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Monday, March 12, 2018

From Across The River: WOMEN ON FIRE: Stories from the Frontlines at Royal Family Performing Arts Space

Sunday, March 18, 2018

New York: Royal Family Productions, a non-profit theatre company known for its innovative productions and development of new original work, will present a benefit staging of a new series of monologues entitled WOMEN ON FIRE: Stories from the Frontlines, written, curated, and directed by Royal Family artistic director Chris Henry from stories told to her by a group of anonymous women, with choreography from Lorna Ventura. The one-night- only event will take place on Sunday, March 18 at 6:30pm at the Royal Family Performing Arts Space (145 West 46th Street, 3rd Floor). A limited amount of tickets are available for $35, with all other tickets set at $100-$250, and can be purchased by clicking

Joining previously announced Kathleen Chalfant (Broadway:  Angels In America, M. Butterfly), Ali Ewoldt (Broadway:  The King and I, Les Mis), Laila Robins (TV:” Deception” Broadway: Heartbreak House) for WOMEN ON FIRE: Stories from the Frontlines are Blair Baker (Broadway: The Humans), Elizabeth A. Davis (Broadway: Once, Tony Nomination), Simone Harrison (RFP:  Love/ Sick), Evelyn Howe, Mila Jam (International Tour:  RENT), Cynthia Mace (RFP: Safe Home, Angels in America at Mark Taper Forum), Gargi Mukherjee (Film:  Its Free), Kira Player,  and Lianah Sta. Ana (Broadway: Miss Saigon), Dancers include Brooke Averi, Maïa Eugene, Kara Mendez and Mariah Reives. Creative team includes: Lighting and Scenic Design by Cheyenne Sykes, Original Music by Lars Jacobsen, Sound Design by Andy Evan Cohen and Associate Direction by Jessica Wu.
 Henry has collected women’s stories and with them, explores the "State of the United States" from different cultural, socioeconomic, and diverse perspectives. The all-female cast will be complemented with a modern dance element choreographed by Lorna Ventura.

“One night, I was watching the news. For what seems like the millionth time since November 2016, I was devastated. It felt like this was never going to stop. The country that I knew, was being destroyed from the inside, and no one could do anything to prevent it. The rot that was always under America was bubbling to the surface. I felt so angry and hopeless, and I yelled, “I’m going to set myself on fire in front of the White House.” My partner responded, “Isn’t there anything more productive you could be doing other than self-immolation?” I decided to create a piece of art where women from all different points of view would be represented in a safe space. It seems like both sides are constantly screaming at each other and there is no real communication happening. I was lucky to have many women share their stories with me. The piece is just a start. A small pebble in a giant ocean of stories.” Chris Henry
Royal Family’s mission is to galvanize the Times Square community by cultivating raw talent, collaborating with seasoned artists, and inspiring audiences with a diversity of lion-hearted theatre. To us, everyone in the theatre community is not only royalty, but family. Our programs and productions lift artists at all stages of their careers. We don’t want to tell just any story: we want to best serve artists in telling their own stories. In today’s political and social climate, it is also more important than ever to celebrate all voices—especially those underrepresented in the traditional theatre space. At Royal Family, we celebrate the work of female artists, playwrights of color, works with LGBTQIA themes, and artists of all ages and body types.

Royal Family has been a creative incubator of original, humanistic plays for over a decade. Bravery and fearlessness are imperative to our process. Artists and audiences alike are challenged in a creative safe space to explore the humor and the tangled truths of the human condition. As actor and first-time playwright Anthony Rapp (Rent, Dazed and Confused, Star Trek: Discovery) observes, “Royal Family is committed to truthful, heartfelt, alive, theatrical storytelling. It’s vital to the human experience and hard to come by.”
Royal Family was established in 2007 as a home for artists wishing to challenge and transform the traditional theatre canon. Since its launch, Royal Family has developed lasting relationships with highly regarded theatre professionals such as Kathleen Chalfant (Angels in America, Tony-Nominee Wit) and Anthony Rapp (Rent, If/Then, Dazed and Confused), and has partnered with artists including Scott Adsit (30 Rock), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock, Orphans, The Hunt For Red October, The Departed), Elizabeth A. Davis (Tony-Nominee Once, Caucasian Chalk Circle, 39 Steps), and J. Robert Spencer (Tony-Nominee Next to Normal, Jersey Boys). Our productions have been reviewed by The New York Times, Time Out, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, Time Out London, The London Times, and The Irish Times and featured three years in a row in the esteemed Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Recent highlights include a collaboration between stage and television star-turned-choreographer Taye Diggs, choreographer Jenny Parsinen, and Royal Family’s Emerging Artist Program on 2017’s thoughts of a COLORED MAN on a day when the sun set too early by playwright Keenan Scott II. The play weaves the story of twelve African American men searching for their identity in a conformist world. Through the Emerging Artist Program, Scott is now partnering with commercial producers to workshop the play under the direction of Taye Diggs. In 2016, Royal Family premiered Rock and Roll Refugee, a biographical musical about Geyna Ravan, who also wrote the music and lyrics. The Polish World War II refugee and Holocaust survivor broke into the rock scene at a time when it was a predominantly male field, forming the first all-girl band and becoming the first female music producer. The New York Times’ Laura Collins-Hughes praised the production as “exciting” and lauded its “strikingly female gaze.”
Royal Family is led by Artistic Director Chris Henry. Over the past ten seasons, Henry has produced over 550 performances, created 1,900 employment opportunities for artists, been twice nominated for the Zelda Fichlander award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and won the New England Theater Conference Regional Directors Award. Jessica Wu is Associate Artistic Director of Royal Family Production.

WOMEN ON FIRE: Stories from the Frontlines
Written, curated, and directed by Chris Henry from stories told to her by a group of anonymous women, with choreography by Lorna Ventura
SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2018
Royal Family Performing Arts Space is located at 145 West 46th Street, 3rd Floor
Tickets start at $35 (Limited Amount), $100 (Preferred Seating), $250 (VIP Tickets)
VIP Tickets include Pre-Show Cocktail Party 6:00pm Performance 6:30
Running Time 60 minutes
Tickets can be purchased by visiting

For more information about Royal Family Productions please visit

CHRIS HENRY (Writer/ Director) is an award-winning theatre director and writer based in New York City. She is the Artistic Director of Royal Family Productions. DIRECTING CREDITS WITH ROYAL FAMILY: Anne of Green Gables: Part I, Brass Heart the musical, thoughts of a COLORED MAN on a day when the sun set too early, MM2000, Rock and Roll Refugee, LOVE/SICK, Four Last Things, Dedalus Lounge, Safe Home. WRITING PROJECTS: Anne of Green Gables: Part 1 (based on the novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery), Louie, Red, and the Jazzman (in collaboration with Wycliffe Gordon), Nobody Suspects a Butterfly (originally a feature film treatment Henry wrote for Ross Greenburg, Former President of HBO Sports), Rock and Roll Refugee (in collaboration with Genya Ravan), MM2000 (in collaboration with Shane W. Evans) and Opal Ann Meets the Fabulous Kit Katt, A Play with Musical Fantasies (in collaboration with Summer Hyde and Daniel A. Weiss).  NYC DIRECTING HIGHLIGHTS: Joe (Cherry Lane Mentor Project), Trans-Euro Express (Irish Arts Center), Art of War (Madison Square Garden), Sharpen Your Blade (“Time Out” Critic’s Pick), Fishbowl (New York Magazine Critic’s pick), Suicide Society (Winner Best Director). ACTORS THEATRE OF LOUISVILLE: The Actor’s Nightmare, Grace of I, Dog Named Becky, One Hundred Women, Electric Roses, Sure Thing. ROYAL FAMILY PRODUCTIONS: Over the past ten seasons, Henry has produced over 550 performances, created 1,900 employment opportunities for artists, been twice nominated for the Zelda Fichlander award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and won the New England Theater Conference Regional Directors Award.

LORNA VENTURA (Choreography) is a director/choreographer, with a long list of credits, from Broadway to Film and Television.  Her passion and inclination for visual story telling has been fostered for many years. After a long career as a performer, Lorna was drawn to the development side of her work. This allowed her to collaborate and work alongside impressive directors, as she honed her craft and transitioned with grace into the director’s seat. Some of her choreography credits include, working alongside impressive directors such as: James Mangold in Kate And Leoplod, Fred Scheppisi in It Runs In The Family.  In house Choreographer, for seasons 1-4 of “Gossip Girl: including: “Valley Girls,” “In The Realm Of Bases,” “It’s A Wonderful Lie,” “Hi Society” and “Disco Stick.” As well as, the pilot and season 1 & 2 for “Carries Diaries.”These opportunities allowed Lorna to work directly with celebrities such as: Hugh Jackman, Meg Ryan, Blake Lively, Leighton Meestar, Chance Crawford, Sophia Anna Robb to name a few. Some of her favorite theater directors who have served as mentors and teachers are George C Wolfe, Joe Mantello, and Kathleen Marshall. Favorite Broadway credits include- Wicked, performer original Broadway company, Grease – performer original Broadway company, All Shook Up – Associate Choreographer, Nice Work If You Can Get It, SDC observer and assistant to Kathleen Marshall. 

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