On Monday, March 20, we attended Astoria Performing Art Center’s “Homecoming” Annual Benefit party at the Paper Factory Hotel. The night’s events included a buffet dinner, open bar, songs by APAC performers, a raffle, and ended with DJ music and dancing. This season APAC is exploring the meaning of home, so with that theme, the night celebrated all who have considered APAC home over the years.
The energy was high throughout the entire event, and people seemed genuinely excited to be there supporting APAC. The upcoming spring show is Raisin, which is a musical adaptation of the Lorraine Hansberry play A Raisin in the Sun, so two of the performed songs—“Booze” and “Measure the Valleys”—were from that show. The other songs were “Home” from Gumbo, “Home” from Resident Alien, and “For Good” from Wicked. James Higgins, the Music Director at APAC, played accompanying piano.
We spoke with Executive Director Jessica Bathurst about the upcoming season and what makes APAC unique.
She said she’s excited about Raisin opening soon (weekends May 4-27, with tickets available now on the APAC website), and mentioned that it hasn’t been in New York City since it won the Tony for Best Musical in 1975. Right now APAC is towards the end of its season, as Raisin will be the second main stage performance after Evensong in the fall. APAC’s season starts in August with Summer Stars, which is a program for kids. Then there is the fall play, followed by development work in the winter, the spring play, and then Senior Stars in June, which is a revue performed by people over 60 years old.
She says one thing that makes APAC unique is that performers who are part of the community also sometimes take part in the programming that’s offered, and that is rare among performing arts groups.
She is proud that APAC is bringing high-quality professional contemporary theater to the Western Queens community, and is making tickets affordable, including discounts for students and seniors.
THEATER | Good Shepherd United Methodist Church | 30-44 Crescent Street @ 30th Rd. | Astoria NY 11102
APAC OFFICE | Kaufman Astoria Studios, 34-12 36th Street, Rm 1/232, MB 40 | Astoria, NY 11106 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org | p: (718) 706-5750
Photos by Michael Dekker courtesy of Astoria Performing Arts Center