QUEEN Comes To Astoria Performing Arts Center! 2019 Cast & Crew Announcement

Award-winning and critically-acclaimed Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC - Jesse Marchese, Executive Director; Dev Bondarin, Artistic Director) kicks off its 18th mainstage season with the New York premiere of Queen by Madhuri Shekar, directed by J. Mehr Kaur. Queen runs from January 31 to February 16, 2019 at the Black Box at the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens, 21-12 30th Road (Entrance on 21st Street), Astoria, NY 11102.

Queen tells the story of two female scientists, Sanam and Ariel, who have spent the past seven years researching vanishing bee populations across the globe. Just as they are about to publish a career-defining paper, Sanam stumbles upon an error which could cause catastrophic damage to their reputations, careers, and friendship. Now, both women are confronted with an impossible choice: look the other way and save the bees - or tell the truth and face the consequences?

The cast of Queen will feature Ezra Barnes* (Breakfast With Mugabe), Kabir Chopra (Romeo & Juliet - Hypokrit Theatre Company), Rachel Rhodes-Devey* (The Most Happy Fella - City Center Encores!) and Mahima Saigal (Mary V - NY Fringe Festival). *Equity member appearing with permission of Actors' Equity Association without benefit of an Equity contract in this Off-Off Broadway production. Equity approved Showcase.

The Queen creative team includes: Susannah Hyde (Scenic Design), Caitlin Cisek (Costume Design), Shelby Loera (Lighting Design), Margaret Montagna (Sound Design), Rachel Langley (Props Design), Elliott Karliner (Production Stage Manager), and Jessi Blue Gormezano (Casting Director).

Queen began its journey in the Center Theatre Group Writers' Workshop and received its World Premiere at the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago after being developed in their 2015 Ignition Festival. The Victory Gardens production was nominated for a 2017 Jeff Award for Best New Play. Included on the 2017 Kilroy's List, an annual industry survey of excellent un- and underproduced new plays by female and trans playwrights, Queen has had subsequent productions in Seattle and the Bay Area. APAC's production will be the play's New York premiere.

Queen runs from January 31 to February 16, 2019 at the Black Box at the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens, 21-12 30th Road (Entrance on 21st Street), Astoria, NY 11102. Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, and Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students and senior citizens, and are now available online at www.apacny.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the theater, beginning one hour prior to each performance.

APAC's production of Queen is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; as well as the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Costa Constantinides.

Madhuri Shekar was born in California and grew up in India. Her plays include House of Joy (South Coast Rep's Pacific Playwrights Festival, upcoming world premiere at California Shakespeare Theater), Queen (world premiere at Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago, Jeff Award nomination for Best New Play), In Love and Warcraft (winner of the Alliance Theater's Kendeda Graduate Playwriting contest and published by Samuel French), A Nice Indian Boy (East West Players), and Bucket of Blessings (winner of the Suzi Bass Award for Outstanding Original Work). Madhuri is a recipient of Audible's new commissioning program and has been commissioned by South Coast Rep, Victory Gardens, and the Alliance Theater. She holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC, a dual Masters in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and USC, and recently graduated from the Playwriting program at Juilliard. She is a member of the Ma-Yi writers' lab and a co-creator of the Shakespearean web series, Titus and Dronicus.


J. Mehr Kaur is a director, producer and curator of live and multimedia performance. Her work has been seen in New York at The Wild Project, Dixon Place, La Mama and Ars Nova, and internationally across the U.S., UK, Canada, India, and Malaysia. Mehr was a member of the Fresh Ground Pepper's New Producer's Lab in which she curated two evening-length works of performance collage. She has assisted directors Kimberly Senior (The Niceties, Huntington Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club), James Macdonald (Williamstown Theatre Festival) and Oliver Butler (Juilliard) among others. Mehr is a graduate of Smith College and has been featured as a speaker at the Surat Sikh Conference and the Pluralism Project at Harvard Divinity School. She is a member of the Williamstown Theatre Festival Directing Corps, a Directing Fellow at Manhattan Theatre Club and a recipient of The Samuel A. Eliot, Jr./Julia Heflin Award for Distinguished Directing, the Bernhardt Brueger Prize and a Fulbright-Nehru Directing Grant.

"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 yet affordable professional theater to Astoria, Queens, and to support local youth and senior citizens through free community arts programs.

The critically-acclaimed organization provides quality mainstage musicals and plays to the diverse Western Queens community. To date, APAC has received 61 New York Innovative Theatre Award nominations and 15 wins (including four for Outstanding Musical Production for Raisin, Merrily We Roll Along, Allegro, and Children of Eden), 5 AUDELCO Award nominations, and an Off-Off Broadway Theatre Review Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical (Is There Life After High School?). APAC was also the recipient of the 2012 Caffe Cino Fellowship Award. www.apacny.org.

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