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written by Steven Sater with Music by Duncan Sheik

A new play with music by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, the Tony Award-winning creators of Spring Awakening. Ulysses, a factory worker in self-imposed exile, meets Smith, a young singer on the make. As Smith spins out dreams of his future, he also draws out Ulysses’ past — memories of his lost love Josephina, a passionate nightclub singer. When Josephina appears, both men must face truths about the present. A deeply moving and funny play about an unlikely friendship.

Performances are June 26-July 7.

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Arms On Fire is sponsored by Judy and Marty Bloomfield, Kathleen Lovell.
Production design is sponsored by Gail and Michael Perlman.
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Guiesseppe Jones*

James Barry*

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Natalie Mendoza *

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*Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers
in the United States

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Playwright: Steven Sater
Composer: Duncan Sheik
Directed by: Byam Stevens
Set Design: Travis A. George
Lighting Design: Lara Dubin
Costume Design: Charles Schoonmaker
Sound Design: Hunter Spoede
Stage Manager: Erin Patrick*

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Music Director/Guitar: Joe Belmont
Piano/Harmonium: Zack Cross
Drums/Percussion: Joe Fitzpatrick
Bass: Rhees Williams

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*Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers
in the United States

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‘Arms On Fire’ Tony Award-winning team pens world premiere for Chester Theatre
from Daily Hampshire Gazette/Amherst Bulletin, June 27 2013, by Marc E. Latour

World Premiere of ‘Arms On Fire’ at Chester Theatre Company
Audio Interview from WAMC, aired June 25, 2013, by Sarah LaDuke
*features live musical performance

In Chester, ‘Spring Awakening’ creators light ‘Arm On Fire’
from the Boston Globe, June 23 2013, by Sarah Rodman

‘Spring Awakening’ Duo team up again for ‘Arms On Fire’
Video Interview from the Boston Globe, June 23 2013, video by Matthew Cavanaugh, produced by Susan Chalifoux

‘Arms On Fire’ its music against exile at Chester Theatre
from Berkshires Week, June 19 2013, by Kate Abbott

Steven Sater-Duncan Sheik Premiere of Arms On Fire to Star Natalie Mendoza, Giueseppe Jones and James Barry
from Playbill, May 30 2013, by Adam Hetrick

Duncan Sheik-Steven Sater Work Arms On Fire to Premiere at Chester Theatre Company
from Playbill, May 15 2013, by Adam Hetrick


“A revelatory play — given an outstanding production by CTC. A great opener for the CTC’s 2013 season.
-Walter Haggerty, In the Spotlight

“Stephen Sater’s ARMS ON FIRE has sizzle – in the form of Natalie Mendoza. ARMS ON FIRE has warmth – in the form of Guiesseppe Jones as Ulysses. ARMS ON FIRE has flame – in the form of James Barry as Smith.”
–Marakay Rogers, Broadway

“Director Byam Stevens has assembled a remarkable trinity of actors to tell this story. Natalie Mendoza brings a haunting physical beauty and an alluring and lyrical voice to the role of Josephina. Guiesseppe Jones is the almost sphinx-like Ulysses, a steady rock who gradually begins to thaw from his stony silence to reveal some of the pain of his past. James Barry is simply a tour de force as Smith. The last time I remember seeing a performance as riveting as his depiction of Smith was when I watched Tony-Award winning actor, Mark Rylance, in “Jerusalem.” The audience was universally enthusiastic over this new play and its flawless execution. It is a play that needs to be seen by a broad audience. I encourage you to plan road trip. It will prove to be an odyssey worth taking.”
 –Al Chase, White Rhino Report

“It’s quite a coup for (CTC) to be presenting the world premiere of Sater and Sheik’s latest collaboration Arms On Fire. Though Arms on Fire features a small band and songs, it is not a musical. Whatever its genre, Arms on Fire is worth seeing for Sater’s and Sheik’s brave attempt to integrate music into a straight play’s story development. Broadway credentialed Natalie Mendoza is lovely and has powerful vocal chops to do justice to the songs. Also on the plus side is the exhilarating star turn by James Barry (as Smith). The song that really sticks to the ear and heart is “A Boat On The Sea” sung by both Smith and Josephina. The script is leavened with a fair amount of humor, courtesy of Barry’s Smith, but essentially this is a serious story, with a theme of redemption. Arms on Fire deserves applause for its intriguing even though flawed structure, James Barry’s powerhouse performance and that wonderful “A Boat On The Sea” number.”
–Elyse Summer, Curtain Up

“Thanks to Artistic Director Byam Stevens, CTC is doing again what it does so well – giving the audience much to chew upon. Three actors and four musicians create a drama of poetry, pathos and purple prose. Playwright Steven Sater and composer Duncan Sheik, have created a play that, in a way, has another character – a four-piece band. The emotions of the actors are reflected and enhanced by a syncopated Latin beat that travels anywhere between soft, smooth and strident. Although the first act is sluggish, Act Two finds its pace and never falters.”
 –Donna Bailey-Thompson, The ARTS, ETC.

“An eclectic, unusual, stylistically different world premiere play with music, opens the summer season for CTC. It is contemporary, striking, and also heartfelt. This is a play about three people, a narrative with pervasive, soulful music and vocals. Arms on Fire is also existential: individuals attempt to find purpose to life, meaning, and, in the case of Smith and Ulysses, friendship. The production, facilitated with understanding by director Byam Stevens, is not for everyone. Arms on Fire is atypical theater in form and genre. It takes some getting used to and some will acquire a keen taste for this during one sitting. The music and Mendoza’s ardent performance as Josephina enrich the show and provide needed depth and dimension. Arms on Fire has a future life in the theater. Here is an affirmative toward Byam Stevens (Artistic Director) for bringing this play to the western Massachusetts Hill Towns.”
–Fred Sokol, Talkin’ Broadway