Carol King Played In Blood Brothers

The Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC), recipient of the 2012 CaffĂ© Cino Fellowship Award from the Innovative Theatre Foundation, is pleased to announce their additional IT Award Nominations and their 12th Season featuring the New York Premiere of Gregory S. Moss’s (punkplay, House of Gold) Billy Witch and Willy Russell’s (Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine) Blood Brothers. APAC is also fortunate to be working on a developmental piece with Grammy and Tony-award winning composer Galt MacDermot (Hair), Gone Tomoro. APAC’s performance venue is located at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 30-44 Crescent St (@30th Rd) in Astoria, Queens.

“We’ve got a fascinating mix of work in store for APAC’s 12th season,” remarks an excited Artistic Director Tom Wojtunik. “With twisted sleepover camp fun in Gregory S. Moss’s Billy Witch, the haunting power of the musical Blood Brothers, and the chance to hear a new score in development from one of musical theatre’s most inspired composers, Galt MacDermot. My favorite thing about all of these pieces is how uniquely theatrical they each are—APAC audiences are in for a treat.”

In September APAC will be celebrating with the New York Innovative Theatre awards, first with their Caffe Cino Fellowship Award, which is presented to an Off-Off-Broadway theatre company that consistently produces outstanding work. This award also includes a grant to be used toward an Off-Off-Broadway production. Additionally, they have six nominations, for A Hard Wall at High Speed: Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role (Ryan Templeton); Outstanding Lighting Design (Cat Tate Starmer); Outstanding Set Design (Stephen K. Dobay); Outstanding Sound Design (Nathan A. Roberts); Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play and yet another nomination for Outstanding Production of a Musical for The Secret Garden, an award they have won for Children of Eden.

The season commences on November 1st with a New York Premiere, Gregory S. Moss’s (punkplay, House of Gold) Billy Witch, choreographed by Wendy Seyb (B’way’s The Pee Wee Herman Show, Yeast Nation) and directed by Erik Pearson (Billy Witch, Studio 42). The play, which runs through November 17th, explores summer camp unlike anything you remember. At Blue Triangle Nature Fun Time Summer Camp lost campers wander into ghost stories and new-boy Oliver braves Consummation Station. But between the possessed pubescence of his fellow campers and the perhaps-too-perky counselors lurking behind any tree, will Oliver find the life-altering change he so desperately wants? 

Billy Witch was initially written when Moss, who L.A. Weekly says “blends Eugene Ionesco with Christopher Durang,” was in residence at The Millay Colony in Austerlitz, New York. It was first workshopped at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA, in 2008, under the direction of Vanessa Gilbert. The play was produced at Northeastern University, Boston, in 2010, directed by Jonathan Carr. In early 2012, a developmental production was produced by Studio 42 and directed by Erik Pearson.

On February 8th (through the 16th), APAC will present its second annual musical workshop, an original musical from the composer of Hair and The Human Comedy (which APAC produced in 2011), Galt MacDermot and directed by Wojtunik. With book and lyrics by Timothy Murphy, Gone Tomoro is a funny and timely new musical, which takes an ironic look at society today through the eyes of modern day pilgrims from the island of Tomoro in the South Pacific.

Timothy Murphy began developing the script in 2009 when he learned that many of the South Pacific Islands were being flooded due to global warming. Wondering how so many people would relocate when the time came, Murphy began to take a stark look at our current environmental crisis and the United States. In 2010 Galt MacDermot set the 30 songs of Gone Tomoro to music, twelve of which were featured at MacDermot’s annual Carnegie Hall Concert in 2011.

In May APAC will produce the 1983 Olivier Award winning best new musical, Blood Brothers with book, music and lyrics by Willy Russell (Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine) and directed by Wojtunik. A haunting rags-to-riches tragedy of our time, a woman, with too many children to support, surrenders one of her newborn twins to her childless employer. Growing up streets apart, the boys become dedicated friends, but never learn the truth, until a misunderstanding leads to tragedy.

The current West End revival of Blood Brothers is one of the longest-running musical productions in history, opening in 1988, and will end its run on October 27, 2012, having played over 10,000 performances and of which the Daily Mail said, “There are so many good things to shout and sing about in this brave and angry new musical” and Time Out London raved, “for years we have....longed for a show in which words and music, characterization and songs are given equal weight...Blood Brothers is such an event.” The Broadway production opened in 1993 at the Music Box Theatre and closed in 1995 after 840 performances. The central role of Mrs. Johnstone has been played by, among others, Barbara Dickinson, Stephanie Lawrence Kiki Dee, Petula Clark, Carol King, and Helen Reddy. The role of Mickey has been played by both Russell Crowe (in Australia) and David Cassidy (opposite his brother Shaun).

ASTORIA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (APAC), a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 2001with a mission to bring high quality theater to Astoria, Queens, and to support local youth and senior citizens. 

On its mainstage, APAC produces revivals and premieres of plays and musicals, and APAC also develops new works through readings and workshops. Its flexible theater space changes with each production. To date, APAC has received 21 New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations and 4 wins (Children of Eden & Ragtime), as well as an Off-Off Broadway Theatre Review Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical (Is There Life After High School?). 

APAC offers free annual community programs, including a summer performance camp for children ages 8-13, an after school playwriting program for middle school students, and a performance program for Queens residents over the age of 60. These programs deepen ties with the community, and develop new audiences for theater. Diverse programming and consistent quality attracts a loyal and growing audience that reflects the diversity of Western Queens and also draws from the other boroughs and beyond. 

In addition to its theater space within the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, APAC’s offices are located within the historic Kaufman Astoria Studios. For more information on APAC, visit