Women on Fire: Stories from the Frontlines: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman

Fired up with emotion, 12 women took to a cool, industrial-looking space, each to deliver a short monologue with fervor….some with humor, others with passion.

From Louis CK to Bill Cosby to Roman Polanski to President Clinton to President Trump, an array of subjects were taken on.  Written and Directed by Chris Henry and also directed by Lorna Ventura, who is the Choreographer, it is a thought-provoking, somewhat of a call to arms production.  The material/subjects didn’t feel particularly fresh, but a fired-up reminder of ongoing issues and concerns that women continue to face.

The choreography featuring a crew of four young, athletic female dancers, including Samantha Butts, Emily Anne Davis, Erica Misilo, and Mariah Reive, was strong and stirring….and for me…the highlight of the production.

The home of Royal Family Productions is a 100 year old church (they are currently celebrating that milestone anniversary) on 46th Street between 6-7 Avenues, and despite all my avid theatre going over the years, I had yet to visit this space.  It is a 2.5 flight walk-up to the theatre (no elevator), but it’s got a special, historic vibe.

Kathleen Chalfant valiantly led a rotating all-star cast including Andréa Burns, Gina Naomi Baez, Alysia Reiner, Laila Robins, Constance Shulman, Maddie Corman, Judy Gold, Julie Halston, Steffanie Leigh, Cynthia Mace, Gargi Mukherjee, Lianah Sta. Ana, and Ashley Williams (based on availability).  The cast delivers, and seeing them in an intimate environment made it feel all the more powerful.

Based on true stories as collected by director/writer Chris Henry, who wanted to explore the “State of the United States” from different cultural, socio-economic, and diverse perspectives. “One night, I was watching the news. For what seems like the millionth time since November 2016, I was so angry, and I screamed, “I’m going to go to the White House and set myself on fire!” Instead, Women on Fire: Stories from the Frontlines was born. The piece is just a start. A small pebble in a giant ocean of stories.”  – Writer/ Director, Women on Fire, Chris Henry.

After the performance, there was a lovely mixer and opportunity to mingle with the cast and others.

Visit https://www.royalfamilyproductions.org/women-on-fire-frontlines.

Unfortunately, the show had to cut its run short due to the corona virus, but this is a theatre company worth keeping your eye on.





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