Go to navigation

Vassar College and New York Stage and Film Present Powerhouse Theater


"The Power of Duff" by Stephen Belber, directed by Peter DuBois, features an ensemble cast including Dominic Fumusa, Greg Kinnear, and Jennifer Westfeldt (7/18-29).

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – New York Stage and Film (Johanna Pfaelzer, Artistic Director; Thomas Pearson, Executive Director, Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer, Leslie Urdang, Producing Directors) and Vassar College’s (Ed Cheetham, Producing Director) Powerhouse Theater offer the Mainstage presentation of Stephen Belber’s The Power of Duff during the 2012 Powerhouse Theater Season.

The ensemble cast includes Desmin Borges (The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity), Dominic Fumusa (Fault Lines, Passion Play, "Nurse Jackie"), Neal Huff (Take Me Out, "The Wire"), Russell G. Jones (Ruined, Traffic), Greg Kinnear (Little Miss Sunshine, As Good As It Gets), Ilana Levine (Jake’s Women, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, The Last Night of Ballyhoo), Ben Platt (Caroline, or Change, Pitch Perfect), and Jennifer Westfeldt (Friends with Kids, Kissing Jessica Stein, Wonderful Town).

In The Power of Duff, Charles Duff [played by Greg Kinnear (Little Miss Sunshine, As Good As It Gets)], a news anchor in a mid-market backwater, has an unexpected spiritual awakening on live TV.  His prayers, and their answers, change his audience, his family, and his own life forever. Stephen Belber (Tape, Match, Dusk Rings a Bell, Fault Lines) returns to the Powerhouse alongside director Peter DuBois (Sons of the Prophet, Becky Shaw, Jack Goes Boating, All New People).

The Power of Duff runs through Sunday, July 29. 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 returns to Powerhouse Theater this summer for a very limited run on Saturdays July 21 and 28. 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 at powerhouse.vassar.edu/visit). For reservations call (845) 454-2770. 

Mainstage (fully staged and designed works-in-progress)
/ In the Powerhouse Theater

Tickets: $35

Wednesday, July 18 – Sunday, July 29 

By Stephen Belber
Directed by Peter DuBois
Set design by David Korins
Costume design by Bobby Frederick Tilly
Lighting design by Russell H. Champa
Sound design by ML Dogg
Projections by Aaron Rhyne

Charles Duff, a news anchor in a mid-market backwater, has an unexpected spiritual awakening on live TV.  His prayers, and their answers, change his audience, his family, and his own life forever. Stephen Belber (Tape, Match, Dusk Rings a Bell, Fault Lines) returns to the Powerhouse alongside Peter DuBois (Sons of the Prophet, Becky Shaw, Jack Goes Boating, All New People). The cast includes Desmin Borges, Dominic Fumusa, Neal Huff, Russell G. Jones, Greg Kinnear, Ilana Levine, Ben Platt, and Jennifer Westfeldt.

Performance dates: July 18, 19, 20, 21, 24 (post show discussion), 25, 26, 27, 28 at 8pm; July 21, 22, 28 (post show discussion), 29 at 2pm

About the Cast

DESMIN BORGES (Scott Zoellner)
Desmin created the lead role of 'Macedonia Guerra' in Kristoffer Diaz's The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity; New York (Second Stage- Lortel Nomination, Drama League Nomination, Theater World Award), Chicago (Victory Gardens - Jefferson Award), Los Angeles (Geffen).  Additional regional: Boleros for the Disenchanted (Goodman), Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue (Steppenwolf Garage), Buddy Holly Story (Mercury- Chicago), Esperanza Rising (Children's Theatre- Minneapolis).  Film: Mr. Popper’s Penguins with Jim Carrey,Tower Heist, Compliance (Sundance 2012), Taco Mary, Lucky Dog with Paul Giamatti, and House that Jack Built.  Television episodic: “Law and Order: SVU,” “The Good Wife,” “Gifted Man,” “Castle,” “Switched at Birth.”  Des is an ensemble member of Teatro Vista and a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University.



NY theater: Wait Until Dark (Broadway debut), A Flea in Her Ear (Roundabout), premieres of Melissa James Gibson's [SIC] (SoHo Rep), Sarah Ruhl's Passion Play (Epic Ensemble), Stephen Belber's Fault Lines(Naked Angels) and Brett Leonard's Ninth & Joanie (LAByrinth). Fumusa originated the role of 'Toddy Koovitz' in Richard Greenberg's Tony winning Take Me Out (Donmar Warehouse/The Public) and created 'Vince' in Stephen Belber's Tape (Naked Angels).  Regional credits include plays at the Guthrie, Huntington, Kennedy Center, Actors Theater of Louisville, Williamstown, NYSAF, the Stratford Festival of Canada, and Chicago Shakespeare. TV: “Nurse Jackie” (series regular), “Damages,” “Sex and the City,” “The Sopranos,” “Brotherhood,” “Kings,” “Bones,” “Numbers,” “NYPD Blue,” “Hack,” “Threshold,” “Law & Order” and “CSI.”  Film: Recalled, Helena From the Wedding, Management, Staten Island, This is a Story about Ted & Alice (2008 Cannes), Dealbreaker, Grilled, The Guru

NEAL HUFF (Bob, Neighbor, Dan Hegeman, Ron Kirkpatrick)

Neal Huff’s film credits include Moonrise Kingdom, Meek’s Cutoff, Jack and Diane, Vanishing On 7th Street, Monogamy, Motherhood, Michael Clayton, Stephanie Daley, Bernard and Doris, The Good Shepherd, Dealbreakers, The Shovel, Hollywood Ending, Poster Boy, Happy Accidents, Big Daddy, Love Walked In, and The Wedding Banquet. Upcoming:  Land Of Tomorrow, Why Stop Now, andDoomsdays. Neal played Michael Steintorf, Chief of Staff to the Mayor on HBO’s “The Wire.” Other television: “John Adams” (HBO), recurring roles on “Fringe” (Fox), “Six Degrees” (ABC), “Starved” (FX), “Law and Order” and “L&O: Criminal Intent.” Upcoming: “The Abolitionists.”  Neal’s theatre credits include leading roles on Broadway in Take Me Out (Donmar Warehouse and NYSF), The Lion in Winter (Roundabout), and The Tempest(NYSF). Other credits include Will Scheffer’s The Green Book (Summer Shorts/59E59), When I Come To Die (LCT), the world premiere of William Inge's The Killing (Summer Shorts/59E59).


RUSSELL G. JONES (Joseph Andango)
Theater: originated the role of Christian in Ruined at Manhattan Theatre Club, Goodman Theatre and the recent national tour (winner Obie, Audelco, and BTAA awards, Outer Critics and Jeff nominations), Marie & Bruce with the New Group, A View from 151st Street at The Public Theater, Our Lady of 121st Street at Union Square Theater, God, The Crackhouse and The Devil at La Mama, The Death of Don Flagrante Delicto at The Greenwich Street Theater and In Arabia We’d All Be Kings at Center Stage New York. Television: “Smash,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: CI,” “Law & Order: SVU.”  Film: Traffic (SAG Award winner Outstanding Ensemble Cast), Squeeze, The Saint of Avenue B, Companions, Choking Man andTurntable (2006 Best Actor, San Diego Noir Festival) and the recently completed Bitter Pill.  Mr. Jones has been a proud member of LAByrinth Theatre Company since 1995. 

GREG KINNEAR (Charlie Duff)
Academy Award nominee and Emmy award winning actor Greg Kinnear continues to draw audiences and critical acclaim with diverse and interesting roles in both television and film.  Kinnear starred in Sundance’s critically-acclaimed Little Miss Sunshine (Academy Award nominations, Independent Spirit Awards wins, SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast) and starred in As Good As It Gets, for which he was named Best Supporting Actor by the National Board of Review and received Academy Award, Golden Globe, and SAG Award nominations.  He was most recently seen in I Don’t Know How She Does It andThin Ice.  Other notable film roles include You've Got Mail, Sabrina, Auto Focus, Invincible, Fast Food Nation, Green Zone, Ghost Town, Feast of Love, What Planet Are You From?, The Matador, Bad News Bears, We Were Soldiers, HBO's Dinner with Friends, Someone Like You, Stuck on You, The Gift, Unknown,Nurse Betty, Baby Mama, and Thin Ice.  His performance as John F. Kennedy in the “The Kennedy’s” earned him an Emmy Award nomination for Best Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie.  Kinnear’s upcoming film releases include Writers and The English Teacher.

Ilana starred on Broadway in Jake’s Women, Wrong Mountain, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown andThe Last Night of Ballyhoo. Her television debut was in the award winning HBO series “Tanner ’88” directed by Robert Altman, a role for which James Wolcott of Vanity Fair described her as “an up and comer to watch.”  She and co-star Cynthia Nixon reprised their roles for Mr. Altman in “Tanner on Tanner” as a mini series for the Sundance Channel.  She has appeared in numerous films and television shows. Recent credits include Imogene, Greetings From Tim Buckley, Friends with Kids, Gigantic, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Nanny Diaries, Failure to Launch, Roommates, Storytellers, Ira and Abby (on which she also served, along with Jennifer Westfeldt, as Executive Producer) and Kissing Jessica Stein.  Favorite roles with New York Stage and Film: Hand to Hand by Max Mayer, Escape from Happiness, Dir. Max Mayer, andSummer Winds, Dir. Kenny Lonergan.


Ben Platt will be making his onscreen debut in the upcoming October 5th release of the Universal Picture Pitch Perfect (dir. Jason Moore). National Tours: Caroline, or Change (dir. George C. Wolfe, Tony Kushner). Workshops/Readings: Alice By Heart (Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik), Irma La Douce (dir. Rob Ashford, starring Katie Holmes), Bridges of Madison County (dir. Bartlett Sher, Jason Robert Brown). Regional Credits: Dead End (dir. Nicholas Martin, Ahmanson Theatre), The Music Man, Mame, Camelot, andThe Sound of Music (Hollywood Bowl).

Jennifer most recently wrote, produced, starred in, and made her directorial debut in the indie hit Friends With Kids, released by Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions in March. The screenplay was workshopped at NYSAF in 2010. NYSAF audiences may also remember Jennifer from Joe Gilford's Finks in 2008.  Jennifer made her Broadway debut in Wonderful Town, directed by Kathleen Marshall, for which she received a Tony nomination, a Theater World Award, and a Drama League Award. She has starred in over 25 Off-Broadway and regional productions; most recently The Three Sisters at LA Theaterworks, and the world premiere of A Lifetime Burning at Primary Stages, directed by Pam MacKinnon.  Jennifer is perhaps best known for co-writing and playing the title role in the 2002 hit Kissing Jessica Stein, released by Fox Searchlight, for which she received an Indie Spirit Nomination, Golden Satellite Award, and multiple Audience Awards. Her  second feature as an actress/scribe, Ira & Abby, was released to critical acclaim in 2007. Television credits include “24,” “Grey's Anatomy,” “Notes From the Underbelly,” “Children's Hospital,” “Judging Amy,” “Hack,” “Before You Say I Do,” “Numbers,” “Snoops,” “Two Guys, A Girl and A Pizza Place,” “Holding The Baby.”  She is currently developing a new series at HBO, with Alan Ball producing.

About the Creative Team


As a playwright, Belber’s work has been produced on Broadway and in over 25 countries.  His plays include Match (Tony nomination for Frank Langella);  Dusk Rings a Bell, (Atlantic Theater Company);  Tape(Naked Angels NY/LA/London);  McReele (Roundabout Theater);  A Small, Melodramatic Story (Labyrinth Theater Company);  Geometry of Fire, (NYSAF/Rattlestick);  Fault Lines (NYSAF/Naked Angels);  One Million Butterflies (Primary Stages), and Carol Mulroney  (Huntington Theater Company).  He was an Associate Writer on The Laramie Project (Drama Desk and Lortel nominations), and co-writer on The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.  Movies include Tape, directed by Richard Linklater;  The Laramie Project(Associate Writer/Emmy Nomination for screenwriting);  Drifting Elegant, and Management, which he also directed, starring Jennifer Aniston, Woody Harrelson and Steve Zahn.  Television credits include “Rescue Me” and “Law and Order SVU.”  His new play, Don’t Go Gentle, will be produced in New York this fall by MCC. 

PETER DuBOIS (Director)
West End/London: All New People. Almeida Theatre: Becky Shaw. Playwrights Horizons: Rapture, Blister, Burn.  Roundabout Theater Company: Sons of the Prophet. Second Stage: Becky Shaw, Trust, All New People. Public Theater/NYSF:  Measure for Pleasure, Richard III, Mom How Did You Meet the Beatles, Biro.  LAByrinth Theater Company/Public Theater:  Jack Goes Boating, View From 151st Street.  Also: American Conservatory Theater, Trinity Repertory Company, Humana Festival of New Plays, Manchester Opera House, Kings Theater Glasgow.  Associate Producer, Public Theater/NYSF (2003-2005) Resident Director, Public Theater/NYSF (2005-2008), Artistic Director, Perseverance Theater Company, Juneau, Alaska (1997-2003). Peter is in his fourth season as the Artistic Director of The Huntington Theater Company in Boston. Peter’s productions have been on the annual top ten lists of the New York Times, Time Out, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, Variety, Entertainment Weekly, The Evening Standard, and the Improper Bostonian.  

DAVID KORINS (Set Designer)

Broadway: Annie, Motown (both upcoming), Bring It On, Magic/Bird, Godspell, Chinglish, An Evening with Patti Lupone & Mandy Patinkin, The Pee-Wee Herman Show, Lombardi, Passing Strange and Bridge & Tunnel. Previous collaborations with Peter DuBois include Jack Goes Boating and A View from 151st Street, both with LAByrinth Theater Company. He has designed shows for many Off-Broadway and regional theaters as well as several concerts for Kanye West. David has received a Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, two Hewes Design Awards and the 2009 Obie Award For Sustained Excellence in Design. www.davidkorinsdesign.com


Costume Design: Sons of the Prophet (Roundabout), All New People (Second Stage), Thinner Than Water(LAByrinth), Captors, Sons of the Prophet, Circle Mirror Transformation (Huntington), The Pinter Plays: The Collection and A Kind Of Alaska, Body Awareness, Birth and After Birth, The Butter and Egg Man (Atlantic),The Aliens (Rattlestick), The Aliens (Company One, Elliot Norton Award), Body Awareness (Speakeasy Stage Company), Lizzie Borden (The Living Theater, Drama Desk nomination), Top Girls (Act 1, MTC/Biltmore), Mel and El: Show & Tell (Ars Nova), The Betrayal, Rhinoceros (The Mighty Theatre),Gaugleprixtown, The Most Lamentable and Tragical Historie of the Barber-Surgeons (Studio 42), The Ontological Detective (Blue Heron Arts), Red Angel (Williamstown), The Country Doctor (Marymount), Further Than the Furthest Thing (MTC), Tallahassee, Mac Wellman’s Dracula, The Lesser Magoo (78th Street Lab).

RUSSELL H. CHAMPA (Lighting Designer)
Current and recent projects: Angels in America, Part 1 and 2 (Wilma Theater), Scorched and Maple + Vine(ACT), Completeness (Playwright’s Horizons), Timon of Athens (The Public Theater). On Broadway, Mr. Champa has designed In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play and Julia Sweeney’s God Said “Ha!” both at the Lyceum Theater. Other New York credits include Lincoln Center, MTC, 2nd Stage, The Vineyard Theater, CSC, and La MaMa E.T.C. Regionally, Mr. Champa has designed for The Mark Taper Forum, CenterStage, Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, Trinity Rep, CalShakes, McCarter Theater, Campo Santo, Actors’ Gang, and the Kennedy Center.

M.L. DOGG (Sound Designer)

M.L. Dogg has designed for such companies as Playwrights Horizons, Waterwell Productions, Nicholas Ward Productions, Fordham University Theatre, Huntington Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, The Pearl Theatre, Ars Nova, Second Stage Theatre, Out of Balanz,  Theatre for a New Audience, Shelby Company, Scott Sanders Productions, Why Not Theatre, The Boise Contemporary Theater, Amphibian Stage Productions, Stillpoint Productions, 13P, Two River Theater Co., Epic Theatre Ensemble, Women's Project, Theatre B, The Depot Theatre, Classic Stage Company, Wash and Fold Productions, Shakespeare & Company, Monster(less) Actors Inc., and Actors Theatre of Louisville. FringeNYC Award, IRNE, IT, and Drama Desk nominee.

AARON RHYNE (Projection Design)

Designs include Broadway: Bonnie and Clyde. Opera: Jerry Springer: The Opera (Carnegie Hall, The Sydney Opera House), Florencia en el Amazonas (Florida Grand Opera, Opera Colorado, Utah Opera). Off-Broadway: Lonely, I’m Not, The Blue Flower, All New People (Second Stage), Wild With Happy (The Public), Graceland (Lincoln Center), Spirit Control (MTC), Taylor Mac’s Obie award winning The Lily’s Revenge (HERE), Dutchman (Cherry Lane). Regional: Bonnie and Clyde (La Jolla Playhouse, Asolo Rep),Strange Interlude (Shakespeare Theatre), The Rocky Horror Show, Welcome to Arroyo’s, Whisper House(The Old Globe), Working (The Old Globe, Asolo Rep, Broadway in Chicago), The Civil War (Ford’s Theatre), Fanny Brice: America’s Funny Girl, The Last Five Years (Asolo Rep), The Sun Also Rises(Washington Ballet). Additionally, Mr. Rhyne creates videos for various television projects, including NBC’s “The Marriage Ref.” He is a graduate of Fordham University. www.aaronrhyne.com

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); andStorefront 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. 

Please note that actress Maura Tierney had to withdraw from this production due to a conflicting commitment.

Posted by Office of Communications Saturday, June 30, 2012