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Vassar College and New York Stage and Film Present Powerhouse Theater


Tony nominees Daniel Breaker and Will Swenson & Dee Roscioli and Rebecca Naomi Jones in cast of the Powerhouse Theater workshop of Murder Ballad (7/27-29).

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Vassar & New York Stage and Film announce that Tony nominees Daniel Breaker (Passing Strange; Shrek: The Musical) and Will Swenson (Hair; Priscilla Queen of the Desert) as well as Dee Roscioli (Wicked) and Rebecca Naomi Jones (American Idiot; Passing Strange) will join the 28th Powerhouse Theater season in a workshop of the indie rock musical Murder Ballad by award-winning playwright Julia Jordan (Tatjana in Color; Sarah, Plain and Tall)  & Juliana Nash (frontwoman for the indie rock band Talking to Animals), directed by Trip Cullman (Lonely, I’m Not; Assistance; A Small Fire). Cullman, a frequent collaborator in the creation of new works at Vassar & New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater, also directed the debuts of A Steady Rain, Lloyd Suh’s American Hwangap, The Peterson’s Project, and Sweetness among many others.

Martel Musical Workshops (concert readings of works-in-progress)
/ In the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film

Friday, July 27 – Sunday, July 29
By Julia Jordan & Juliana Nash
Directed by Trip Cullman
Musical direction by Justin Levine
Sound design by Leon Rothenberg
Choreography by Doug Varone
A love triangle gone wrong, Murder Ballad centers on Sara, an Upper West Side mom who seems to have it all, but whose downtown past lingers enticingly and dangerously in front of her. Created by composer Juliana Nash, front-woman for the 90’s indie rock band Talking to Animals and award-winning playwright Julia Jordan (Tatjana in Color; Sarah, Plain and Tall), this sexy, explosive, newSound rock musical explores the complications of love, the compromises we make, and the small betrayals that can ultimately undo us. Cast includes Daniel Breaker, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Dee Roscioli, and Will Swenson. With Thomas Juliano (lead guitar), Josh Myers (bass), and Seth Faulk (drums)
Performance dates: July 27, 28 at 8pm; July 29 at 2pm 

Single 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

BROADWAY: Shrek: The Musical (Broadway Theatre), Passing Strange (Belasco Theatre, Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Nomination, Theatre World Award, Audelco Award), Cymbeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Well (Longacre).  OFF-BROADWAY: By The Way, Meet Vera Stark (Second Stage), Passing Strange (The Public Theater), Fabulation (Playwrights Horizons), Pericles (Red Bull, Culture Project).  LONDON: How to Act Around Cops (SoHo Theatre).  REGIONAL: Life is a Dream (South Coast Rep), The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare Theatre Company; Helen Hayes Nomination), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (SCR), The Tempest (STC; Helen Hayes nomination), A Midsummer Night's Dream (STC), The Rivals (STC), The Silent Woman (STC), H.M.S. Pinafore (Berkshire Theater Festival), Blacksheep (Barrington Stage), Sundance Theater Lab, 2005. FILM: The Dark Fields, He's Way More Famous Than You, Redhook Summer (dir. Spike Lee), Passing Strange (Spike Lee). TELEVISION: “Unforgettable,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” TRAINING: The Juilliard School; B.F.A.

TRIP CULLMAN (Director) 
Select NYC: Paul Weitz’s Lonely, I'm Not  (Second Stage), Leslye Headland’s Assistance (Playwrights Horizons), Adam Bock’s A Small Fire (Playwrights Horizons, Drama Desk nom.), Adam Rapp’s The Hallway Trilogy: Nursing (Rattlestick),  Headland’s Bachelorette (Second Stage), Terrence McNally'sSome Men (Second Stage), Bert V. Royal’s Dog Sees God (The Century Center), Bock’s The Drunken City (Playwrights Horizons), Weitz's Roulette (EST), Jonathan Tolins’s The Last Sunday In June (Rattlestick and Century Center), Bock's Swimming In The Shallows (Second Stage), Gina Gionfriddo’s US Drag (stageFARM), and several productions with The Play Company including Robert Farquhar’s Bad Jazz, Lloyd Suh’s American Hwangap, and Brooke Berman’s Smashing. Select regional: John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation (Old Globe), Richard Greenberg’s The Injured Party (South Coast Rep), McNally’s Unusual Acts of Devotion (La Jolla Playhouse), Christopher Durang’s Betty’s Summer Vacation (Bay Street Theater), Bess Wohl’s Touched (Williamstown Theater Festival).

Rebecca Naomi Jones has performed on Broadway in American Idiot and Passing Strange. Off-Broadway: Wig Out!, This Beautiful City (both at the Vineyard Theatre), Passing Strange (the Public Theater), How Love Is Spelt (Playwrights Horizons). Regional: A Maze (Vassar & New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater), American Idiot, Passing Strange (both at the Berkeley Rep). Tours: Caroline, or Change, Little Shop of Horrors, Rent. Television: "NYC 22", "Smash", "Nurse Jackie" (directed by Steve Buscemi), "Law & Order: SVU", "Fringe", "The Electric Company", "All My Children". Films: Passing Strange, Miracle at St. Anna (both directed by Spike Lee), The Switch. She is an associate artist with the Civilians, and holds a BFA in drama from North Carolina School of the Arts. 

Plays include Boy, Tatjana in Color, St. Scarlet, Smoking Lesson, Dark Yellow, Astrological Quit Claim Deeds, and Jones.  Musical books include Sarah Plain and Tall and The Mice, both written with Larry O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. Upcoming musicals, Storyville, Bernice Bobs Her Hair, and Murder Ballad. Currently in development, the film Tell Me Something I Don’t Know with Glen Luchford directing. Kleban Award, Francesca Primus Prize, Lucille Lortel Playwriting Fellowship, Manhattan Theater Club Fellowship, Jonathan Larson Award, Heideman Award and LeComte Nouy Award, ATandT Onstage Award, The American Spirit Award. She is one of the founders of The Lilly Awards and sits on the Council of the Dramatists Guild. Her work has been produced at Primary Stages, Actor’s Theater of Louisville, Soho Rep, The McCarter Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Prince Music Theater, the Ahmanson, Studio Dante, Wellfleet, Contemporary American Theater Festival and Salt Lake Acting Company, The American Theater among others.  Her plays have been developed at Sundance, The O’Neill, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Playlabs at the Mpls. Playwrights Center, Cleveland Playhouse among others. 

JUSTIN LEVINE (Music Director)
Writing: Bonfire Night (Book, Music & Lyrics), Tell Me Tomorrow (Music & Lyrics), Jump Jim Crow (Music & Lyrics), Naked Radio (Music), Death by Vaudeville (Co-creator). Musical direction: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Broadway and the Public), Missed Connections (Ars Nova). Workshops: Here Lies Love (Public, by David Byrne), Murder Ballad (MTC), Robber Bridegroom (Roundabout), Love’s Labors Lost (Public), Like Water For Chocolate (Sundance). www.justinlevineonline.com.

Juliana Nash is new to theater. Her background is in pop music. She was the rhythm guitarist, and singer-songwriter for the band Talking to Animals. Talking to Animals was signed to Columbia and Velvel Records. Her songs have been placed in films that include Rob Morrow’s Maze, Eric Schaeffer’s Fall and his TV show Starved. She wrote songs for the play Leave by Courtney Baron. Juliana is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild and BMI. She is the recipient of the BMI’s 1989 Abe Olman songwriter’s award.  Juliana is also the proud mother of Ruby and Zane.

DEE ROSCIOLI Dee Roscioli is best known for her work in Wicked, in which Roscioli holds the distinction of having played Elphaba in more performances than any other actress. Before appearing in Wicked's 1st national tour, Dee played Elphaba on Broadway after closing the record-breaking Chicago production. She recently concluded a run as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Additional NY credits include The 24-Hour Musicals, Murder Ballad (Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club), Dedalus Lounge (Interart Theater Annex), Therapy Rocks (NYMF), Pokemon LIVE! (Radio City) National tour: Cats (Grizabella). She recently workshopped Bobby Cronin's Welcome to My Life and Liberty.

DOUG VARONE (Choreographer) Award-winning choreographer and director Doug Varone works in dance, theater, opera, film, television and fashion. He is a passionate educator and articulate advocate for dance. By any measure, his work is extraordinary for its emotional range, kinetic breadth and the many arenas in which he works. His New York City-based Doug Varone and Dancers has been commissioned and presented to critical acclaim by leading international venues for more than two decades. In 2008, Varone’s “Bottomland,” set in the Mammoth Caves of Kentucky, was the subject of the PBS "Dance in America: Wolf Trap’s Face of America."  His numerous theater credits include choreography for Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional theaters across the country. He staged several seasons of designer Geoffrey Beene’s NYC couture runway shows. Film credits include choreography for the Patrick Swayze film, One Last Dance.

Will Swenson most recently was seen starring on Broadway in the hit musical Priscilla: Queen of the Desert.  Prior to that he received a Tony and a Drama Desk Award nomination for his performance as Berger in the Broadway revival of Hair.  He also played the role on London’s West End.  Other Broadway credits include: 110 in the Shade,  Lestat, andBrooklyn: the Musical.  Off -Broadway: Rock of Ages, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Adrift in Macao, The Slugbearers of Kayrol Island, Camelot with the New York Philharmonic. Tours include Miss Saigon, We Will Rock You, and Fame! Film and Television credits: “Gods Behaving Badly”,“The Switch”, “The Singles Ward”, “Law & Order”, “6 Degrees”, “The Beautiful Life”.  Will is also a filmmaker. His first film Sons of Provo about a clueless Mormon Boy-Band, which he directed, co-wrote and starred in, won several film festivals.  He will soon be directing the new feature Facing East.

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 Monday, July 16, 2012