An exciting summer season of theater from some of the country's best playwrights, directors, and actors opens Friday, June 22, at Vassar College when the Vassar/New York Stage and Film collaboration begins its 17th annual Powerhouse summer theater season.
The season opens with the annual New Play Readings Festival, a weekend of readings, from Friday, June 22, through Sunday, June 24. This year's selections are Larry Atlas's "Permanent," Will Eno's "King," and Patricia Wettig's "Headlong."
"Nightfall," written by Australian playwright Joanna Murray-Smith and directed by Max Mayer, opens on the Powerhouse mainstage on Wednesday, June 27, and runs through Saturday, July 7. Murray-Smith's "Honour" was read at the Powerhouse, went on to Broadway, and won the 1996 Victorian Premier's Literary Award. In "Nightfall," a stranger leads two desperate suburban parents through a searing reexamination of their daughter's disappearance.
The season continues with "Hurdy Gurdy Man," written by Dick Beebe and directed by Sheryl Kaller. Beebe is an award-winning writer, producer and educator who has worked extensively in film, television, and theater. "Hurdy Gurdy Man" was a hit last summer as a special presentation at the Powerhouse and returns this summer as a full production. Beebe's raw drama provides an electric evening of love, friendship and betrayal in Boston's working-class underworld.
Award-winning actor and comedian Alan King will star in Marsha Lebby and John Lollos's "Mr. Goldwyn," directed by Gene Saks. "Mr. Goldwyn" opens on Wednesday, July 25, and runs through Saturday, August 4. King's one-man tour de force will bring to life one of the legendary men who created the movie business and built Hollywood.
The Susan Stein Shiva Theater will house special presentations of David Henry Hwang's "Largo," Jane Shepard's "Strange Grace," Tom Donaghy's "Boys and Girls," and Jessica Goldberg's "Good Thing."
On the Vassar lawn for three weekends in July, Powerhouse will offer free outdoor repertory performances of "Life Is a Dream," directed by Dennis Reid, "The Belle's Stratagem," directed by Davis McCallum, and "The Taming of the Shrew," directed by Jennifer Luckraft.
Since its founding in 1985, the Powerhouse summer theater program at Vassar College has fostered emerging artists, produced new works by some of the nation's most innovative young playwrights, and trained aspiring actors, directors, and designers for theater careers. This is Vassar's 17th year of collaboration with New York Stage and Film Company and promises to be a remarkable season, according to Beth Fargis-Lancaster, executive producer.
The 2001 summer season follows on the heels of the continuing success of the Powerhouse's 2000 offerings. Eve Ensler's "Necessary Targets" is going to the Alley Theater and then Hartford Stage before opening in New York. Arnold Lobel's "Frog and Toad" will go to the Minneapolis Children's Theater, and "The BETTY Play," featuring the five-piece women's rock band BETTY, is headed to the Magic Theater in San Francisco for an extended run.
The 1999-2000 New York theater season included six shows that premiered at the Powerhouse. Lee Blessing's "Chesapeake," Beth Henley's "Family Week," Mark Wolf's "Another American: Asking and Telling," Erin Cressida Wilson's "Hurricane," David Marshall Grant's "Current Events," and the hip-hop sensation "The Bomb-itty of Errors" all made it to New York stages. Erin Cressida Wilson's "The Trail of Her Inner Thigh" just finished an Off-Broadway run at the Labyrinth Theater Company where it was directed by John Gould Rubin. "Servicemen" just completed a run at the New Group, and "Once Around the City" has begun rehearsals at Second Stage Theater, directed by Powerhouse co-producer Mark Linn-Baker.
Single ticket prices for mainstage productions are $25. Susan Stein Shiva Theater Special Presentations are $15, and Reading Series passes are $10. Repertory performances are free of charge. Season tickets are also available. For more information call the box office (opening on Friday, June 1) at (845) 437-7235 or 5599 or, for a taped message on show times, call the Special Info Line at (845) 437-7645 or visit the web site at http://powerhouse.vassar.edu/.