Go to navigation

Vassar College and New York Stage and Film Present Powerhouse Theater


New work by Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, and by Tony Award® winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, highlight the 2013 Vassar & New York Stage and Film Powerhouse Theater Season

The 2013 Vassar & New York Stage and Film Powerhouse Theater season was announced today by New York Stage and Film Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer and Powerhouse Theater Producing Director Ed Cheetham. The line-up of new works for the 29th Powerhouse season includes a musical by actor, writer, and prolific Grammy Award® winner Steve Martin and fellow musician Edie Brickell, as well as the latest from Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Broadway’s In the Heights (full season calendar follows below). Casting is underway and will be announced shortly. The 6-week season runs from June 21-July 28. Online sales for subscriptions (only) begin May 15, single ticket sales begin June 5, and the Box Office, located at Vassar in the Powerhouse Theater building, opens for in-person sales for both single tickets and subscriptions on June 12. For online sales visit http://powerhouse.vassar.edu/boxoffice. The Box Office can be reached at (845) 437-5599 or PHTBoxOffice@vassar.edu. For general season information call 845-437- 5907 or visit powerhouse@vassar.edu. All performance venues for the Powerhouse Theater season are located on the Vassar College campus, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie, New York.

“The 2013 season has the wide variety of voices and perspectives that Powerhouse is known for,” says Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer. “Some of the artists are household names, and some our audiences will encounter for the first time. Much of this year’s work is rooted in a specific time and place - New York City in the 1970s, the Blue Ridge Mountains after World War II, even a superhero’s secret hide-out. But these stories have a universal quality that transcends their time and place. That’s something made possible by an artist’s singular vision, and we are thrilled to welcome this extraordinary group this summer.”

The 2013 season will include two fully produced Mainstage plays: Seth Zvi Rosenfeld’s Downtown Race Riot, directed by Scott Elliott; and Mozhan Marnò’s When The Lights Went Out, directed by Kate Whoriskey (Ruined). The season’s two Musical Workshops will be: Steve Martin & Edie Brickell’s Bright Star (featuring music from their newly released recording “Love Has Come For You”), directed by Walter Bobbie; and A new musical inspired by The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, music and lyrics by Peter Lerman, book by Simon Rich, based on characters created by Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, directed by Tony Award-winner Michael Mayer (American Idiot, Spring Awakening, Side Man). In addition there will be readings of The Hamilton Mixtape by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Tony Award, In The Heights), and Yellow Kingdom by Patricia Wettig (F2M).The season will also include developmental workshops of two additional plays, two week-long Readings Festivals, and free outdoor theater presented by the Powerhouse Theater Apprentice Company.

“Each summer we are given another incredible opportunity to welcome a wide range of theatrical artists both established and new. The nurturing of each project is all the same; the process prepares the work for its next incarnation. Just as we nurture each student in the training program, preparing him or her for the next step of his or her journey,” said Producing Director, Ed Cheetham.

About Powerhouse Theater

Powerhouse Theater is a collaboration between Vassar College and New York Stage and Film dedicated to both emerging and established artists in the development and production of new works for theater and film. 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. Many shows from past seasons have found their way to Broadway, Off-Broadway, and theaters nationwide, including Stephen Karam’s Sons of the Prophet (Roundabout Theater); Seminar by Theresa Rebeck (Golden Theater); Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash’s Murder Ballad (Manhattan Theater Club, Union Square Theater); Pulitzer finalist Nathan Englander’s The Twenty-Seventh Man (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. Each summer Vassar and New York Stage and Film also collaborate on the Powerhouse Theater Training Program, one of the country’s leading theater immersion programs for young artists. The program brings together 40-50 participants from across the country to form the Powerhouse Theater Apprentice Company. They are current college and high school students and recent graduates, who over six weeks on the Vassar campus study a discipline (acting, directing, or writing), create their own work, and assist the professional productions of the Powerhouse season.

New York Stage and Film is a 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.

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.

The 2013 Powerhouse Theater Season

(Full performance calendar including performance time will be available shortly)

(fully staged and designed works-in-progress)
Tickets: $40

June 26 – July 7
By Seth Zvi Rosenfeld
Directed by Scott Elliott

There’s a riot on in Washington Square Park and a motley band of feckless, funny young men are spoiling for a fight. Against this backdrop of tribal loyalties and petty beefs, 18-year old Pnut McPartland has to pick sides and hustle his family and his friends just to stay alive. Seth Zvi Rosenfeld (The Flatted Fifth, Servy-n-Bernice 4ever; HBO’s How To Make it in America) and director Scott Elliott (Hurlyburly, Mike Leigh’s Ecstacy) bring us this electric portrait of a city and a boy in crisis.

July 17 - 28
By Mozhan Marnò
Directed by Kate Whoriskey

On the night of the Northeast blackout of 2003, six New Yorkers connect through interwoven stories. In the darkness, two strangers fall in love during an epic walk across Manhattan; an older couple marooned in their apartment must finally grapple with their past; and a conflicted Iraqi immigrant makes her way across the Brooklyn Bridge chasing memories of her lost son and her homeland through the shadows. Mozhan Marnò will be joined for her playwriting debut by director Kate Whoriskey (world premieres of Ruined, The Piano Teacher, Fabulation)

(concert readings of works-in-progress)
Tickets: $30

July 12 -14
Music by Edie Brickell and Steve Martin
Lyrics by Edie Brickell
Book by Steve Martin
Based on an original story by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
Directed by Walter Bobbie

Renowned actor/playwright/composer Steve Martin returns to Powerhouse alongside iconoclastic musician Edie Brickell and the Tony Award-winning director of Chicago and Venus in Fur to bring to life a stirring story set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. We travel between 1945 and 1922, as a young man returns from war and uncovers hidden yearnings and dark secrets about his past. Features a live bluegrass score including songs from Brickell and Martin’s new album “Love Has Come for You.”

July 26 - 28
Music and Lyrics by Peter Lerman
Book by Simon Rich
Based on Characters Created by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman
Directed by Michael Mayer

Trey Swieskowski, an idealistic young Brooklynite, fantasizes about becoming a superhero. Meanwhile, Astrolass (AKA “Astroman’s daughter”) is desperate to pack in her cape and escape the burden of her father’s legacy. When the two of them cross paths, they hatch a plan to change their lives forever. Director Michael Mayer (Side Man, American Idiot, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever) returns to Powerhouse to develop this exciting new musical.

(semi-staged workshops)
Tickets: $25

July 12-14
Book by Hunter Bell & Lee Overtree
Music & Original Lyrics by Eli Bolin
Based on the Found books and magazines by Davy Rothbart
Additional Material Created in Collaboration with Story Pirates
Directed by Lee Overtree

Based on Davy Rothbart's popular Found magazine, comes a new musical comedy about the things we've lost and the ways they bring us together. Tony-nominated bookwriter Hunter Bell [title of show] joins composer/lyricist Eli Bolin to create the semi-autobiographical account of Davy's life and loves as he performs around the country and imagines the stories behind the discarded notes, diaries, love letters, to-do lists, photographs - anything that is a glimpse into someone else's life. When Davy meets and falls for Kate, a schoolteacher, he is forced to choose between his wild existence on the road and a life with her. Found explores not just the things, but the people we find in life and proves we all have stories worth telling.

July 19 - 21
By James Lecesne
Directed by Michael Wilson

When Dottie Rupp’s children come to move her into assisted living, they end up having to deal with more baggage than just her Samsonite. As her memory fails and the truth about her life blurs, a mysterious stranger arrives and the Rupps face big questions: was Dottie more or less than they imagined her to be? How do we go on living after our own stories have disappeared? And where do we look for new ones? A warm-hearted comedy from the Emmy-nominated writer of Further Tales of the City, Word of Mouth, and the film Trevor, and director Michael Wilson (Broadway’s The Trip to Bountiful and Gore Vidal’s The Best Man)

FREE with advance reservations suggested (seating very limited)

Readings Festival 1: June 21- 23
Readings Festival 2: July 26 - 28

By Lin-Manuel Miranda
Music Direction by Alex Lacamoire
Directed by Thomas Kail

By Patrick Burleigh
By Carey Perloff
Directed by Maria Mileaf

By Martyna Majok

By Rachel Bonds

By Patricia Wettig

Please note: Additional works-in-progress will be announced shortly.


Thursday July 4, 11, 18, 25 at 6pm.
(Part of “Late Night at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center”)


A devised performance about how we pay attention, created for the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center by Tomi Tsunoda with members of the Apprentice Company. The performance is created in part through the language of Soundpainting, the multidisciplinary sign language used for live composition, created by Walter Thompson.

Performances of the Classics
At the Vassar Farm & Ecological Preserve (rain location: Matthew’s Mug, College Center, Main Building)

July 5-8 at 6:30pm
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Drew Cortese

July 12-15 at 6:30pm
By Aeschylus
Directed by Mark Lindberg

July 19-22 at 6:30pm
By Federico Garcia Lorca
Directed by Emily Mendelsohn

# # # # #

The Powerhouse Theater is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts

The Powerhouse Theater receives funding from New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, April 24, 2013