APAC (Astoria Performing Arts Center) has an excellent reputation and many awards, as well it should. Even with limited resources, APAC provides top-notch productions again and again. (See my review of Merrily We Roll Again here.)
How do they do it? I think a big part of the answer has to be Artistic Director Dev Bondarin.
Nailing "The Mirror Number":
Andrea McCullough, Victoria Bundonis,
Tina Stafford, LaDonna Burns,
Marcie Henderson, Denise DeMars,
Photo: Michael Dekker
In this production, as the other shows she has directed, Bondarin honors and trusts the work. This Follies has plenty of flaws, as might be expected with an Off-Off-Broadway group choosing such an ambitious project, but that's okay: the important thing is that Bondarin has nailed the show's true Follies-ness. She is a smart director who eagerly serves the work, and this production is full of her smart decisions. The result is more excellent theatre than we the audience have any right to expect for a ticket price of $18! ($12 if you're a student or senior.)
So, yes, this isn't a star-studded production. The production values could be higher. Some performers aren't quite up to the task (though many others are quite good). But this Follies sings, it dances, it feels. It's Follies. If those two words have any meaning to you, make sure to catch this show. Tickets are available here. You'll rarely in your life get such value for your money.
(press ticket, 5th row)
Show-Score Score: 90
Cast: Denali Bennett, Victoria Bundonis, LaDonna Burns, Denise DeMars, Tia DeShazor, Susan Cohen DeStefano, Christine Donnelly, Andrea Dotto, Dan Entriken, Jonathan Fluck, Spencer Hansen, James Harter, Marcie Henderson, Greg Horton, Kathleen LaMagna, Andrea McCullough, Sharaé Moultrie, Ben Northrup, Rusty Riegelman, Bruce Sabath, Carolyn Seiff, Cliff Sellers, Lauren Alice Smith, Tina Stafford, Noah M. Virgile, Mandarin Wu.
Production Staff: Director: Dev Bondarin; Musical Director: James Higgins; Choreographer: Sara Brians; Set Design: Ann Beyersdorfer; Costume Design: Jennifer Jacob; Lighting Design: Annie Wiegand; Sound Design: Caroline Eng; Prop Design: Andrew Short; Production Manager: Annie Jacobs; Production Stage Manager: Jessica McIlquham; Assistant Stage Manager: Robert Peatman.