New Musical by ‘Spring Awakening’ Creative Team Opens Chester Theatre Season

Natalie Mendoza

Natalie Mendoza

(CHESTER, Mass.) – Chester Theatre Company (CTC) 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 Wednesday, June 26, 2013, to Sunday, July 7, 2013, at the Chester Town Hall.

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.

This production marks the return of playwright Steven Sater to CTC. The first play Stevens produced as artistic director of CTC was Steven’s Plains of Ilion.

Arms on Fire has been a passion project for the Tony Award-winning team of Sater and Sheik, who began work on the piece in 1999. It spawned their collaboration on the 2001 studio album Phantom Moon. Much of the musical material on that album was penned for the play but will be heard in a new Latin-influenced orchestration for the world premiere production. Also incorporated into the play will be a never- before published tune, “A Boat on the Sea,” which was the first song the two penned together. According to Sater, “We decided to save it and not put it on the Phantom Moon album” he said. “All these years, the song has been in hiding.”

 

 

 

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