'Astoria' The saga continues
For The Review, Tidings
The world premiere of "Astoria: Part Two" — the conclusion of a two-part stage adaptation of Peter Stark's best-selling book "Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire; A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival" adapted and directed by Chris Coleman — begins preview performances at The Armory Jan. 20, opens Jan. 26 and closes Feb. 18.
Three opportunities will be offered to see both "Astoria: Part One" and "Astoria: Part Two" productions as a one-day marathon, on Feb. 11, 15 and 17.
"Every once in a blue moon you run across a story that catches your imagination and won't let go," said Chris Coleman. "'Astoria' was that for me: riveting, shocking, surprising, transforming. I became obsessed with it, and knew that we had to find a way to do it. The will to survive against impossible odds is a major thread in the story, as is the question of what makes a worthy leader. The current economic landscape of the American theater presses us to produce smaller work, so it's a thrill to have found the support to bring a work of this scope and moment to Portland."
At a time when the edge of American settlement barely reached beyond the Appalachian Mountains, two visionaries — President Thomas Jefferson and millionaire John Jacob Astor — foresaw that one day the Pacific would dominate world trade as much as the Atlantic did in their day. Just two years after the Lewis & Clark Expedition concluded in 1806, Jefferson and Astor turned their sights westward once again. Thus began one of history's most dramatic but largely forgotten turning points in the conquest of the North American continent.
"Astoria: Part One" is about the journeys by land and sea to reach present-day Astoria; "Astoria: Part Two" details the extraordinary endeavors that followed to establish the first permanent U.S. settlement on the West Coast. The premiere of "Astoria: Part One" last season broke box office records as the highest-selling world premiere in the company's history.
Returning after "Astoria: Part One" are Jeremy Aggers, F. Tyler Burnet, Nick Ferrucci, Michael Morrow Hammack, Christopher Hirsh, Gavin Hoffman, Chris Murray, Ben Newman, Leif Norby, Ben Rosenblatt , DeLanna Studi and Benjamin Tissel. New to the company are Douglas Dickerman, Jimmy Garcia, Anthony Lam, Michael Evans Lopez and Rafael Untalan.
The creative team
The design team from "Astoria: Part One" returns — scenic designs by Tony Cisek, costume designs by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Diane Ferry Williams and sound design Matthew Nielson — with the addition of Alex Wren Meadows, who will design the new costumes for "Astoria: Part Two." Completing the creative team are Mary McDonald-Lewis (dialect coach); Rick Lewis (music director/vocal arranger); Randall Robert Tico (composer); Brandon Woolley (assistant director); John Armour (fight director); Christopher Hirsch (movement director); Benjamin Fainstein (production dramaturg); Barbara Hort, Ph.D. (consulting dramaturg); DeLanna Studi (cultural consultant); Mark Tynan (stage manager); Kristen Mun (assistant stage manager); and Will Bailey and Katie Nguyen (production assistants).
Learn more online at pcs.org.