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'Blue-Sky Boys' at Cap Rep celebrates science, creativity

'Blue-Sky Boys' at Cap Rep celebrates science, creativity

The play was inspired by the women of Lockerbie, Scotland, who collected clothes from the bombing vi
'Blue-Sky Boys' at Cap Rep celebrates science, creativity
Shayne David, Andrew Mueller and Etai Benson star as early NASA engineers in Deborah Brevoort's comedy 'The Blue-Sky Boys,' opening Friday at Capital Repertory Theatre.

Deborah Brevoort always knew she wanted to be a writer. What she didn’t know exactly was what kind.

“When I was a teenager I thought I’d be a poet or something like that,” said Brevoort, whose new play, “The Blue-Sky Boys,” is being produced by Capital Repertory Theatre this month.

“Then I got involved with a theater company where I did everything. I was acting, producing, directing, raising money. Then I wrote a play and I realized that’s what I really wanted to be. A playwright.”

‘The Blue-Sky Boys’

WHERE: Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl, Albany

WHEN: Previews Friday through Sunday, opens Tuesday and runs through April 3; performance times vary

HOW MUCH: $50-$20

MORE INFO: 445-7469, www.capitalrep.org

She has became exactly that and a very successful one as well. An Ohio native who moved to Alaska as a young adult, Brevoort won a few writing grants and had a couple of plays produced before hitting it big with “The Women of Lockerbie” in 2003.

The play was inspired by the women of Lockerbie, Scotland, who collected clothes from the bombing victims of Pan Am 103 in December of 1988, washed them and returned them to the families. There were 243 passengers and 16 crew killed in the tragedy.

Triumphant experience

“The Blue-Sky Boys” is about a much more triumphant American experience: the Apollo project and man’s race to the moon, and how it provided a nexus for science and creativity.

“The beauty of the moon mission is that there is not this one hero, this one engineer who against all odds makes this heroic journey to the moon,” said Brevoort.

“It was the greatest undertaking in human history, and there were no heroes or stars. It was a group process, and there were a half a million people who worked on it. It was a great collaboration. There was no individual hero.”

What was part of the process, however, were comic book heroes.

“The play is about the engineers, not the astronauts,” she said. “It’s about science and math, and great technical achievement, but it’s also about creativity, and being inspired by crazy sources, like Buck Rogers and other comic book heroes. The play is about how these engineers used their imagination to get us to the moon.”

New York City-based director Gordon Greenberg is in charge of the Capital Rep production.

“What Deborah has done is genius,” he said. “I love what’s at the heart of this piece; the necessity of art in science. If we as human beings are going to make advances, we can’t rely on fact alone. We have to depend on whimsy, too.”

Members of the cast

Andrew Mueller, Shayne David and Etai Benson play three of NASA’s top engineers, and Joseph Kolinski is presidential adviser Howard Haggerty. Michael Goldstein, Orville Mendoza and Tom Templeton are also in the cast and play multiple characters.

Templeton, from Clifton Park, and David, a Siena grad, are the only Capital Region members of the cast.

The play got rave reviews when it opened at the Barter Theatre Company in Abingdon, Virginia late last year.

“I am continuing to tweak and polish the story,” said Brevoort, who lives in the New York City area. “We got a great response in Virginia, but I changed a few things since then, and I rewrote a whole section based on the work that Gordon Greenberg and the cast here in Albany have done. I love working with Gordon. For me it’s a match made in heaven.”

Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or [email protected]

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