 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces.

In addition to hosting the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been home to such luminaries as Chita Rivera, Sheryl Crow, Barry Levinson, James Lapine, Debra Monk, George Hearn, Boyd Gaines, Emily Skinner, Kathleen Marshall, Ann Reinking, Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company's signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Since its founding in 1989, Signature has won 97 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region's professional theater and has been honored with 411 nominations.

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