Angelica Chéri writes 'Gun & Powder'

BY Robbie Armstrong, January 29, 2020

Alumna Angelica Chéri ‘13 writes Gun & Powder a new musical which had its world premiere production at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA. Chéri pens the book and lyrics, featuring music by Ross Baum. Gun & Powder was a recipient of the Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater and developed through the SigWorks: Musical Theater Lab at Signature Theatre.


Gun & Powder is inspired by the true story of Mary and Martha Clarke, Chéri's great-great aunts, African American twin sisters who passed for White and were notorious outlaws. Set in Post-Emancipation Texas, the musical follows Mary and Martha's journey of defying racial boundaries and seizing what rightfully belongs to them, by any means necessary. They are successful at their charade until they each find themselves in love, but with two very different men. 


Chéri explains “I’ve heard [Mary and Martha Clark] robbed a bank…[they’re] sort of like a black Thelma and Louise.” Chéri describes the story beginning when Mary and Martha Clark realize that there’s a deficit of money in their community so they think outside of the box and discover what they can accomplish if they change their identities.


Solea Pfeiffer and Emmy Raver-Lampman star as the Clarke sisters, reuniting after playing two of the Schuyler sisters in the national tour of Hamilton. Adjunct Professor and alumnus Robert O'Hara ‘96 will direct the world premiere. O’Hara states “I’m excited to bring this boldly talented multi-cultural cast of musical powerhouses together to sing and dance this Wild West story created by two young extremely talented new voices, Angelica and Ross, who will themselves be beginning their own exciting journey at Signature Theatre.”


Gun & Powder runs January 28–February 23, 2020, in the MAX Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. There will be discussions following the performances on February 18 and 19 as well as a special Pride Night on February 7.