Astoria Performing Arts Center Announces Cast & Creative Team For FOLLIES

By: Apr. 04, 2018
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Award-winning and critically-acclaimed Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC - Jesse Marchese, Executive Director; Dev Bondarin, Artistic Director) concludes its 17th mainstage season with a production of the legendary musical Follies by James Goldman (Book) and Stephen Sondheim (Music & Lyrics), directed by APAC artistic director, Dev Bondarin (New York Innovative Theatre Awards nominee for Best Director for APAC's 2017 production of Raisin) and choreographed by Sara Brians (Resident Choreographer, Matilda, Broadway). Follies runs from May 3 - 26, 2018 at the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 30-44 Crescent St. (at 30th Road), Astoria, NY 11102.

The cast of Follies will be led by Marcie Henderson* (Raisin & Allegro - APAC), Greg Horton* (Raisin & Merrily We Roll Along - APAC), Tina Stafford* (Once - 1st National Tour), and Bruce Sabath* (Company - Broadway, Cagney - Off-Broadway) in the central roles of Phyllis, Buddy, Sally and Ben -- as well as Andrea Dotto* (Bandstand - Broadway, Chita Rivera Award Nominee for Outstanding Broadway Dancer) in the role of Young Sally. The cast will also feature: Denali Bennett, LaDonna Burns*, Denise DeMars*, Tia DeShazor*, Susan Cohen DeStefano, Christine Donnelly*, Dan Entriken*, Jonathan Fluck, Spencer Hansen*, James Harter*, Kathleen LaMagna*, Andrea McCullough*, Sharaé Moultrie, Ben Northrup*, Rusty Riegelman*, Nicole Paloma Sarro*, Carolyn Seiff*, Cliff Sellers, Lauren Alice Smith, Noah M. Virgile, and Mandarin Wu*.

The Follies creative team includes: Dev Bondarin (Director), Sara Brians (Choreographer), James Higgins (Music Director), Ann Beyersdorfer (Scenic Designer), Jennifer Jacob (Costume Designer), Annie Wiegand (Lighting Designer), Caroline Eng (Sound Designer), Andrew Short (Props Designer), Jessica McIlquham* (Production Stage Manager), and Jason Styres, CSA (Casting Director).

*Member of Actors' Equity Association. An Equity Approved Showcase.

Before their former theater is demolished, the former "Weismann Follies" showgirls reunite to say goodbye. Featuring some of Sondheim's most well-known songs, including "Losing My Mind," "I'm Still Here," and "Broadway Baby," Follies juxtaposes innocence with sophistication, harsh reality with surrealism, and the dreams of what will be with the regrets of what was. In one evening, memory and time intermingle as two couples confront the truth about their past and their present in order to face the future.

Follies marks a return to the work of Stephen Sondheim for APAC, whose 2015 production of Merrily We Roll Along won the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical. Notably, the production also marks APAC's last production in their performance space of ten years at the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church (30-44 Crescent St.) in Astoria.

APAC's artistic director, Dev Bondarin, says: "James Goldman and Stephen Sondheim's Follies focuses specifically on the interplay of memory and time, as characters face how the choices they have made have shaped their lives. This examination of self is conjured by returning and saying goodbye to a theater space where some of them used to perform. Like these characters, APAC will also say goodbye to our longtime performance space with this mainstage performance, so our production of Follies fittingly and poignantly explores how new beginnings can come from bittersweet farewells."

APAC will announce the location of their new performance space in Summer of 2018.

Follies runs from May 3 - 26, 2018 at the Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 30-44 Crescent St. (at 30th Road), Astoria, NY 11102. Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, and Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm.

Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students and senior citizens, in advance, and are now available online at Tickets are $20 for adults and $14 for students at the door, and may be purchased at the theater, one hour prior to each performance.

APAC's production of Follies is supported, in part, by a generous grant from the Marta Heflin Foundation.

Follies is presented through special arrangement with Musical Theatre International (MTI).

All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.


James Goldman (1927-1998) was born in Chicago and graduated from the University of Chicago; he did postgraduate work at Columbia University. He wrote numerous plays, including Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole (1961; co-written with his brother, William Goldman), They Might Be Giants (1961) and The Lion In Winter (1966). In addition to Follies (1971), he was the book-writer of A Family Affair (1962; co-author with William Goldman, music by John Kander), the television musical Evening Primrose (1967, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim) and Follies (1987, London - a reconception of the original piece). His screenplays include The Lion in Winter (1968 - Academy Award; British Screenwriters Award), They Might Be Giants (1970), Nicholas and Alexandra (1971), Robin and Marian (1976) and White Nights (1985, co-writer). Goldman's work for television included adaptations of Oliver Twist (1982), Anna Karenina (1985), Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna Anderson (1986). He was also the author of a novel, Waldorf.

Stephen Sondheim wrote the music and lyrics for Saturday Night (1954), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Anyone Can Whistle (1964), Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), The Frogs (1974 and 2004), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1991), Passion (1994), Bounce (2003), and Road Show (2008) as well as lyrics for West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959) and Do I Hear A Waltz? (1965) and additional lyrics for Candide (1973). Anthologies of his work include Side by Side by Sondheim (1976), Marry Me a Little (1981), You're Gonna Love Tomorrow (1983), Putting it Together (1993/99) and Sondheim on Sondheim (2010). He composed the scores of the films Stavisky (1974) and Reds (1981) and songs for Dick Tracy (1990) and the television production Evening Primrose (1966). His collected lyrics with attendant essays have been published in two volumes: Finishing the Hat (2010) and Look, I Made A Hat (2011). Sondheim is the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for Sunday in the Park With George, 13 Tony Awards (including a lifetime achievement award in 2008), 15 Drama Desk Awards, 8 Grammy Awards, an Oscar, the Kennedy Center Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2010 the Broadway theater formerly known as Henry Miller's Theatre was renamed in his honor.


Dev Bondarin celebrated her third anniversary as APAC's Artistic Director in November 2017. During her tenure, APAC has been nominated for 33 New York Innovative Theatre Awards and has won five, including Outstanding Production of a Musical for Raisin and Merrily We Roll Along, both of which she directed, and five AUDELCO nominations for Raisin. APAC credits: Raisin (Nominee, NYIT Award for Best Direction, Nominee, AUDELCO Award for Outstanding Director), Resident Alien (reading), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Astoria Stories, Merrily We Roll Along, and In The Bones. Other directing: Elevator Heart (NYU's New Studio), national tours of Junie B.'s Essential Survival Guide to School and Junie B. Jones (TheatreworksUSA), King Lear (American Bard), A Home Across The Ocean (MTWorks), Reefer Madness (Gallery Players), and Raised by Lesbians (FringeNYC). As Associate Artistic Director of Prospect Theater Company, she directs an annual musical theater lab which has premiered over 80 new short musicals. Member: Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Associate Member: SDC, League of Professional Theatre Women. MFA: Brooklyn College. BA: Brandeis University.


"Adventurous theater in Astoria," The New York Times says about the award-winning Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC), a not-for-profit organization founded in 2001. APAC's mission is to bring high-quality professional theater to Astoria, Queens, and to support local youth and senior citizens through community programs at schools, senior centers and our performance venue.

The critically-acclaimed organization provides quality mainstage musicals and plays to the diverse Western Queens community. To date, APAC has received 51 New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations and 11 wins (including four for Outstanding Musical Production for Rais