Astoria PAC Presents CHILDREN OF EDEN 5/6 - 5/22, Opens 5/8

Astoria PAC Presents CHILDREN OF EDEN 5/6 - 5/22, Opens 5/8

Astoria Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce their production of the Stephen Schwartz musical Children of Eden, choreography by Christine O'Grady, musical direction by Lilli Wosk, and directed by Tom Wojtunik. Children of Eden will play a 3-week limited engagement at the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church (30-44 Crescent St, Astoria, NY 11102. Entrance on 30th Road.) Performances begin Thursday, May 6 and continue through Saturday, May 22. Opening Night is Saturday, May 8 (8 p.m.).

Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) and John Caird's (Les Miserables) Children of Eden is an inspirational musical about forgiveness. Loosely based on the story of Genesis, this frank, heartfelt, and often humorous examination of the timeless conflict between parents and children has been presented across the world since its London premiere in 1991. At the Astoria Performing Arts Center the act of telling this grand and epic story will be accomplished with a sense of theatrical wonder, creativity and innovation that will capture the imagination of audiences of all ages.

James Zannelli* (Bryan Putnam's The Toymaker in the 2009 NYMF) as Father, Joseph Spieldenner* as Adam/Noah, Emmy Raver-Lampman as Eve/Mama Noah, Alan Shaw* (Huck Finn in Big River at The Arvada Center) as Cain/Japheth, Stephen Gelpi* (Shafrika The White Girl at the Vineyard Theatre, The Mission at the The Producer's Club) as Abel/Ham/Snake, Jonathan Gregg* as Seth/Shem/Snake, Charissa Bertels* as Aphra/Snake, Kelly Scanlon* as Aysha/Snake, Stacie Bono* (Evelyn Nesbit in APAC's Ragtime) as Yonah/Snake and Zekari Jackson (APAC's Ragtime) as Young Abel.

The production features set design by IT Award recipient for outstanding set design for APAC's Ragtime, Michael P. Kramer, costume/puppet design by Hunter Kaczorowski, and lighting design Dan Jobbins. Kate Foretek is the sound designer, Nicole Gaignat is the props designer, Rebecca Lewis-Whitson is the assistant director and Michelle McDaniel is the stage manager.

Children of Eden plays the following regular schedule through Saturday, May 22:

Thursdays at 8 p.m.
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Tickets are $18, available online at or by calling 866-811-4111. Tickets may also be purchased in-person at the Theatre Box Office, 30 minutes prior to the performance.

Directions to the theatre: Take the N or W Subway to 30th Avenue. Walk down 30th Ave. to Crescent St. (Mount Sinai Hospital is on the corner.) Walk one block South to 30th Road.

Running Time: 150 minutes



John Caird (book) is a freelance director and writer working in theatre, musical theatre and opera. Many of his recent productions have been for the National Theatre in London including Hamlet with Simon Russell Beale, Bulwer-Lytton's Money, his own new versions of Bernstein's Candide and Barrie's Peter Pan, Trelawny of the Wells, The Seagull, Stanley by Pam Gems and Humbleboy by Charlotte Jones.

He is an Honorary Associate Director of the RSC, where he has directed over twenty plays including classic works by Shakespeare, Shaw, Farquhar, Gorky, Strindberg, Brecht and Ben Jonson, and new plays by Peter Flannery, Pam Gems, Jonathan Gems, John Berger and Nella Bielski, Richard Nelson, David Edgar, Mary O'Malley and Charles Wood. His productions of Les Misérables and Nicholas Nickleby, both with Trevor Nunn, have won numerous awards around the world.

Other work includes Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance at the Palace Theatre, Mozart's Zaide at the Battignano Opera Festival in Tuscany and the Siegfried and Roy Spectacular in Las Vegas. Television work includes Nicholas Nickleby, As You Like It and his own adaptation of Shakepeare's Henry IV plays for the BBC. His most recent stage work includes productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night, both for the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, Michael Weller's new play What the Night is For at the Comedy Theatre with Gillian Anderson and Roger Allam and the transfer of Les Miserables into its new home at the Queen's Theatre.

Published work as a book writer, adapter and lyricist includes a new version of John Gay's Beggar's Opera with the composer Ilona Sekacz first performed at the RSC, a new adaptation of J.M.Barrie's Peter Pan with Trevor Nunn which played at the RSC and the National, Children of Eden with composer Stephen Schwartz, Jane Eyre and Daddy Long Legs, both with composer Paul Gordon and Bernstein's Candide with new lyrics by Richard Wilbur and Stephen Sondheim.

With Holly Kendrick he has recently founded the Caird Company to encourage and promote the work of young playwrights and theatre directors. Current Productions include Theatre Café at the Arcola Theatre and The Arab-Israeli Cookbook at the Gate Theatre

Stephen Schwartz (Music & Lyrics) was born in New York City on March 6, 1948. He studied piano and composition at the Juilliard School of Music while in high school and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1968 with a B.F.A. in Drama. Upon coming back to live in New York City, he went to work as a producer for RCA Records, but shortly thereafter began to work in the Broadway theatre.

His first major credit was the title song for the play Butterflies are Free; the song was eventually used in the movie version as well. In 1971, he wrote the music and new lyrics for Godspell, for which he won several awards including two Grammys. This was followed by the English texts, in collaboration with Leonard Bernstein, for Bernstein's MASS, which opened the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The following year, he wrote the music and lyrics for Pippin and two years later, The Magic Show. At one point, Godspell, Pippin, and The Magic Show were all running on Broadway simultaneously.

He next wrote the music and lyrics for The Baker's Wife, followed by a musical version of Studs Terkel's Working, to which he contributed four songs, and which he also adapted and directed, winning the Drama Desk Award as best director. He also co-directed the television production, which was presented as part of the PBS "American Playhouse" series.

Next came songs for a one-act musical for children, Captain Louie, and a children's book, The Perfect Peach. He then wrote music for three of the songs in the Off-Broadway revue, Personals, lyrics to Charles Strouse's music for Rags, and music and lyrics for Children of Eden. He then began working in film, collaborating with composer Alan Menken on the scores for the Disney animated features Pocahontas, for which he received two Academy Awards and another Grammy, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He also provided songs for DreamWorks' first animated feature, The Prince of Egypt, for which he won another Academy Award for the song "When You Believe". He most recently collaborated with Alan Menken on the songs for Disney's Enchanted.

Mr. Schwartz provided music and lyrics for the original television musical, Geppetto, seen on The Wonderful World of Disney and recently adapted for the stage as Geppetto & Son. He has released two CDs on which he sings new songs, entitled Reluctant Pilgrim and Uncharted Territory. Mr. Schwartz's most recent musical, Wicked, opened in the fall of 2003 and is currently running on Broadway and in several other productions around the United States and the world. In 2008, Wicked reached its 1900th performance on Broadway, making Mr. Schwartz the only songwriter in Broadway history ever to have three shows run more than 1900 performances. A book about his career, "Defying Gravity", has recently been released by Applause Books.

Under the auspices of the ASCAP Foundation, he runs Musical Theatre Workshops in New York and Los Angeles, and serves on the ASCAP board; he is also currently the President of the Dramatists' Guild.

Tom Wojtunik (Director) APAC: Artistic Director, Ragtime (NY IT Award Nomination for Outstanding Musical), Proof, Woyzeck: Homecoming (reading). Other NY credits: The Play About the Naked Guy, Edenville (NY IT Award Nom. for Oustanding Director, Emerging Artists Theatre); The Miss Education of Jenna Bush (FringeNYC, Best Solo Show & Audience Favorite); The Who's Tommy (NY IT Award Nom. for Outstanding Musical), Man of La Mancha, Six Degrees of Separation, Urinetown (NY IT Award Winner, Outstanding Musical), Take Me Out (Gallery Players); I'm In Love With Your Wife (Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival); The Good Thief and Rum and Vodka (Prospect St). Tom was a Resident Director for the Ensemble Studio Theatre, where directed workshops of Bella Via and David's Play. Tom is a member of EAT and the LCT Directors' Lab. BFA: Marymount Manhattan College. SSDC Member. UPCOMING: Bright Lights, Big City (MMC), Children of Eden (APAC).

LILLI WOSK (Musical Director) is also working with New York Theatre Barn on their new musical, Speargrove Presents. She has musical directed at The Gallery Players in Brooklyn, and currently teaches at Beacon High School and PS 75. Lilli works throughout NYC as a vocal coach, focusing on book-building and audition prep.

ASTORIA PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, Inc. (APAC), a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 2001 to bring high quality theatre and entertainment to Astoria/Long Island City and to support local youth and senior citizens. We are a professional theatre company that complements award-winning mainstage programming with dedicated community outreach efforts.

Each year, APAC brings extended networks of artists, technicians, and volunteers together to produce musical revivals and modern plays. APAC strives to create innovative and engaging work, equaling that of the most established Off Off Broadway theatre companies. Our mainstage productions have been recognized for their quality and top production values. In 2004, we were honored with an Off OffBroadway Review Award for Is There Life After High School? During the past three years, we have received ten New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations, taking home top honors in 2009 for Ragtime in the categories of Oustanding Set Design (Michael P. Kramer) and Oustanding Stage Manager (Jillian Zeman). Committed to bringing new voices to visibility in American theatre, we feature new works through The 15/20s: Staged Readings of New Works, a series of readings of new plays and plays-in-development.

Children of Eden is sponsored by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Council Member Peter Vallone Jr., the Dramatist Guild Fund, and NYSCA through the Queens Community Arts Fund, a regrant program of the Queens Council on the Arts.

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