Vassar & New York Stage and Film Present Powerhouse Theater
By: Iris Wiener
It’s the 33rd anniversary of Powerhouse Theater, the collaboration between Vassar and New York Stage and Film that is known for birthing new stories that go on to theaters across the country and around the world. Remember Broadway’s Bright Star, written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell? What about John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt? Both projects were developed with Powerhouse Theater. In fact, the 2016 Tony Award winners for Best Play and Best Musical, Stephen Karam’s The Humans and Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, both have histories with Powerhouse.
This season has featured musical workshops of Lisa Kron and Peter Lerman’s Stilyagi with direction by Michael Mayer, and Stephen Trask, Peter Yanowitz and Rick Elice’s This Ain’t No Disco, directed by Trip Cullman. From July 27th through July 30th, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage (Sweat and Ruined) will be trying out the new musical The Secret Life of Bees, which is based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd. With music composed by Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), lyrics by Susan Birkenhead (Jelly’s Last Jam), and direction by Sam Gold (A Doll’s House, Part 2), it will surely be making its way to Manhattan theatre in the near future.
Powerhouse is also proud to present Inside Look Workshops. Still to come this season is Ngozi Anyanwu’s The Homecoming Queen, in which “a bestselling novelist returns to Nigeria to care for her ailing father, but before she can bury him, she must relearn the traditions she has long forgotten.” The workshop runs July 28th through July 30th.
For a really early look at exciting new work, Powerhouse Theater also features Readings Festivals. The first festival, which was held in June, featured work with Hamish Linklater, Leigh Silverman and Dan Finnerty (amongst others) at their helms. The second round begins this weekend, and features Serious Moonlight, which is written by and based on the film by Adrienne Shelly, and co-adapted by Liz Tuccillo and Andy Ostroy. Directed by Sheryl Kaller (Next Fall), Moonlight “centers on Louise, a high-powered attorney, whose husband Ian is planning to leave her for a much younger woman. Determined to save her marriage, Louise kidnaps Ian and sets out to make him love her again.” The reading takes place on July 21st at 8pm. Other readings include Annie Evans’ One Good Egg, July 22nd at 12pm, Carey Perloff’s The Fit, July 22nd at 5pm, Lindsey Ferrentino’s Amy and the Orphans, July 23rd at 12pm, and Joe DiPietro and David Bryan’s Broadway bound Diana, July 23rd at 5pm. Diana reunites the Tony-award winning team behind Memphis, with Christopher Ashley once again directing. The new musical focuses on the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, while tracing the path of young Diana Spencer’s dreams of marrying a prince. When her dream comes true she finds that he does not return her affection; instead, he has a mistress and a difficult family.
Visit https://powerhouse.vassar.edu/ for more information about these productions and other exciting programs.