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Directed by Freddie Ashley
Musical Direction by Ann-Carol Pence
Choreography by Ricardo Aponte

Just one year ago, Aurora was the first regional theatre in America to produce the post-Broadway production of A Catered Affair, a performance that won high praise from its creators the legendary Harvey Fierstein and composer John Bucchino. Now Aurora Theatre is set to stage the amazing new pop chamber musical Academy, by John Mercurio, conceived and created by Andrew Kato opening March 17, 2011. The tensions at St. Edward’s Academy heat up as a short-sighted bet between two upperclassmen fails. Seniors Michael Fletcher and Amory DuPres manipulate a naive freshman, which results in catastrophic consequences for all involved. Inspired by Goethe’s Faust, this New York Musical Theatre Festival award-winning show took top honors at the Daegu International Musical Festival in South Korea in July of 2010.


The cast of ACADEMY did a great job performing a musical number on Atlanta & Company: Watch the Video

Anatomy of Academy

Academy offers a lesson in how much time and work goes into making a new musical. If you were to go back 10 years, Andrew Kato had the idea to set a musical in a prep school. He collaborated with John Mercurio, who wrote the book and the score. Over the last 10 years, Academy received many readings. Then undiscovered talents, Hunter Foster (Urinetown, Million Dollar Quartet), Chris Diamantopoulos (24, The Full Monty) and Steven Pasquale (reasons to be pretty) are now are luminaries on the Great White Way.

Kato and Mercurio further refined Academy and the show was selected from more than 300 works to be one of just a dozen presented at the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) in October 2009. Often called the Sundance of musical theatre, this festival launched recent Tony Award winners like Next to Normaland [title of show]. It was while attending this festival that Academy caught the eye of Aurora Theatre’s Anthony Rodriguez and Ann-Carol Pence.

At NYMF, the buzz for Academy grew, and the show sold out, forcing organizers to add two shows. The New York Times wrote, “It has a cast of handsome, personable young men; poignant, funny lyrics; and a plot that addresses morality and character when a bet between two older boys over which one can influence a classmate more has devastating consequences. All this show needs for the big time is a set and a larger theater.” At the NYMF Awards, Academy won for Excellence in Writing and for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. Later that year, Academy took top honors at the Daegu International Musical Festival Production Award in South Korea.

Academy received its world premiere in December 2010 at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, the company instrumental in the show’s development. The Aurora production is proud to provide the next chapter of this story of perseverance.

Producer Quote

Associate Producer and Resident Music Director, Ann-Carol Pence explains why Academy is such an important show for Aurora Theatre, “It is my dream for Aurora to discover or create a Tony award-winning musical. By producing Academy we are taking a big step in being the kind of theatre to fulfill that dream.”

Show Sponsor



Bryan Lee Benji DuPres
Jeremy Wood Michael Fletcher
Lowrey Brown Amory DuPres
Nick Arapoglou Pete Neville
Mike Morin Theodore Gert
Greg Bosworth Conrad Lansky
Jacob York Regan O’Reilly

Publicity Photos by R. Todd Fleeman