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Vassar College and New York Stage and Film Present Powerhouse Theater


Chris Cooper To Star in Premier of New John Patrick Shanley Play, "Chain of Command"

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POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — The 21st Powerhouse Theatre Season has expanded its previously announced premier of CHAIN OF COMMAND, by 2005 Pulitzer and Tony winner John Patrick Shanley (DOUBT), into a July 29-31 workshop run to star Oscar winner Chris Cooper (ADAPTATION). Cooper has been cast as "Lieutenant Littlefield" in Shanley's new drama, about two military officers who clash over a defining and explosive incident. CHAIN OF COMMAND had been originally scheduled for a one-night only premier reading, and Shanley will stage this enhanced production.

One of the most respected character actors of our time, Chris Cooper was recognized in 2003 with an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of "John Laroche'" in Adaptation, written by Charlie Kauffman and directed by Spike Jonze. Cooper was most recently seen in John Sayle's feature film Silver City and the 2003 Academy Award nominated film Seabiscuit (which earned Cooper an individual Screen Actors Guild Nomination). In the same year, Cooper was nominated for an Emmy Award for his supporting performance in the HBO film My House in Umbria starring Maggie Smith. In 1999, Cooper received a Screen Actor's Guild Award for his supporting performance, alongside Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, in the Academy Award winning film, American Beauty. He had previously earned a Best Actor nomination in 1997 from the Independent Spirit Awards for his work in John Sayles' Lone Star. Nearly a decade earlier, Cooper made his feature film debut in Sayles' Matewan. Among his other film credits are Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Patriot, Me, Myself and Irene, Great Expectations, A Time to Kill, Money Train, This Boy's Life, Guilty by Suspicion and City of Hope. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Cooper attended the University of Missouri School of Drama and started his professional career on the New York stage. His theater credits include Of the Fields Lately on Broadway, The Ballad of Soapy Smith and A Different Moon. This fall, Cooper can be seen in strong supporting roles in the feature films, "Capote," "Syriana," and "Jarhead."

John Patrick Shanley is the recipient of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony, Drama Desk, and Obie Awards for his play DOUBT. Other full-length plays include Psychopathia Sexualis, Four Dogs and a Bone, The Big Funk, Beggars in the House of Plenty, Italian-American Reconciliation, Women of Manhattan, Savage in Limbo, The Dreamer Examines His Pillow, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, and Welcome to the Moon. For Moonstruck, Shanley won both an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and a Writers Guild Award, and his screenplay for Five Corners won a Special Jury Prize at the Barcelona Film Festival. He made his debut as a feature film director with his script Joe Versus the Volcano. He also wrote the screen adaptations of both Alive and Congo. This is his 8th Powerhouse Theatre season.

Tickets to CHAIN OF COMMAND are available online at http://powerhouse.vassar.edu or by calling (845) 437-5599. The play will be performed in the 135-seat Powerhouse Theater. Performances are Friday and Saturday, July 29 and 30 at 8pm, and Sunday, July 31 at 2pm and 7pm. All tickets are $35. Ticket holders for THE TALK, which was postponed, should call the box office to have their tickets honored for CHAIN OF COMMAND.

A highlight of the 2005 Powerhouse Season will be the presentation of 3 new original musicals in the Martel Theater. The Season will also encompass 5 workshops of plays with partial production values, allowing audiences an early look at developing scripts; 2 special presentations shown free to the public; and 2 festivals of developmental readings. Rounding out the season is a schedule of classic plays in repertory, in free outdoor performances by the Powerhouse apprentice company.

Each summer, through the Powerhouse Season, more than 200 professional writers, directors, performers and designers live and work together with some 50 apprentices in a unique artistic environment on Vassar's Hudson Valley campus. This year, the Powerhouse Season incorporates residencies by Epic Theater Center, Classical Theater of Harlem, The Riot Group and Naked Angels.

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, June 24, 2005