The Human Comedy

Music by Galt MacDermot (the composer of HAIR)
Libretto by William Dumaresq
From the Story by William Saroyan

…wonderfully staged musical by the Astoria Performing Arts Center. The production, with 25 actors and 6 musicians, is an ambitious undertaking, met with an impressive level of skill…- Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

2011 NY IT AWARDS NOMINATION:
Outstanding Production of a Musical

The Human Comedy at Astoria Performing Arts Center

May 5 – 28, 2011

EQUITY APPROVED SHOWCASE

This coming-of-age tale focuses on young Homer Macauley, a telegram messenger who is exposed to the sorrows and joys experienced by his family and the residents of his small California town during World War II. Homer’s mother Kate is struggling to support her children following the death of her husband, his older brother Marcus is in the Army, his teenaged sister Bess daydreams about romance, and his younger brother Ulysses divides his attention between the passing trains and an unrequited desire to know why his father had to die. An ode to “home,” The Human Comedy is one of the most fun and moving musicals you’ve never heard of.


This program is supported in part by public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, as well as NYSCA through the Queens Community Arts Fund, a regrant program of Queens Council on the Arts. Special thanks to Council Member Peter Vallone Jr.

Photos

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Inside The Human Comedy Videos

Part 1:

Inside APAC’s The Human Comedy, Part 2

Inside APAC’s The Human Comedy, Part 3

Press

Galt trip: MacDermot’s masterful Human Comedy gets revived in Queens - Time Out NY

Cast Announced for Astoria Production of Galt MacDermot’s The Human Comedy - Playbill

Victoria Bundonis, Jonathan Gregg, Aaron J. Libby, et al. Set for APAC’s The Human Comedy - TheaterMania

Astoria Performing Arts Center Presents Galt MacDermot’s THE HUMAN COMEDY – Broadway World

Reviews

…a severely dated yet wonderfully staged musical by the Astoria Performing Arts Center. The production, with 25 actors and 6 musicians, is an ambitious undertaking, met with an impressive level of skill…The large cast is consistently inspired…cleverly directed by Tom Wojtunik. Michael P. Kramer’s set and Hunter Kaczorowski’s costumes are exceptional…it should encourage theatergoers to keep an eye on this plucky and talented troupe.” – World War II and Coconut Cream Pie - Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

Tom Wojtunik’s splendid production is notable not just for its impressive scale and dynamic staging—when the cast of 26 is not seated onstage, singing in Greek chorus, it is often milling up and down the aisles of the theater—but also for its unblinking embrace of The Human Comedy’s sentimental Americana.” – 4 Stars! Review: The Human Comedy – Adam Feldman, Time Out NY

With a cast of twenty five excellent actors and a terrific creative team director Tom Wojtunik has accomplished the impossible…Dusting off a not very successful musical whose themes resonate with us today about war, family and home and giving it an exceptional production where many actors are beautifully showcased. One such highlight is the touching and beautiful duet between Homer and Marcus – “Dear Brother Homer” which alone makes The Human Comedy worth seeing.” - The Human Comedy: Musical Revived at Astoria Performing Arts Center – Oscar E. Moore, Talk Entertainment

“APAC’s charming production shows a work that does not deserve the obscurity to which it’s been relegated…Tom Wojtunik’s direction is lively, clean, and heartfelt…Jeffrey Campos’s excellent musical direction deserves mention, especially for the fine choral work…The ensemble is rock solid and in some cases (Jonathan Gregg’s telegraph manager, Rayna Hickman’s lovelorn rich girl, D. William Hughes’s Tobey) exceptional. And Michael P. Kramer’s set design is just terrific…”David Johnston, The Human Comedy nytheatre.com

Astoria Performing Arts Center’s production of The Human Comedy is likely the best imaginable possible production of the musical…Director Tom Wojtunik has done a great job staging the show with nods to the simplicity and presentational style of Our Town, with most of the cast sitting on wooden chairs facing the audience and watching the story when not actually engaged in action, all forming a chorus of the community as a whole. He also stages several complicated traveling scenes as Homer delivers telegrams on his bicycle…Costumes by Hunter Kaczorowski are wonderful, and the 6-piece band led by Musical Director Jeffrey Campos rocks out. This is a well-done production of a troubled show; if you’re a fan of the music or of theatre history, you might not get a chance to see this deeply weird piece staged again.“ - Duncan Pflaster, BroadwayWorld.com

For musical revivals about families—whether creating them or merely surviving them—there’s getting to be no better place than the Astoria Performing Arts Center each spring. Two years ago, the company did a respectable Ragtime; last year’s Children of Eden was even better. But this year’s show is the warmest and most fascinating of the three, a heartfelt and fascinating deconstruction of the American family facing its own destruction: The Human Comedy.” – Matthew Murray, Broadway Stars

Set designer Michael P. Kramer worked his usual magic, transforming the stage into the mythical town of Ithaca, California, circa 1943…overall, the excellence that is the hallmark of all APAC productions is infused throughout The Human Comedy, and for this I applaud Wojtunik. From the gorgeous, period-perfect costumes designed by Hunter Kaczorowski to the subtle and effective lighting by Dan Jobbins, the show is delightful on so many levels. The cast of singers and actors are top notch, especially Aaron J. Libby as Homer Macauley, Rachel Rhodes-Devey as Mary Arena, Jonathan Gregg as Thomas Spangler, Rayna Hickman as Diana Steed, and Marcie Henderson as Beautiful Music.” – Georgina Young-Elis, The Queens Gazette

Director Tom Wojtunik and musical director Jeffrey Campos have wisely emphasized the Greek chorus of townspeople and their harmonies, so that even while the songs bore, they at least sound gorgeous…And, aided by a strong cast, they manage moments of heartbreaking beauty in a show that’s mostly short on them. Chief among those moments are the scenes between lovers Spangler (Jonathan Gregg, lending the show gravitas) and the flirty, wealthy Diana (Rayna Hickman), who gets the show’s best comedy number, “I’ve Known a Lot of Guys,” and, especially, the songs delivered by Rachel Rhodes-Devey as the left-behind love of Homer’s brother. Blessed with a dark, evocative voice, Rhodes-Devey is an actress poised for more work; her songs are consistently the highlights of the show.” - Mark Peikert, New York Press

Michael P. Kramer’s wooden-beam set provides the contours of the many settings the musical requires, while also providing an open central area where the ensemble sits throughout, enabling their frequent contributions to the numbers and emphasizing the fact that, in a small town, everyone is in everybody else’s business. Wojtunik has deftly guided the 25 players, who bustle around animatedly in front of a quilted service flag, a sobering reminder of the war that serves as the backdrop for this otherwise quotidian snapshot.“ - Nicole Villeneuve, Back Stage

Under the skillful direction of Tom Wojtunik, the small but sprawling set, which includes a multilevel center stage, is used to maximum advantage, with the action spilling out the theater aisles.” – Iris Greenberger, Show Business Weekly

Blog Posts

A Sentimental Love Letter to the Idea of Home (Director Tom Wojtunik)

It Feels Like Home (Musical Director Jeffrey Campos and Choreographer/Associate Director Christine O’Grady)

More Than a Backdrop (Resident Scenic Designer Michael P. Kramer)

Dressing The Human Comedy with Costumes and Props (Costume Designer Hunter S. Kaczorowski and Prop Designer Ashlee Springer)

Cast and Production Staff

Cast

Amie Bermowitz*, Nathan Brisby, Victoria Bundonis*, Chris Causer, Philip Deyesso*, Jonathan Gregg*, Tauren Hagans, Deidre Haren*, Marcie Henderson*, Rayna Hickman*, D. William Hughes*, Michael Lee Jones, Aaron J. Libby*, Andrew Leggieri, Jean Liuzzi*, Douglas Lyons*, Alyssa Malgeri*, Nicole Mangi*, Jennifer Margulis, Matthew S. Morgan*, Allyson Pace, Jan-Peter Pedross*, Anthony Pierini*, Rachel Rhodes-Devey, Tim Shelton*, Stephen Trafton*, Richard Vernon*

Band

Matthew Feick, Paul Hemmings, Dennis Michael Keefe, Ben Solis, Arlo Thompson

Production Staff

Director: Tom Wojtunik
Musical Direction: Jeffrey Campos
Choreographer/Associate Director: Christine O'Grady
Set Design: Michael P. Kramer
Costume Design: Hunter Kaczorowski
Lighting Design: Dan Jobbins
Sound Design: David A. Thomas
Prop Design: Ashlee Springer
Casting: wojcik|seay casting
Press Agent: Katie Rosin/Kampfire PR
Dramaturg: Sarah Anne Simmons
Assistant Director: Mark Falconer
Assistant Choreographer: Jennifer DiDonato
Production Manager: Annie Jacobs
Technical Director: Rudy Guerrero
Production Stage Manager: Olivia O'Brien*
Assistant Stage Managers: Jenny Herdman Lando & Estie Sarvasy
Spotlight Operators Josh Ellis & Sean Romano
Wardrobe Supervisor: Viviani Vilas-Boas
*These Actors are appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.

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