Go to navigation

Vassar College and New York Stage and Film Present Powerhouse Theater

2018 Season Schedule


Radio Island

June 28-July 8, 2018

In the Powerhouse Theater

By Liza Birkenmeier
Directed by Jaki Bradley

Scenic Design by Daniel Zimmerman
Costume Design by Tilly Grimes
Lighting Design by Bradley King
Sound Design by Broken Chord

Featuring: Pascale Armand, Kelly AuCoin, Birgit Huppuch, Maryann Plunkett, Adina Verson and Stephen Tyrone Williams

Ellen is an expert hostage negotiator facing her biggest challenges yet.  In this high-stakes thriller, she works from her rural childhood home to free an oil tanker from pirates – while also balancing her injured mother’s rehab, salvaging her crumbling love life, and tracking down a mysterious visitor from her troubled past.  Home life and international crisis converge in this inventive new play from Liza Birkenmeier, directed by Jaki Bradley (Good Men Wanted, 2017 Powerhouse mainstage production).

The Waves

July 19-29, 2018

In the Powerhouse Theater

Adapted from the novel by Virginia Woolf
Book by Lisa Peterson
Music and Lyrics by David Bucknam
Additional Music and Lyrics by Adam Gwon
Directed by Lisa Peterson
Creative Consultant Raúl Esparza

Scenic Design by Rachel Hauck
Costume Design by Michael Krass
Lighting Design by Jen Schriever
Sound Design by Nick Kourtides

Featuring: Ken Barnett, Raúl Esparza, Eleasha Gamble, Douglas Lyons, Alice Ripley, Lauren Worsham

Six childhood friends and their shifting relationships come vibrantly to life in this captivating chamber musical inspired by Virginia Woolf’s celebrated novel.  Over the course of one day - or is it a lifetime? - The Waves illuminates the interior yearnings, ambitions, and defeats of these extraordinary individuals with stirring choral music and Woolf’s signature text. Writer/director Lisa Peterson (An Iliad) and composer Adam Gwon (Ordinary Days) revisit and reimagine Bucknam and Peterson’s lush and layered musical, which premiered off-Broadway over thirty years ago.

Musical Workshops

Alice By Heart

July 5-7, 2018

In the Martel Theater, Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film

Book by Steven Sater with Jessie Nelson
Music by Duncan Sheik
Lyrics by Steven Sater
Directed by Jessie Nelson

Featuring: Alex Brightman, Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, Megan Masako Haley, Zachary Infante, Gizel Jimenez, J. Quinton Johnson, Lesli Margherita, Heath Saunders, Don Stephenson

When the madness of the world is too much to bear, we take refuge in the stories we love. In the rubble of the London Blitz, Alice Spencer’s budding teen life is turned upside down and she escapes with her childhood friend Alfred into their most cherished book. They journey down the rabbit hole to Wonderland, finding first love, loss, and courage to move forward, and their imaginations transform even the harshest circumstances. Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning creators of Spring Awakening, Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, reunite for their new musical inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, directed and co-written by Jessie Nelson (Waitress).

The Connector

July 13-15, 2018

In the Martel Theater, Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film

Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Book by Jonathan Marc Sherman
Directed by Daisy Prince

Featuring: Renee Albulario, Nick Blaemire, Alvin Crawford, Max Crumm, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Danielle Lee Greaves, Mylinda Hull, Daniel Jenkins, Jimmy Kieffer, Jeff McCarthy, Jessica Molaskey, Ana Nogueira, Eliseo Roman and Michael Winther

How true is true enough?

New York City, 1995.  Aspiring writer Ethan Dobson has his first article published by The Connector, a magazine with a storied history. As Ethan strives to be part of the magazine’s legacy, he navigates editors with god complexes, fact checkers with vendettas, proofreaders, lawyers, and the challenges of his own history. In this new musical, playwright Jonathan Marc Sherman (Women and Wallace), composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown (The Bridges of Madison County) and director Daisy Prince (The Last Five Years) tell a story about telling stories. What is the difference between facts and truth; journalism and entertainment? What happens when a gifted storyteller’s stories begin falling apart? Can anyone stop him?

Little Orphan Danny

July 25–26, 28, 2018

In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

Book, Lyrics and Music by Dan Finnerty
Created by Dan Finnerty and Sean Daniels
Additional music by Dan Lipton
Directed by Sean Daniels

Featuring: Dan Finnerty and Julie Foldesi

The hilarious and candid musical memoir of The Dan Band’s frontman Dan Finnerty: Growing up a small-town altar boy in a nice conservative family doesn’t always suit our adopted protagonist. Childhood outbursts of blasphemy in church only lead to pathetic adolescent attempts at playing sports.  But of the many lessons he’ll learn, none could prepare him to navigate the road ahead after the fateful day he and his mother meet the woman who gave birth to him.  An irreverent-yet-tender story of an adopted boy and the women who made him.

Cowboy Bob

July 27-29, 2018

In the Martel Theater, Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film

Created by Molly Beach Murphy, Jeanna Phillips and Annie Tippe
Music and Lyrics by Jeanna Phillips
Book and Additional Lyrics by Molly Beach Murphy
Additional Music by Alex Thrailkill
Directed by Annie Tippe

Featuring: Alex Brightman, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Alex Grubbs, Eric Lockley, Claire Rothrock, Kate Shindle, Felix Solis, Barbara Walsh and Amelia Workman

Peggy was a good neighbor, a good daughter, and a great bank robber. Disguised as a man in a fake beard and a ten-gallon hat, “Cowboy Bob” evaded detection for more than a decade. In a score that's equal parts Riot Grrrl rage and Texas two-step, the small-town legend inspires an assortment of competing wannabe rebels to claim her story as their own.

Inside Look Workshops

India Pale Ale

July 6-8, 2018

In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

By Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Will Davis

Featuring: Adeel Ahmed, Eshan Bay, Purva Bedi, Jay Charan, Anna Itty, Sophia Mahmud, Nate Miller, Shazi Raja and Lipica Shah

In a small Wisconsin town, a tight-knit Punjabi community gathers to celebrate the engagement of a traditional family’s only son, just as their strong-willed daughter announces her plans to move away and open a bar. One generation’s cherished customs clash with another’s modern-day aspirations and ancestors from the family's past haunt the present day, when one sudden event changes everything.  This smart, poignant and funny new play about legacy, life and pirates comes from the fresh voice of Jaclyn Backhaus (the award-winning Men on Boats), who teams up with director Will Davis (The Great Leap, 2017 Powerhouse Inside Look workshop).

Our Country

July 13-15, 2018

In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

Conceived by Annie Saunders and Becca Wolff
Direction and Dramaturgy by Becca Wolff
Additional Dramaturgy and Original Writing by Annie Saunders
Additional Devising by the company

Featuring: Max Hersey and Annie Saunders

“Who do you think decides what is a big deal and what isn’t?” Inspired by Sophocles’ Antigone and origin stories from the American frontier, Our Country is set in California’s marijuana country, our still-Wild West. Based on recorded conversations between Annie Saunders and her younger brother, and steeped in childhood memories and mythologies from Ancient Greece, this autobiographical creation recalls a time when we were young — as siblings, as a nation, and as a democratic system.

Readings Festivals

To request a reservation to one of our readings, call the box office (845-437-5599) during the following reservation periods:

Reading Festival 1: June 15-17 (Subscribers only), June 19-21 (Open to all)
Reading Festival 2: July 13-15 (Subscribers only), July 17-19 (Open to all)

Please note that the purchase of a full subscription gives you priority access to the readings reservations prior to the general public, but cannot guarantee reservations.

The Pain of My Belligerence

June 22, 2018

In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

By Halley Feiffer
Directed by Trip Cullman

Featuring: Michael Esper, Halley Feiffer, Vanessa Kai and Amaya Press

Twenty-something and brilliant, Cat is a journalist at the top of her game: tack-sharp and ambitious, and rapidly establishing her place in the field.  Until she meets Guy – magnetic, devilishly charming, and married -- and the attrition begins. Charting their spiky relationship over twelve years, following a rapidly changing America, Halley Feiffer’s harrowing comedy sheds light on how we perpetuate our roles within a patriarchal culture, and the promise of a new paradigm.

Lick O' the Knife

June 23, 2018

In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

By Jackie Roberts
Directed by Kent Gash

Featuring: McKinley Belcher, Carson Elrod, Walker Jones, J.D. Mollison, Christina Pumeriega and Carolyn Michelle Smith

Lick O’The Knife is a modern comedy in the tradition of popular 19th century plays. A ‘Black Swashbuckler’ that takes place over a wild 12 hours of drinking, poetry and love-making, the piece revolves around an imagined friendship between Russian poet Alexandr Pushkin and French writer Alexandre Dumas. It’s too often forgotten that these literary titans spoke openly of their experiences as Black men. This playful exploration of their bonds and rivalries, transposed to 1837, offers fresh perspectives into the dynamics of masculinity that we continue to inhabit in contemporary America.  

On That Day in Amsterdam

June 23, 2018

In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

By Clarence Coo
Directed by Kareem Fahmy

Featuring: Frankie J. Alvarez, Julian Cihi, James Cusati-Moyer, Justin Walker White and Rocky Vega

Two young men, an American backpacker and a Syrian refugee, meet in a gay club in Amsterdam and spend the next day together knowing their paths will never cross again. As they visit the former homes of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Anne Frank, they discover the meaning of love, art, and escape in the context of Europe’s current migrant crisis.


June 24, 2018

In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

By rupi kaur
Directed by Leah C. Gardiner

Featuring: Dahlia Azama, Mahira Kakkar, Nadine Malouf and Susannah Perkins

#1 New York Times bestselling author and illustrator, rupi kaur, explores a theatrical adaptation of her debut collection of poetry and prose, ‘milk and honey’, which received international acclaim and has been translated into over 30 languages. untitled takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

The Hole

June 24, 2018

In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

By Sarah Gancher
Directed by Danya Taymor

Featuring: Betsy Aidem, Brittany Allen, Heidi Armbruster, Marc Bovino, Jacob Faunce, Joel Marsh Garland and Andy Grotelueschen

The Hole (n): In a morning zoo radio show, the killjoy woman whose job is to tell the bad-boy comedians “come on you guys!” or “you’re so bad!”  As the comedians who coined the term describe it: “the hole is where comedy goes to die.”

When struggling comedian Rocky (short for Roxanne) joins her local morning zoo radio show, the station’s reigning bad boy shock jock won’t let her be funny—he insists on making her the show’s “hole.” So, Rocky takes over the show with methods initially admirable, but increasingly brutal and destructive. A play about feminism, revolution, and who is allowed to be at the center of our stories, from the writer of The Lucky Ones and Hundred Days, and former New York Stage and Film Founders’ Award Winner.

The North Star

July 20, 2018

In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

By Donja R. Love
Directed by Malika Oyetimein

Somewhere in North Philly the North Star shines bright. It lights the way for North, a Shakespearean-like rapper in his hood. But right after he lands a record deal his father is released from prison and he becomes forced to see the man that he always was.

The Dizziness of Freedom

July 21, 2018

In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

By Stephen Nathan
Directed by Daniella Topol

Roger is the last remaining tenant of an old apartment building scheduled for demolition to make way for a new shopping mall. At 75 and with a history of left-wing social activism, Roger has no intention of giving the corporate interests the satisfaction of moving without a fight – his last stand. A young attorney, Annie, shows up charged with the task of evicting Roger. What should be easy for Annie becomes a test of wills and integrity, which uncovers both of their fears and their gaping generational divide. But this battle also shows them their ability to to transcend their differences and ultimately what binds even the most intransigent pair of combatants.

The Purists

July 21, 2018

In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

By Dan McCabe
Directed by Billy Porter

A former rapper, a DJ, and a musical theatre fanatic have become unlikely stoop buddies in Sunnyside, Queens. When their friendly riffing about race, sexuality and music in America turns personal – and with the arrival of two up-and-coming female emcees – the trio must confront the changes to their purist ideals and question what it means to be authentic.

Melissa R and Dorothy Sue

July 22, 2018

In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

Book by Geoffrey Nauffts
Music and Lyrics by Jonatha Brooke
Directed by Sheryl Kaller

When two women learn they have been living in each other's lives for the past forty years, their journey towards who it is they were supposed to have been leads them to some old familiar and new and unexpected places.

The Training Company

Measure for Measure

July 13, 14, 15, 2018

In the Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns

By William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by Andrew Willis-Woodward

In a time that could be now and a place that could be here, a "fair, virtuous maid" is forced to plead to the government for her brother's life. Surely the stern, well-reputed Deputy will listen, without abusing his power over her. If not the Deputy, surely the all-powerful Duke, upon hearing her plight, will hear her without any thought for himself? If not the Duke, surely a lord, or some other official, or a friend, or even her brother? Questions of law, authority, power, and patriarchy are explored in a new ensemble adaptation of Measure for Measure, with music and movement created by the cast.

Free and open to the public. No ticket required.

As You Like It

July 20, 21, 22, 2018

In the Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns

By William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by Doug Paulson

Do you believe in love at first sight? …or too much of a good thing? What would happen if a family feud forced you out of familiar trappings and propelled you headlong into a world full of surprises? Follow Orlando, Rosalind, Celia and Touchstone into the forest of Arden to search for the banished Duke, and watch them as they discover so much more than they bargained for!

Free and open to the public. No ticket required.

I’m Trying to Tell You Something Important

July 5, 12, 19, 26, 2018

In the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

Composed and Directed by Max Reuben

Hello. Thanks for coming. Why don’t you take a seat? I have something to tell you. It’s important. It’s going to be hard to put it into words, but I’m going to do my best. Please keep an open mind. Don’t be scared, it’s nothing bad. It’s just... important. 

I'm Trying to Tell You Something Important utilizes the gestural composing language of Soundpainting to combine acting, music, movement, and storytelling to create a spontaneous, ensemble-based improvised performance about how hard it can be to say what we feel. 

Part of “Late Night at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center”.
Free and open to the public. No ticket required.


July 22, 23, 2018

In the The Mug in the College Center

By Ovid (Translated by Ted Hughes)
Directed and Adapted by Elizabeth Hess

A man is transformed into a woman by snakes. A boy drowns in his own image. A daughter smashes through taboos to mate with her father. A goddess aches to make love with beauty incarnate. A runner stumbles into love.

This is the world of Ovid’s Metamorphoses where dreams and desires erupt, collide and interact with the supernatural. Bodies are magically transformed, and psyches are suddenly altered as insatiable wants become feverish and frenzied. Mortals and gods commingle in the dark recesses of the Underworld or breathe in the intoxicating fumes of the Overworld. Extremes of passion drives these tales. Passion that is ecstatic. Passion that is doomed. Passion that is relentless. Passion that is irrational. Passion that is totally recognizable as being all too human.

Free and open to the public. No ticket required.

One Act Play Festival

July 25, 2018

In Sanders Auditorium

By Members of the Training Company

This night of new works is the culminating event for the writers of our Training Company. Along with their coursework, playwrights observe the process of bringing a script to life in professional rehearsal settings. With the help of a professional director, they implement their newfound knowledge to workshop a play from a body of work developed over the summer. Featuring performances from actors of the Training Company, each play reflects the writer’s unique voice and vision for the future of American theater.

Free and open to the public. No ticket required.

Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen

July 27, 2018

In the The Mug in the College Center

By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Members of the Training Company

Post-apocalyptic London, where the air is toxic and morale bleaker still. Vivian longs to move in with Mick, who remembers opening windows to hear the birds sing. Could a visit from Mick’s estranged son Claude be the salvation these weathered souls are seeking?

This production is the culminating event for the directors of our Training Company. Each director receives a portion of Caryl Churchill’s dystopian short Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen to craft and conceptualize individually. On performance night, the scenes come together and are performed in chronological order by actors from the Training Company. See how distinct visions become one extraordinary live theatrical event. 
Free and open to the public. No ticket required.