Astoria Performing Arts Center Presents BILLY WITCH, 11/1-17
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by BWW News Desk
THE ASTORIA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (APAC) has announced the New York premiere production of Gregory S. Moss's (punkplay, House of Gold) BILLY WITCH, choreographed by Wendy Seyb (The Pee Wee Herman Show, Yeast Nation), with original music by Nathan A. Roberts, musical direction by Brenna Sage and directed by Erik Pearson (Billy Witch, Studio 42). BILLY WITCH will play a limited engagement at the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church (30-44 Crescent St, Astoria, NY. Entrance on 30th Road.) Performances begin Thursday, November 1
In this quirky, creepy, bawdy comedy, 14-year old Oliver braves the wilderness to discover change at sleepaway camp. Miles away from home, surrounded by pubescent boys and girls, Oliver is not prepared for the life altering transformation he will soon experience. From twisted first sexual encounters, to spooky campfire stories unfolding before his eyes, Oliver's time at camp is anything but normal.
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 Theater 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.
APAC's Artistic Director, Tom Wojtunik chose the play after missing the workshop at Studio 42 last February, which garnered tremendous word of mouth in the theatre community. He states, "as soon as I read the script I knew that the experience of BILLY WITCH would be a special one for APAC's audience. I look forward to seeing how director Erik Pearson utilizes APAC's unique space to tell the story." When asked why he first chose to develop the piece, Studio 42 Artistic Director, Moritz von Stuelpnagel said, "when you mix Ovid's Metamorphosis with classic camp horror, you get this terrific blend of high brow and low brow entertainment that is surprising and deeply satisfying. The show is an immersive theatrical experience full of sex, horror, absurdity, and straight up nostalgia for those long gone days of summer camp."
The production features Eric Bryant* (Angels in America, Signature Theater) as Arden, Britain Gebhardt as Jenny, Aimee Howard* (Austerity of Hope, Barrow Group; Claymont, EAT) as Miranda, Dawn Luebbe* (Onasses Comedy, UCB & College Humor) as Counselor Becky, Allyson Morgan* as Sue, Seamus Mulcahy* (Killing Lincoln; Our Town, Barrow Street Theater) as Oliver, Andy Phelan* (APAC's MilkMilkLemonade; CSC's Galileo) as Billy, Luke Robertson* (Yale Repertory Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage) as PD Lockwood, Will Roland as Michael, Hasmik Anna Saakian as Melody, Ben Schnickel as Peter, Nicholas Urda* (Private Lives, Two Rivers Theater) as Counselor James, and Liz Wisan* (Other Desert Cities) as Sandy. (*Performing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.)
The production features scenic design by Tim Brown, costume design by Elizabeth Barrett Groth, and lighting design by Marie Yokoyama. Chris Barlow is the sound designer, Daniel Dabdoub is the props designer, RoBert Westley is the fight director and Jessa Nicole Pollack* is the production stage manager.
BILLY WITCH plays the following regular schedule through Saturday, November 17:
Thursdays at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $18, available online at www.apacny.org or by calling 866-811-4111. Tickets may also be purchased in-person at the Theatre Box Office, 30 minutes prior to the performance.
Children under 14 not permitted.
PERFORMANCE VENUE: Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 30-44 Crescent St (@30th Rd), Astoria, NY 11102
Directions: Take the N or Q Subway to 30th Avenue. Walk down 30th Ave. to Crescent St. (Mount Sinai Hospital is on the corner.) Turn left on Crescent Street. Walk one block south, then turn right onto 30th Rd. Entrance is second set of red doors on left.
Running Time: 90 minutes.
For more information, visit www.apacny.org
Gregory S. Moss (Playwright) is a writer, performer and educator from New England. His plays include punkplay, House of Gold, sixsixsix and The Argument, among others. His work has been produced and developed at Clubbed Thumb, The A.R.T., Playwrights Horizons, Soho Rep, Steppenwolf Garage, and NYTW. Gregory is the recipient of a 2010-2011 Jerome Fellowship and a 2011-2012 McKnight Fellowship. He is currently developing a new musical, with Joe Iconis, based on the life and work of Hunter S. Thompson. Recent: House of Gold at La Comédie Française (winner, Prix du Public) and at EST-LA (LA Times and LA Weekly Critics' Pick); sixsixsix, Antimatter Collective, NY (Editor's Pick, Flavorpill). Upcoming: punkplay at World's Stage Theatre (Milwaukee WI) and Stray Cat Theatre (Tempe, AZ). www.gregorymoss.com
ERIK PEARSON (Director) is a Brooklyn based director and projection designer. Recent projects include Spike Lee's production of Mike Tyson Undisputed Truth on Broadway, Streb's Kiss The Air at the Park Avenue Armory, directed by RoBert Woodruff, Greg Moss's Billy Witch for Studio 42, John Glover's new opera Our Basic Nature for American Opera Projects, and Anna Ziegler's The Minotaur. Other New York credits include The Playwrights Realm, SOHO Playhouse, Intar, HERE, TerraNOVA, Lark and Studio NYC. International and regional credits include Holland International Dance Festival, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Carolina Ballet, El Paso Opera, The Magic, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, BRAVA!, Marin Theater Company, as well as The University of California at Santa Cruz, where he taught theater arts. Erik holds an MFA in directing from Yale School of Drama. www.elpearson.com
ASTORIA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (APAC), a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 2001 with 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. 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?). In 2012, the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation honored APAC with its Caffe Cino Fellowship.
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 www.apacny.org.
Pictured: Gregory Moss