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Vassar College and New York Stage and Film Present Powerhouse Theater


Tanya Barfield's drama "Blue Door," inside an African-American family's struggles after the Civil War, will premiere July 6-9 at the 21st Powerhouse Theatre Season

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POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — The ghosts of one family's past come alive to reveal a history of heartbreak and pain in post-Civil War America in Tanya Barfield's new play Blue Door, starring Reg E. Cathey and Larry Gilliard, Jr. A production of Vassar College and New York Stage & Film's 21st Powerhouse Theatre Season, Blue Door will premiere in the Powerhouse Theatre July 6-9.

Actor Reg E. Cathey is "Lewis," a man haunted by his family's past as he struggles with the emotional issues of history, love, and race. Cathey starred in numerous television and film productions, including the award-winning HBO film Everyday People, winning a 2005 Black Reel Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of "Akbar." On Broadway, Cathey played "Brighella" in The Green Bird (winner of two Tony Award nominations) at the Cort Theatre. His film credits also include the award-winning HBO drama Boycott, S.W.A.T., Se7en, and Clear and Present Danger, among many others. Television credits include major roles on HBO's Oz and The Corner, NBC's E.R. and FOX's The Jury.

Larry Gilliard, Jr. will join Cathey to portray the multiple roles of Lewis' haunting ancestors: "Simon," "Rex," "Jesse," and "Charles." Gilliard and Cathey were seen on screen together in the award-winning sci-fi film The Machinist (with Christian Bale). Gilliard has an extensive background in film and television, with film credits including the award-winning Harlem Renaissance drama Brother to Brother, Gangs of New York,Trigger Happy, and Simply Irresistable, and television credits including The Wire, CSI: NY, The Jury, and Homicide.

Tanya Barfield won the 2003 Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, and she has twice been a finalist for the Princess Grace Award. Her plays include Dent, The Quick (presented in a Readings Festival at the Powerhouse in 2003), The Houdini Act, 121�? West, Pecan Tan (performed at The Kitchen, African Continuum Theatre). Venues for Barfield's workshops and presentations include the Vineyard Theatre, the Royal Court Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, Actor's Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival, Arena Stage, Seattle Repertory, and Hartford Stage. She wrote the book for the Theatreworks/USA musical, Civil War: The First Black Regiment and served as dramaturg on the Broadway-bound musical, The Color Purple, at the Alliance Theater. She will continue to workshop Blue Door this summer at the Sundance Theater Lab.

Five performances of Blue Door will be presented from July 6-9 at the Powerhouse Theatre, with shows July 6-9 at 8:00 p.m. with a matinee on Saturday, June 9 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and may be purchased online at http://powerhouse.vassar.edu, by phone at (845) 437-5599 or (845) 437-7235, or by visiting the Powerhouse box office on Vassar's Poughkeepsie, New York campus.

Since 1985, Vassar and New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Season has premiered numerous new works destined for on- and off-Broadway production, and made Poughkeepsie a theater destination for thousands of theatre lovers. Powerhouse has also trained an entire generation of young artists through its annual summer apprentice training program, which produces an outdoor repertory series on the Vassar campus. More than 200 professional playwrights, directors, actors, and designers, and more than 50 apprentices from high schools and colleges across the United States, live and work together each summer in a rich collaborative environment on the Vassar campus.

Further information on the Vassar and New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Season can be found at http://powerhouse.vassar.edu.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Sunday, June 26, 2005