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Vassar College and New York Stage and Film Present Powerhouse Theater


Denise Burse, Harriett D. Foy, Lynda Gravatt, Nikiya Mathis, Dennis Parlato, Saycon Sengbloh, and Tracie Thoms cast in Powerhouse Theater's workshop of “The House That Will Not Stand” (7/20-22).

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY –Denise Burse (Peace Love and Understanding, Brother to Brother, “House of Payne”), Harriett D. Foy (Mamma Mia!, The American Plan, Once On This Island),  Lynda Gravatt (Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Doubt), Nikiya Mathis (Milk Like Sugar), Dennis Parlato (Salome, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Chess), Saycon Sengbloh (Fela!, Hair), and Tracie Thoms (Rent, Stick Fly) join Vassar & New York Stage and Film’s 28th Powerhouse Theater season in the workshop of award-winning playwright Marcus Gardley’s The House That Will Not Stand, directed by Marion McClinton (July 20-22). 

Inside Look Play Workshops (semi-staged workshops)
/ In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

Friday, July 20 – Sunday, July 22
By Marcus Gardley
Directed by Marion McClinton
After the mysterious death of her lover, Beartrice Albans imposes a period of mourning on her household, keeping her three daughters locked in the house to embroider linens. But when the summer heat intensifies, a handsome bachelor comes calling, and a familial secret is revealed, the foundation of Beartrice’s house is rocked to its core. Set in New Orleans in 1836, this loose adaptation of Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba examines the complex system of plaçage – common-law marriages of white men and black Creole women. These free women of color became wealthy and powerful activists who fought against racial oppression pre-Civil War. With Denise Burse, Harriett D. Foy, Lynda Gravatt, Nikiya Mathis, Dennis Parlato, Saycon Sengbloh, and Tracie Thoms.
Performance dates and times: July 20, 21 at 8pm; July 22 at 2pm and 7pm

Tickets are now available online and at the campus box office. Go to powerhouse.vassar.edu or visit the Powerhouse Theater box office on the Vassar College campus (124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY): (845) 437-5599 or PHTBoxOffice@vassar.edu.

Cafe on the Quad will return to Powerhouse Theater this summer for a very limited run. Mix the pleasure of groundbreaking live theater with mouth-watering global cuisine as Twisted Soul Food Concepts will offer a menu of progressive American small plates (menu available online). Saturdays, July 21 and July 28, from 5:30-8:00pm. For reservations call (845) 454-2770.

About the Artists

Denise Burse can be seen in the newly released Peace, Love and Understanding starring Jane Fonda.  Ms. Burse’s most recent NY Stage appearance was in Brother to Brother in the River Crosses River II Festival at EST.  Eisa Davis’ Angela’s Mixtape, Wendy Wasserstein’s An American Daughter, Harriet’s Return, Robert Johnson Tricked the Devil (Audelco Award), Ground People (Theatre World Award, Audelco Nomination), Pearl Cleage’s Flynn West at the Kennedy Center with Ruby Dee, Fences, Piano Lesson, Seven Guitars and Radio Golf from the August Wilson cannon. Television and Film: All the “Law & Orders,” “100 Centre Street,” “Third Watch,” and “One Life to Live”; Starz TV Movie Funny Valentine with Alfre Woodard, Loretta Devine, & CCH Pounder, the popular TV One independent film Preaching to the Choir.  She can be seen in the popular recurring role Claretha Jenkins on “House of Payne.” 

Broadway: The American Plan, Mamma Mia!, Once on This Island. Off-Broadway: The Total Bent, On the Levee (AUDELCO Nomination), Crowns (AUDELCO Award), Lone Star Love (OBCR) and Slut. Regional: Amazing Grace (Goodspeed), F2M (Vassar & New York Stage and Film Powerhouse Theater), The Women of Brewster Place (Arena Stage, Helen Hayes Nomination), Dance of the Holy Ghosts (Yale Rep), After the War (ACT), Polk County (Arena Stage, Helen Hayes Nomination), Seven Guitars (Center Stage), A Christmas Carol (McCarter) and Ambassador Satch (Dubai).  Film/Television: All Good Things, In the Family, “Unforgettable,” “Rescue Me,” “Law and Order.” Howard University. www.harriettdfoy.com 

Marcus Gardley is an award-winning poet-playwright. Select credits include Every Tongue Confess (Arena Stage, Steinberg New Play Award, Charles MacArthur Award nominations, Edgerton New Play Award), On The Levee (Lincoln Center, 11 Audelco Awards nominations), And Jesus moonwalks the Mississippi (Cutting Ball Theater), This World in a Woman’s Hands, Love is a Dream House in Lorin (National Critics Steinberg New Play Award nomination), dance of the holy ghosts (Yale Rep, Broadway option), (L)imitations of Life (Empty Space), and like sun fallin’ in the mouth (National Black Theatre Festival).  Awards include: 2011 PEN Laura Pels Award for Mid-Career Playwright, Helen Merrill Award, Kellsering Honor, Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award, NAMT Award, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Grant, NEA/TCG Playwriting Participant Residency, Eugene O’Neill Memorial Scholarship, ASCAP Cole Porter Prize.  Member of New Dramatists, The Dramatists Guild, Lark Play Development Center, Aetna New Voices Playwright in residence. Professor at Brown University.  Yale Drama School, MFA in Playwriting. 

Broadway: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Doubt, 45 Seconds From Broadway, and King Hedley II.  Off-Broadway: Little Foxes (NYTW), Dividing the Estate (Primary Stages), King Hedley II (Signature Theater, AUDELCO), Miss Witherspoon (Playwrights Horizons), Intimate Apparel (Roundabout, AUDELCO), Crowns (Helen Hayes, AUDELCO), If Memory Serves, The Old Settler (Theatre World Award).  Regional: Raisin in the Sun (Geva Theatre, Hartford Stage; Connecticut Critics Circle Award - Best Actress), The Member of the Wedding (Ford’s Theatre), Polk County (McCarter, Berkeley Rep), Intimate Apparel (Mark Taper), A Night in Tunisia (Alabama Shakespeare); Alley Theatre; Huntington Theatre; Crossroads; Geva; The Kennedy Center, among others.  TV: “The Good Wife,” “Da Brick,” “Law & Order: CI,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “One Life to Live” (recurring), “As the World Turns,” “Law & Order,” “Trinity,” “Sex and the City,” “The Hoop Life,” and “HACK.”  Film: Violet & Daisy, The Bounty Hunter, All Fall Down, I Hate Valentine’s Day. Miss Gravátt is a graduate of Howard University. 

Theater: Margie in Kirsten Greenidge’s Milk Like Sugar (dir. Rebecca Taichman) at Playwrights Horizons and La Jolla Playhouse, Tarell McCraney’s The Brother Sister Plays trilogy (dir. Tina Landau & Robert O’Hara) at the Public Theater and McCarter Theater, Latonya in Radha Blank’s Seed (dir. Niegel Smith) at Classical Theater of Harlem, Intimate Apparel at Two River Theater (dir. Seret Scott), Maima in Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed (dir. Liesl Tommy), Claudia in The Bluest Eye (dir. Walter Dallas) at New Freedom Theater;  Ernestine in Crumbs from the Table of Joy (dir. Maggie Miller) and Laura in The Glass Menagerie at The New Century Theater.  Film: Compliance (dir. Craig Zobel), Knucklehead (dir. Ben Bowman), The Exodus (dir. Rosalyn Coleman). MFA: NYU 

Known for his award-winning Broadway and Off-Broadway productions of August Wilson’s work with whom he had a long friendship and professional relationship, Marion directed Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Broadway revival), King Hedley II (Broadway premiere, regional theatres), Jitney (Off-Broadway, regional and international theatres), Gem of the Ocean (Goodman Theatre, Mark Taper Forum), Seven Guitars and Two Trains Running (CenterStage), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Missouri Repertory), Fences (Indiana Repertory Theatre, Pictures). Other directing credits include Breath Boom (Playwrights Horizons), Jar the Floor (Off-Broadway), Roar (New Group), Thunder Knocking on the Door (regional theatres), Drowning Crow (premiere, Broadway MTC), Elmina’s Kitchen (CenterStage), Yellowman (Mixed Blood/Guthrie Theatre), Bulrusher (Pillsbury House) and Pure Confidence (Mixed Blood). Mr. McClinton is an Associate Artist of CenterStage.  His plays include Police Boys, Stones and Bones (1994 Humana Festival). Awards include three Audelco Awards, OBIE, NEA/TCG Pew Charitable Trust Grant, Drama Desk and Evening Standard nominations. 

Most recently played Franklin Woolsey in Ghost-Writer at ETC in Cincinnati and Captain Newton in Amazing Grace at Goodspeed (w/ Harriett D. Foy).  Broadway roles include John the Baptist in Salome (w/Al Pacino), Lawrence Jameson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Mr. Robinson in The Graduate, Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music, CIA agent Walter Anderson in Chess, Rooster in Annie, and Zach in A Chorus Line. Off-Broadway and Regional credits include the title roles in Cyrano de Bergerac, Barrymore, J.B., The Master Builder, Christopher Columbus, Beethoven in 33 Variations, Julian Marsh in 42nd Street, Oliver in The Vertical Hour, Prospero in The Tempest, Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Uncle Peck in How I Learned to Drive, and  Sky Masterson in Guys & Dolls. TV and film work include “Delocated,” “Law and Order,” “One Life to Live,” “Loving,” Tom Di Cillo's Johnny Suede and Delirious, Eddie Muller's Dillinger's Dead, Greg DeFelice's Bury the Evidence, Rick, Starting Out in the Evening, and Bride Wars

Saycon is thrilled to play in Poughkeepsie with Vassar & New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater. Broadway: Fela! (Sandra), Hair (Abe Lincoln), Wicked (Elphaba standby), The Color Purple (Celie/Nettie standby), Aida (Aida). National Tour: Rent (Mimi), What's On the Hearts of Men. Off-Broadway: Hurt Village (Signature Theatre), Hair (Public Theater). Regional: Once On This Island (Paper Mill Playhouse), The Color Purple, Jar the Floor, Dinah Was (Alliance Theater), The Freddie Hendricks' Y.E.A. (7Stages), Tyler Perry's I Know I've Been Changed. Film/Television: American Gangster, Funny Valentines, “Law & Order,” “Conviction,” “Prince of Motorcity” (Pilot). http://SayconTalks.blogspot.com 

Tracie Thoms has had wide-ranging success in film, television and theatre.  Tracie appeared on Broadway and on film as 'Joanne' in Rent, and revisited the show at the Hollywood Bowl under Neil Patrick Harris’ direction. Other Broadway credits include Stick Fly and Drowning Crow.  NY and Regional: The Exonerated (The Culture Project), The 24 Hour Plays, The 24 Hour Musicals, and 10 Things To Do Before I Die (Second Stage), And Her Hair Went With Her (L.A. Fountain Theatre).  Film: Meeting Evil, Looper, Grindhouse: Death Proof, and The Devil Wears Prada, along with indie films Sex and Breakfast, Chris Rock's Good Hair and Peter and Vandy. Television: CBS’s “Cold Case” (series regular), Fox’s “Wonderfalls,” and UPN's “As If,” FX's “The Shield,” “Harry’s Law” and “Human Target.”  She holds a BFA from Howard University, and a graduate degree from Juilliard and has spent the past couple of years touring the United States with her cabaret act.

About Vassar & New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater

Each summer Vassar & New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater presents new plays and musicals in development, many of which go on to reach wider audiences, including Stephen Karam’s Sons of the Prophet (Roundabout Theater); Michael Mayer and Peter Parnell’s re-imagining of Lerner & Lowe’s On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (St James Theater); Seminar by Theresa Rebeck (Golden Theater); Gabriel Kahane & Seth Bockley’s new musical February House (The Public Theater); and Storefront Church, John Patrick Shanley’s final installment to his “Church and State” trilogy that began with Doubt (Atlantic Theatre Company).  Other projects developed at the Powerhouse include the Tony Award-winning Side Man and Tru; the multi-award-winning Doubt; the groundbreaking Broadway musical American Idiot, and A Steady Rain, produced on Broadway in 2009 with Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig.

The result of a unique collaboration between New York Stage and Film and Vassar College, the Powerhouse program consists of an eight-week residency on the Vassar campus during which more than 250 professional artists and 40 apprentices live and work together to create new theater works.

New York Stage and Film is the not-for-profit company dedicated to both emerging and established artists in the development of new works for theater and film.  Since 1985 New York Stage and Film has played a significant role in the development 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 residents of the Hudson Valley and the New York metropolitan region.  For more information, visit www.newyorkstageandfilm.org/.

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.  Vassar College is sited in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley in Poughkeepsie, NY.

The Powerhouse Theater season at Vassar College strives to make its performances and facilities accessible to all our patrons. If you have questions, would like to request an accommodation or service, or would like to receive additional information about accessibility at Powerhouse Theater, Martel Theater, or the Shiva Theater, please contact us or visit our website:powerhouse.vassar.edu/accessibility. For additional information or if you have questions, need assistance, or an accommodation not mentioned on the website, please contact the Powerhouse Theater Program office at (845) 437-5907 or powerhouse@vassar.edu.

Posted by Office of Communications Friday, July 13, 2012