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Noted actress Frances Sternhagen, recipient of AAVC 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award, gives public reading on February 26, 2009.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY-Noted stage, screen, and television actress Frances Sternhagen, a member of the Vassar class of 1951, will give a public presentation at Vassar College on Thursday, February 26, at 5:30 pm in the Martel Theater of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film. Please note that reservations are filled, however we have established a waiting list for the free reading. Please email boxoffice@vassar.edu or call the box office at 845-437-5584 or 5599 to be added to this list. We will release any unclaimed seats to members of the waiting list beginning at 5:20pm on Thursday, February 26.
 
Sternhagen, a familiar presence on stage, television, and film, is most familiar to some audiences for her television roles as Bunny MacDougal (Trey's mother) in HBO's Sex and the City or Kyra Sedgwick's mother Willie Rae Johnson on The Closer (appearing with fellow Vassar alumnus Jon Tenney '84). However Sternhagen is also a familiar presence on stage, and has received two Tony Awards (nominated for five), two Obies, and two Drama Desks, and was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, and honored in 2007 with the Helen Hayes Tribute.
 
At Vassar Sternhagen will perform selections from Marta Góes's play A Safe Harbor for Elizabeth Bishop, bringing to life the great modern American poet and Vassar alumna Elizabeth Bishop (class of 1934) during her years in Brazil.  A question-and-answer session with Sternhagen will follow the reading. Vassar and New York Stage & Film's Powerhouse Theater, which will be celebrating its 25th season this summer, first presented A Safe Harbor in 2004.
 
"We are delighted that alumna Frances Sternhagen, our 2009 recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award, will be with us for a few days this semester to work and meet with students and faculty and present this reading," noted Patricia Duane Lichtenberg, executive director of the Alumnae and Alumni of Vassar College (AAVC) and Vassar class of 1990. "Through great symbiosis she has chosen to perform an original play first presented by Vassar and New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater, that is based upon another noted Vassar alumna, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop."
 
In addition to this reading, Sternhagen will meet with drama and film students and lead a master class.
 
ABOUT FRANCES STERNHAGEN
Noted stage, screen, and television actress Frances Sternhagen, a member of the Vassar class of 1951, made her Broadway debut in 1955 as Miss T. Muse in The Skin of Our Teeth, and has appeared in more than 400 plays including on Broadway: The Good Doctor (Tony), The Heiress (Tony), Equus, On Golden Pond (Drama League Medal), Seascape, Steel Magnolias, Morning's at Seven, The Foreigner, Grownups, Angel; Off-Broadway: Driving Miss Daisy, The Admirable Bashville (Obie and Clarence Derwent Award), The Pinter Plays (Obie), The Old Lady Shows Her Medals, Talking Heads, The Exact Center of the Universe, and Long Day's Journey Into Night.
 
In 1967 Sternhagen made her film debut in Up the Down Staircase, and was featured in The Mist, Raising Cain, Doc Hollywood, Misery, Outland, Starting Over, and Hospital. In addition to her recurring television roles on Sex and the City and The Closer, Sternhagen has also appeared as Cliff's mom on Cheers, Millicent Carter on ER, as well as Law & Order, Tales from the Crypt, among others.
 
Sternhagen, who with her late husband John Carlin raised a family of six, has visited and performed readings at Vassar many times. Sternhagen was also the recipient of the President's Distinguished Visitor Award, presented by Vassar in November 2000.
 
ABOUT THE PLAY: A SAFE HARBOR FOR ELIZABETH BISHOP
A Safe Harbor for Elizabeth Bishop recounts Bishop's 20-year South American sojourn in Brazil, where Bishop bears witness to the enormous upheaval and reform in the country, while at the same time personally experiencing passion, idealism, love and loss. Safe Harbor made its debut performance during the 20th anniversary season of Vassar and New York Stage & Film's Powerhouse Theater in 2004. This summer Powerhouse Theater will be celebrating its 25th anniversary season, a silver celebration, June 26 - August 2.

ABOUT PLAYWRIGTH MARTA GÓES
Góes has written plays including Prepare Your Feet for Summer, The Girl Who Said That, and an adaptation of an Open Theatre’s group play, Tourists and Refugees. Her books include Um Porto para Elizabeth Bishop (Ed. Terceiro Nome ) and The Girl Who Fell in Love (Ed. Companhia das Letrinhas). She has translated The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, Donald Margulies’s Dinner With Friends, and the book, Terrorism in the Name of God by Jessica Stern.

ABOUT THE AAVC AWARD FOR DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT
The Distinguished Achievement Award is presented annually to an alumna or alumnus who has reached the highest level in her or his field, including the professions, science, the arts, and public affairs. While demonstrating exceptional talent, application, creativity, and skill within a certain career, this individual must at the same time exemplify the ideals of a liberal arts education and have used her or his position of visibility, power, or leadership to better the human community and serve the wider goals of society.
 
The AAVC Awards Program was started in 2001 to recognize alumnae/i who have contributed much to the vitality and success of Vassar and AAVC over many years and have inspired generations of Vassar alumnae/i. Past recipients include: Laurie Schwab Zabin '46 (2008), Vera Rubin '48 (2007), Katharine Lee Reid '63 (2006), Jamshed J. Bharucha '78 (2005), Ellen May Galinsky '64 (2004), Dr. June Jackson Christmas '45-4 (2003), Judge Pauline Newman '47 (2002).
 
RESERVATION INFORMATION
*WAITING LIST ONLY*
Please note that reservations are filled, however we have established a waiting list for the free reading. Please email boxoffice@vassar.edu or call the box office at 845-437-5584 or 5599 to be added to this list. We will release any unclaimed seats to members of the waiting list beginning at 5:20pm on Thursday, February 26.

Reservations for general seating are required for this event, however admission is free. Please check in at the box office 20 minutes prior to show time. If you have special needs, requests should be made in advance and at the time of your reservation or your request may not be able to accommodated. For additional information, group seating, and reservations, call the box office at 845-437-5584 or 5599.
 
People with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.
 
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Monday, January 26, 2009