CHESTER -- A world premiere, two regional premieres and a psychological thriller set in Edwardian London are in store this summer in Chester Theatre Company's 24th season at the Chester Town Hall.
The season, which runs through Aug. 25, opens on June 26 with the world premiere of "Arms on Fire," a new play by Steven Sater with music by Duncan Sheik, the Tony- and Olivier Award-winning creators of "Spring Awakening," followed by Karoline Leach's "Tryst," July 11-21, and the regional premieres of "Body Awareness," a comedy by Annie Baker, July 31-Aug. 11, and "An Iliad" by Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare, Aug.15-25.
"Arms on Fire," which runs through July 7, 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. When Josephina appears, both men are forced to face truths about the present.
CTC artistic director Byam Stevens will direct.
"The first play I directed as artistic director of CTC was Steven Sater's ‘Plains of Ilion,' " Stevens said in a news release, "It's truly great to have him back again to open our season with the world premiere of a new play with music by performer and recording artist Duncan Sheik.
"This will be our 25th world premiere in 24 years, a production record very much in keeping with our commitment to presenting the best in contemporary theater."
In a complete change of pace, "Arms on Fire" will be followed by Karoline Leach's "Tryst," featuring James Barry as George Love, a handsome con-man who courts vulnerable spinsters, marries them, takes their life's savings and disappears. His latest target, lonely Adelaide Pinchin, played by Allison McLemore, has a peculiar effect on George, and, as a result, almost nothing seems to go as he plans.
Daniel Elihu Kramer, who directed "Turn of the Screw" at CTC in 2011, will direct.
Barry played Dr. Faustus in CTC's 2011 production of "Wittenberg." McLemore appeared at CTC in "Turn of the Screw" and "The Nibroc Trilogy."
Annie Baker's "Body Awareness" focuses on a modern nuclear family: Phyllis, a college professor, her partner Joyce, a high school teacher and Joyce's adult son, Jared.
Phyllis has organized "Body Awareness Week" at the college where she teaches. She and Joyce are hosting Frank, a Body Awareness Week guest artist whose nude photos are being shown in the campus gallery. When Jared turns to Frank for advice, and Joyce considers posing for him, tensions rise. Knud Adams, a newcomer to CTC who assisted director Sam Gold on two productions of Baker plays, will direct.
The 2013 season will come to a close with the regional premiere of "An Iliad," Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare's one-actor re-imagining of Homer's classic. To live musical accompaniment, their much-traveled Poet tells his story of gods and goddesses, kings and heroes, epic battles, and endless war.
Director Sheila Siragusa will be re-united with CTC veteran actor Steve Hendrickson for the fourth time at CTC ("Crime and Punishment," "Blackbird," "Mercy of a Storm").
Season at a Glance
• "Arms on Fire" by Steven Sater with music by Duncan Sheik. June 26-July 7
• "Tryst" by Karoline Leach. July 11-21
• "Body Awareness" by Annie Baker. July 31- Aug. 11
• "An Iliad" by Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare. Aug. 15-25.
All performances at Chester Town Hall, 15
Middlefield Road, Chester.
Evenings -- Wed.-Sat. 8
Matinees -- Thu., Sun. 2
$10-$35; group rates are
To receive a brochure, contact the CTC box office at (413) 354-7771.