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FIRE had its world premiere in October 2017 at Theatre 54 @Shetler Studios and Theatres. It was the debut production of Chatillion Stage Company.

The Triangle Waist Company fire on March 25th, 1911, lives in infamy as one of the worst disasters in the history of New York City. In just a few short minutes, over one hundred and forty lives were abruptly extinguished when the 8th, 9th and 10th floors of the Triangle Waist Company were consumed by fire on that fateful March day. Most of the casualties were female immigrants who had come to America to start new lives for themselves and for their families. Many of the girls sent portions of their meager incomes back home to their relatives who remained in the “old country.” The young women had believed the stories they had read about American streets being “paved with gold.” The reality was, the only gold they saw were the gold coins pocketed by the manufacturers.

FIRE dramatically interweaves fictionalized stories about these young transplants with actual testimony from the trial against the owners of the factory. It poetically explores the theme of avarice juxtaposed against the dream of living in a new land and all the promise that goes along with it.

FIRE resonates today because one of the baser human desires, greed, pervades the world culture as much now, if not more, than it did back in 1911. The play is ultimately about overcoming adversity and never giving up hope for a better life.


The cast of FIRE 


JAY RUSSELL (Actor 1) Broadway: End of the Rainbow, The Play What I Wrote. Off-Broadway: Our Town (Barrow Street), Travels With My Aunt (Keen Company), Around the World in 80 Days (Irish Rep), Come Back, Little Sheba (Transport Group), The Normal Heart (Public), & more. National Tours: Wicked, Beauty & the Beast. International: Fully Committed (English Theatre of Vienna), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (English Theatre of Frankfurt). Regional: Leading roles at the Guthrie, Arena Stage, Long Wharf, Papermill Playhouse, Westport Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Baltimore Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Goodspeed Opera House, North Shore Music Theatre, Pioneer Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Ordway, Utah Shakespeare Festival. TV/Film: Gotham, Louie, Boardwalk Empire, Ugly Betty, The Sopranos, Seven Seconds, Bored to Death, Law & Order, Morning Glory, Ride, In Lieu of Flowers, All in


KEVIN LOWRY (Actor 2) is thrilled to be making his New York debut in Chatillion Stage Company’s FIRE! He was most recently seen in Sweet & Lucky (Denver Center for the Performing Arts, in association with Third Rail Projects, Brooklyn NY). Kevin has worked across Colorado in A Man for All Seasons (Arvada Center), Godspell (Aurora Fox), Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Broadway World, Best Supporting Actor/The Edge), Ripcord (BETC), Twelfth NightMacbeth (No Holds Bard), Shining City (Miners Alley), The 39 Steps & Out of Order (Backstage Theatre), Othello: A Khorus Line, (Betsy Stage) and with the Improv groups Makeshift Shakespeare (Best Long Form Group, Colorado Improv Awards 2014) and Hot Nap (Voodoo Comedy Playhouse).


STUART ZAGNIT* (Actor 3) is a Broadway veteran, having appeared in Disney’s NewsiesDr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Seussical, The Wild Party and The People in the Picture, among others. National tour credits include The Wizard in Wicked, Grinch, Crazy for You, Into the Woods and Applause. Off-Broadway: All in the Timing, Lucky Stiff, The Grand Tour, Kuni-Leml. Stuart was the last Seymour in the original production of Little Shop of Horrors at the Orpheum Theater. Regional credits include Max in The Producers, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music, Sunset Boulevard and Breaking Up Is Hard To Do. On TV: five guest appearances on all three Law & Order series, as well as The Good Wife, Elementary, Blue Bloods, 30 Rock and Season 2 of Violet, the Jessica Jones Marvel Comics series on Netflix. Stuart is on the web series Small Miracles, the feature According to Greta and for Pokemon fans, he was the original voice of Professor Oak!


LAURA KING OTAZO (Actor 4) Theatre: Censored on Final Approach (Gerry), Insignificant (Williamena Fleming) and A Piece of My Heart (Whitney) with Infinite Variety Productions; Crimes of the Heart (Lenny) and Lucky Stiff (Annabel) with Bristol Valley Theater; Rope (Leila) and The Taming of the Shrew (Kate) with Random Access Theatre; A Midsummer Night's Dream (Helena) with Mortal Folly. Webseries: Looking Through the Windows, American Kirare-Yaku, and


LAURIEL FRIEDMAN* (Actor 5) Off-Broadway: Vanity Fair, The Dingdong, The Winter's Tale (Pearl Theatre Company); A Midsummer Night's Dream (New York Classical Theatre). Regional: The Diary of Anne Frank (Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); Peter Piper, Pride and Prejudice (Guthrie Theater). Training: Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program, London's Globe Theatre Education.


MALKA WALLICK (Actor 6) is New York based actor, but theatre has taken her abroad where she has studied and performed in London (RADA, MA Theatre Lab, & LAMDA), Greece, and Italy, (La Mama Umbria). Most recently Malka was seen Off-Broadway in Outer Banks at Signature. Some of her favorite roles include: Viola (Twelfth Night), Paulina (The Winter's Tale), Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), and J in R+J. She is the first runner up of the Warwick Shakespeare Writing Competition, (London). When not neck deep in Shakespeare Malka can be found reading a good book whilst sipping on a good single malt (peaty please!), or attempting to complete the NY Times Friday crossword -- she's still working on that one. Thanks to Tim for always pushing me and being there.


JAKE HOROWITZ* (Actor 7) recently played the Duke of Aumerle opposite Robert Sean Leonard in Richard II at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Off-Broadway, he has appeared in The Sensuality Party (The New Group), King Lear and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theatre for a New Audience). Jake played Wally Webb in Our Town directed by David Cromer (Barrow Street Theatre). Regional credits include Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (Dallas Theater Center) and Katurian in The Pillowman (Zoo City). He has also appeared in the films The Vast of Night (upcoming), Adam Bloom, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Julie Taymor. Jake is a founding member of Zoo City.


PAULETTE OLIVA* (Actor 8) is proud and thrilled to be a part of this thoughtful work—reflecting on the 146 lives lost, and the enduring impact on labor, immigrants, and women's rights. Off-Broadway: Barbicide, (Mrs. Lionetti, Players Theatre, NY), Return to Spoon River, (Ensemble, Lion Theatre, Theatre Row, NY); Selected Regional: Sister Act! (Mother Superior, White Plains PAC), Master Class (Maria Callas, Sunoco Theatre, Harrisburg, PA), Sweeney Todd, (Mrs. Lovett, Irvington Town Hall Theatre), Gypsy (Rose, Yorktown Stage), Next to Normal (Diana, Sandbox Theatre), Disney on the Record (Diane, White Plains, PAC). Dedicated to the memory of my grandmother, Cira Lo Piccolo, Italian immigrant, garment worker, who arrived on Ellis Island November 1907 and regaled us with stories of her young friends lost in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911. Questo è per te, Nonna.

TECH SUPPORT Creative and Production Teams

Creative Team:
BRYCE CUTLER / Scenic & Projection Design
EMILY CHALMERS / Costume Design
ED MATTHEW / Sound Design
INGA THRASHER / Hair/Make-Up Consultant
DEBRA  MOOLIN / Prop Master

Production Team:

EMELY ZEPEDA / Production Stage Manager
SKYE CONE / Assistant Stage Manager
CYRUS NEWITT / Technical Director
/  Press Representative




Theatre Pizzazz

by Carole Di Tosti, 10/20/17


The playwright uses a clever arc of development to unfold the various stories that lead up to the day of the fire and afterward. Because of her choices the suspense increases and when she explodes the climax, we feel the terror and horror of the employees who face death and the shock and sorrow of those who manage to save themselves on that day of infamy. Whitfield reveals the owners’ culpability with hyperbole and irony.

Every element of this production shines unified coherence. And combined with the acting and direction, this memorable production will touch the hearts of those who see it, one that native New Yorkers should never forget.


Review: FIRE

Stage Buddy

by Erin Kahn, 10/8/17 

FIRE (Theatre 54 @ Shetler Studios & Theatres) is the debut production of Chatillion Stage Company, which aims to produce plays exploring the female experience. With this engaging, poignant first production, they're off to a strong start.

...tightly woven nature of Whitfield's already carefully crafted structure.

Thanks to a talented cast and a carefully layered script, FIRE achieves a haunting transcendence for its characters.



City Cabaret


by Elizabeth Ahlfors, 10/17 

Debra Whitfield's well-crafted interpretation of the event is presented in Chatillion Stage Company's debut production, FIRE, at Theatre 54 at Shetler Studios & Theatres. Speaking boldly are Whitfield's viable human beings, working against greed to achieve the American dream and then tragically battling in vain to save their own lives. An emotional first production by the promising Chatillion Stage Company.

Review: ‘Fire’ by Chatillion Stage Company at Theatre 54 at Shetler Studios and Theatres


DC Metro

by Deb Miller, 10/18/17 

... The company’s compelling debut production presents a heartrending fictionalized account of the disaster... FIRE is most successful in its sympathetic recognition of humanity – in allowing us to see those who were lost over a century ago as not mere statistics, but as human beings. It also triumphs in its reaffirmation of the socio-political need for unionization and safety regulations to protect the rights of our workers and to preserve the lives of our diverse population, in our common ongoing quest to realize the American dream.


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