CHESTER, MA (June 6, 2013) – Chester Theatre Company will open its 24th season with the world premiere of ARMS ON FIRE, a new play with music by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, the creators of the Tony and Olivier Award winning Spring Awakening. The production will run from June 26th to July 7th at the Chester Town Hall in Chester, MA.
ARMS ON FIRE tells the story of Smith, a young singer in search of a career break, who meets Ulysses, a factory worker living in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. As Smith spins out dreams of his future, he also draws out Ulysses’ past – memories of his lost love Josephina, a passionate nightclub singer from Ulysses’ native Honduras. When Josephina appears, both men are forced to face truths about the present. This deeply moving and often funny play about an unlikely friendship will feature James Barry as Smith, Guiesseppe Jones as Ulysses, and Natalie Mendoza as Josephina. CTC Artistic Director Byam Stevens will direct.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Steven Sater (Playwright) is the author of numerous plays, including the long-running Carbondale Dreams; Perfect for You; Doll (Rosenthal Prize); Plains of Ilion (Chester Theatre Company, The Pasadena Playhouse); Asylum (Naked Angels), Umbrage (Steppenwolf New Play Prize); and a version of Shakespeare’s Tempest (London’s Lyric Hammersmith). In addition to his Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle, Olivier, and London Critics Circle Award-winning work with composer Duncan Sheik on Spring Awakening, the duo has collaborated onThe Nightingale (La Jolla Playhouse); Nero (Magic Theatre); and the critically acclaimed album Phantom Moon. He also wrote the script and lyrics for Prometheus Bound, with music by Serj Tankian, directed by Diane Paulus (A.R.T.) and Some Lovers, with music by Burt Bacharach, which premiered at the Old Globe in San Diego.
Duncan Sheik (Composer) is an American Grammy- and Tony-winning singer-songwriter and composer. Sheik’s self-titled debut album was certified Gold and spawned the #16 hit single “Barely Breathing” in the United States, which remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-setting 55 straight weeks. Sheik’s other albums include Humming, Phantom Moon, Daylight, White Limousine, and Whisper House. Sheik composed original music for a New York Shakespeare Festival production of Twelfth Night, as well as the score for the film A Home at the End of the World. Beyond his collaboration with playwright Steven Sater on the award-winning Spring Awakening, Sheik’s other musical works for theatre include Nero, The Nightingale, Whisper House, and Alice by Heart.
James Barry (Smith) is returning to CTC after starring as Doctor Faustus in the 2011 production of Wittenberg, a portrayal hailed as Best Performance of 2011 by the Berkshire Eagle. James appeared in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson both at New York’s Public Theatre and on Broadway. He spent the last six months playing rockabilly legend Carl Perkins (Blue Suede Shoes) in the national tour of Million Dollar Quartet. His extensive theatre credits also include Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre, Irish Repertory Company in New York, Chicago’s Drury Lane and many appearances at Berkshire Theatre Group.
Natalie Mendoza (Josephina) trained at the acclaimed Bristol Old Vic in the UK. Her theatre credits include Broadway (Arachne in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), West End (Molly in Ghost, directed by Matthew Warchus), and multiple appearances at The Melbourne Theatre Company, including Eponine in Les Miserables and Mimi in Miss Saigon. She is best known for the hit movie The Descent (playing cult sensation Juno). Other film work includes Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge (playing China Doll) and The Great Raid starring opposite Joseph Fiennes.
Set Design by Travis George, Lighting Design by Lara Dubin, Costume Design by Charles Schoonmaker, Sound Design by Hunter Spoede, Musical Direction by Joe Belmont.