What Local Production Features a Tony Award-nominated Designer, 80+ Characters, Nine Languages and Inspired Five Breweries to Collaborate on a Commemorative Beer?
The highly anticipated 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 on January 20 at The Armory. Special reprise performances of last year’s smash hit, Astoria: Part One, begin January 13 and three marathon days featuring both installments will be held February 11, 15 and 17.
Get a special sneak peek into the making of Astoria below.
Astoria: Part Two features a cast of 17 actors playing more than 80 characters, including sea captains, overland explorers, Native Americans and aristocrats, who speak a total of nine languages. Pictured above are members of the 2017 cast of Astoria: Part One.
The Astoria set, designed by Tony Cisek, was inspired in part by Fort Clatsop, a replica of the seven-room fort built by members of the Lewis and Clark Expedition after reaching the Pacific.
The set was custom built in Portland by 14 local artisans. It is comprised of 53 wooden pikes in sizes ranging from six to 23 feet in height. Each pike is created by layering single-sided cardboard onto pine frames and wrapped with cheesecloth to create texture and structural integrity. The pikes are then painted to create the final wooden look.
Master Carpenter Nick Foltz works on a pike point. The points are created using concentrically cut wooden circles that are stacked to form an apex on the end of the pike.
Tony Award-nominated Costume Designer Toni-Leslie James designed the elaborate 19th century period costumes for Astoria: Part One. The Armory’s costume shop manager, Alex Wren Meadows, designed the additional costumes that will be featured in Astoria: Part Two. The costume collection includes authentic Native American pieces made from real smoked deer and buffalo hide hand-sewn in North Dakota.
There are 68 hats, 30 period shirts and 16 boots used the production. Eleven period tailcoats were custom tailored and created from scratch by members of the costume shop at The Armory. The construction of a single tailcoat can take 60-80 hours to complete!
For the overland portion of the Astor Expedition, The Armory props team created 15 period backpacks filled with items that would have been carried on the journey.
Lead Props Artisan Rachel Peterson Schmerge tests holsters from stock to see if they fit the pistols purchased for the show. Prop firearms include a Kentucky Flintlock, Blunderbuss, 18th century French dueling pistols and rifles.
Did someone say beer?
And if the sets, costumes and props weren’t epic enough, Portland Center Stage at The Armory has teamed up with the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce and five breweries in Astoria to offer a limited edition commemorative beer. Here’s an official description of the brew:
Astor Expedition Ale is a limited edition commemorative beer created in celebration of Astoria: Part Two. The brew is a partnership of Astoria Brewing Company (host brewer), Fort George Brewery, Buoy Beer, Reach Break Brewing, and Hondo's Brew and Cork, all located in Astoria, Oregon. It features all Oregon grown and processed ingredients showcasing the state’s top maltsters and hop farmers. Astor Expedition Ale is an English Pale Ale, a style of beer that was popular during the time period highlighted in Astoria: Part Two (early 1800s). The brew will be available in Astoria at the five partner breweries following its debut at The Armory’s opening night celebration on January 26, while supplies last.
Enter to win a vacation to Astoria!
Want to take your own journey to Astoria? Portland Center Stage at The Armory is giving away a three-day, two-night vacation package in Astoria throughout the run of the production. Enter to win or plan your own trip to Astoria using inspiration from their play-inspired itinerary. The winner will be drawn on Wednesday, February 21, 2018.
Ticket and Performance Information
When: Astoria: Part One | January 13, 14, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Astoria: Part Two | January 20 – February 18, 2018
One-day marathons of Astoria: Part One and Astoria: Part Two*:
February 11 (2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.)
February 15 (Noon and 7:30 p.m.)
February 17 (2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.)
*Must purchase separate tickets for each production.
Where: On the U.S. Bank Main Stage at The Armory.
128 NW Eleventh Ave., Portland, Ore., 97209
More Info: www.pcs.org/astoria
To Purchase: Tickets start at $25 for all performances.
By Phone: 503.445.3700, 12–6 p.m.
In Person: The Armory box office is at 128 NW Eleventh Avenue
12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on performance days
12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on non-performance days
Groups: Discounts available for groups of 10+ by calling 503.445.3794.