Women on Fire: Stories from the Frontlines, director-playwright Chris Henry’s collection of real-life stories from American women exploring different cultural and socioeconomic perspectives on modern America, has extended its limited run at the Royal Family Arts Space. The Off-Broadway production will now play through June 1 (instead of the previously scheduled May 21).
Henry, who is the artistic director of Royal Family Productions, collected the stories for Women on Fire from a group of anonymous women.
Women on Fire features a rotating cast of actors, including Tony nominees Penny Fuller, Kathleen Chalfant, Mary Testa, and Elizabeth A. Davis, as well as Rosa Arredondo, Gina Naomi Baez, Blair Baker, Maddie Corman, Rose Courtney, Simone Harrison, Colleen Hawks, Steffanie Leigh, Lauran L’Rae, Cynthia Mace, Ali Marsh, Gargi Mukherjee, Stephanie Jae Park, Kira Player, Laila Robins, and Lianah Sta. Ana.
“One night, I was watching the news. For what seems like the millionth time since November 2016, I was devastated,” Henry said in a statement about Women on Fire. “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.”
Henry has collaborated with choreographer Lorna Ventura to incorporate modern dance into Women on Fire, which features dance ensemble members Brooke Averi, Kiersten Foster, Chieh Hsiung, Musa Hitomi, Kara Menendez, and Alyssa Ness.
The production has lighting, scenic and costume design by Cheyenne Sykes, with original music by Lars Jacobsen, and sound design by Chet Miller. Jessica Wu is associate director.
Performances take place Fridays–Mondays at 6:30 PM. For tickets, priced $45-$65, visit RoyalFamilyProductions.org. Royal Family Performing Arts Space is located at 145 West 46th Street, 3rd Floor.