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Vassar College and New York Stage and Film Present Powerhouse Theater


New York Stage and Film & Vassar College announce 2011 Powerhouse Theater season, June 24 - July 31, 2011.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—New York Stage and Film (Johanna Pfaelzer, Artistic Director; Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer, Leslie Urdang, Producing Directors) and Vassar College (Ed Cheetham, Producing Director) have announced the full line-up of their 2011 Powerhouse Theater season, now entering its 27th year. The result of a unique collaboration between New York Stage and Film and Vassar College, the program consists of an eight-week residency on the Vassar campus (124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY) during which more than 200 professional artists and some 40 apprentices live and work together to create new theater works. The 2011 Main Stage season kicks off with Patricia Wettig’s F2M (June 29 – July 10).

The Main Stage season (fully staged and designed works-in-progress) includes:

By Patricia Wettig
Directed by Maria Mileaf
With Keira Keeley, Ken Olin, Deirdre O’Connell, and Phoebe Strole
June 29 – July 10

It’s parents weekend freshman year, but Parker’s very famous parents aren’t coming – which, trust him, is just as well. Confrontations both painfully funny and deeply poignant are sparked when Ali and Clarence show up uninvited, as Parker’s hard-won new identity is put to the test, and the family must grapple with the difficult choices of the child they love. Award winning actress and playwright Patricia Wettig (thirtysomething, Brothers & Sisters) returns to the Powerhouse where F2M was first seen in the 2010 Readings Festival, also directed by Maria Mileaf (The Argument, Lobster Alice, Underneath the Lintel).

A Maze
By Rob Handel
Directed by Sam Buntrock
July 20-July 31

A graphic novelist struggles to complete his 15,000 page comic book, a musician searches for the inspiration for his next hit, and a young girl strives to recreate her identity after years in captivity in this highly theatrical examination of creativity, addiction, love, and power.  Rob Handel (Aphrodisiac, founding member of 13P) is joined for his Powerhouse debut by Tony Award® nominee Sam Buntrock (Roundabout’s Sunday in the Park with George).

Martel Musical workshops (concert readings of works-in-progress) include:

Book & lyrics by Steven Sater
Music by Duncan Sheik
Directed by Moisés Kaufman
July 8-10

The Tony Award-winning creators of Spring Awakening return to the Powerhouse with this compelling contemporary musical rendering of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale of a young emperor who finds his heart in the song of a small grey bird – and in the soul of a common servant girl - far beyond the walls of the Forbidden City.  Directed by the Tony Award-nominated Moisés Kaufman (33 Variations, I am My Own Wife, Tectonic Theater Project).

February House
Music & lyrics by Gabriel Kahane
Book by Seth Bockley
Directed by Davis McCallum
July 14-16

Visionary and flamboyant editor George Davis transforms a dilapidated Brooklyn boardinghouse into a bohemian commune for the leading lights of 1940s New York, including novelist Carson McCullers, composer Benjamin Britten, poet W.H. Auden, and the infamous Gypsy Rose Lee. The luminaries of 7 Middagh Street form a tumultuous and remarkable makeshift family, and search for love, inspiration, and refuge from the looming war in Europe. Inspired by true events, this powerful and funny new musical marks the first commission of The Public Theater’s Music Theater Initiative.

Piece of My Heart
Music and lyrics by Bert Berns
Book by Daniel Goldfarb, Brett Berns and Cassandra Berns
Directed by Leigh Silverman
July 29-31

In just seven years, from 1960 to 1967 when he died of a heart attack at age 37, Bert Berns wrote songs that would come to define the sound of an era including “Twist and Shout,” “Piece Of My Heart,” “Hang On Sloopy,” “Cry To Me,” “Cry Baby,” as well as hundreds of others. In addition, he was the producer of “Under The Boardwalk,” “Brown Eyed Girl,” and dozens of others, collaborating with Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, The Isley Brothers, Ben E. King, Solomon Burke, The Drifters, and Jimmy Page.  A discovery and celebration of the most famous composer you’ve never heard of!

Inside Look Play workshops (semi-staged workshops) include:

Margaret and Craig
By David Solomon
Directed by Sheryl Kaller
With Mario Cantone (Laugh Whore, Sex and the City, Assassins) and Marin Ireland (reasons to be pretty).
July 1-3

Mario Cantone plays dazzling, dizzying Craig Russell, a 1970s female impersonator battling inner demons on his way to cult stardom. His quest for fame tests and transforms his relationship with the only person who truly knows him, his best friend and beloved confidant, author Margaret Gibson, played by Tony Award-nominee Marin Ireland.

By Seth Zvi Rosenfeld
July 15-17

A handball court earmarked to become a dog run becomes a battlefield in a quickly gentrifying neighborhood. Set against the backdrop of NYC's scorching summer heat, this report from the front lines of a neighborhood 'in transition' is a fresh and startling story of community, culture clash and turbulence around change.

Special Musical Presentation:

The Island Musical
By Dar Williams
July 17, 4pm, Martel Theater

Singer/songwriter Dar Williams (The Honesty Room, The Green World, The Beauty of The Rain) combines her passion for the environment with her trademark exquisite songs in a new musical tale of a faraway island whose inhabitants must confront the forces which threaten their magical home, and come together to protect their beloved island.  A musical fable for all ages.

Readings Festivals:

Readings Festival 1
June 24-26
Playground: The Hallie Flanagan Project by Mattie Brickman
Rising Returns by Daniel MacIvor
Day One, A Hotel Room, Evening by Joanna Murray-Smith
Rivers of January by Ben Snyder
Drones by Matt Witten
Readings Festival 2
July 29-31
The Public by Ed Hime
The Hour of Feeling by Mona Mansour
Matty’s Place by Frank Pugliese
Marry Harry by Jennifer Robbins, Michael Biello & Dan Martin
Sleeping Demon by John Patrick Shanley

Apprentice Company Productions:

July 7, 14, 21, 28 at 6pm, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center
A “Soundpainted” dance theater piece by Mark Lindberg

An ensemble of upscale partygoers play out a story of love and other societal forces, loosely inspired by Emily Bronte's classic novel "Wuthering Heights" and set to the 1979 disco album of the same name by composer John Ferrara and his "disco orchestra."  

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
July 8-11 at 6pm, Amphitheater
By William Shakespeare
Directed & Adapted by Anthony Luciano

July 15-18 at 6pm, Amphitheater
By William Shakespeare
Directed & Adapted by Brian McManamon
A Dream Play
July 22-25 at 6pm, Amphitheater
By August Strindberg
In a new version by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Jessi D. Hill
Agnes, a daughter of the Gods, descends to Earth to bear witness to many problems of human beings.  The characters she meets multiply and dissolve; environments change in an instant as time moves forward and backward, and a mysterious locked door conceals a secret. Similar to Alice in Wonderland, August Strindberg’s groundbreaking experimental work, A Dream Play (1902) is a fantasy where the consciousness of a dreamer is our lens. Caryl Churchill, one of the most prolific female playwrights in the English-speaking world, has adapted Strindberg’s Dream in this visceral and spare version.  
Subscriptions to the 2011 Powerhouse Theater season are available online beginning May 18, 2011 atpowerhouse.vassar.edu, with single tickets available June 1 online. The Powerhouse Theater box office on the Vassar campus opens June 8, 2011: (845) 437.5599 // (845) 437.7235; PHTBoxoffice@vassar.edu; Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY.

The Powerhouse Theater annual residency has included such writers as John Patrick Shanley, Beth Henley, Henry Kreiger, Warren Leight, Christopher Durang, Richard Greenberg, Stephen Belber, Eric Bogosian, Steve Martin, Dael Orlandersmith, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater; directors Mark Brokaw, Joe Mantello, Lisa Peterson, Roger Rees, Liz Swados, David Warren, and Michael Wilson; and actors Chris Cooper, Dana Delany, Olympia Dukakis, Edie Falco, Peter Gallagher, Joel Grey, Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Johnston, Lucy Liu, Julianna Margulies, Rob Morrow, Frances McDormand, Josh Radnor, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Kyra Sedgwick, Fisher Stevens, David Strathairn, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, and Jennifer Westfeldt, among many others.

Founded in 1985 by Producing Directors Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer and Leslie Urdang, and now under the leadership of Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer, New York Stage and Film (SAF) is a not-for-profit company dedicated to the development and production of new works for theater and film.  SAF has developed and produced premiere works by such writers as John Patrick Shanley, Jon Robin Baitz, Steve Martin, Theresa Rebeck, and Eve Ensler (www.newyorkstageandfilm.org).

Powerhouse Theater, now entering its 27th season, is the result of a unique collaboration between New York Stage and Film and Vassar College. Powerhouse steadfastly supports both emerging and established artists. Since its inception in 1985, Powerhouse has played a significant role in the development of hundreds of new plays, provided a home for a diverse group of artists free from critical and commercial pressures, and established itself as a vital cultural institution for the Hudson Valley, the New York metropolitan area, and the surrounding region (powerhouse.vassar.edu). Friend Powerhouse on Facebook®, or follow Powerhouse on Twitter®.

This year, 40 student apprentices from across the country will participate and form the 2011 Powerhouse Apprentice Company. These young artists — current students, recent graduates, and future theater professionals — are provided with a distinctive opportunity to create their own new work as well as work on the development of theater and musical productions headed for Broadway and top-ranked theaters nations-wide. Some of the program alumnae/i include Erin Buckley, Melissa Errico, Amy Fox, Catherine Kellner, Kate MacCluggage, Josh Radnor, Jordan Roth, Leah Ryan, Alexandra Tolk, and Jonathan Togo.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861. Consistently ranked as one of the country’s best liberal arts colleges, Vassar is renowned for its long history of curricular innovation, and for the natural and architectural beauty of its campus. More than 50 academic departments and degree programs — from Anthropology to Cognitive Sciences to Urban Studies — encompass the arts, foreign languages, natural sciences, and social services, and combine to offer a curriculum of more than 1,000 courses.

Relax and have a bite before the shows at Powerhouse's Café on the Quad, located by the Marcel Breuer-designed Ferry House on the Frances Fergusson Quadrangle. Artists and audiences mingle and enjoy Powerhouse’s festival atmosphere, pre-performance, Friday and Saturdays throughout the season. The Café offers a space to gather, relax, and savor light tasting menus, and wine and beer, presented by Gigi’s Hudson Valley. Menus feature Mediterranean fare prepared with seasonal ingredients highlighting the bounty of the farms, gardens, and food artisans of the Hudson Valley. Cash only, no reservations required. (Friday and Saturdays, June 24-30.) In addition, Tree City Coffee will serve as concessionaire at all performances. For more information and menus, see the website http://powerhouse.vassar.edu/visit or call (845) 437-7645.

Vassar College is sited in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley in Poughkeepsie, NY. Go to http://www.vassar.edu/directions for directions to the Vassar campus.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available.

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, April 26, 2011