Billy Porter's New Gospel Musical SANCTUARY to Stream as Part of New York Stage and Film's 2021 Summer Programming

Sanctuary invites audiences to fellowship and to learn how to spread the love, through the power of gospel music.

By: Jul. 07, 2021

Billy Porter's New Gospel Musical SANCTUARY to Stream as Part of New York Stage and Film's 2021 Summer Programming

New York Stage and Film announced additional programming for their upcoming summer season, running July 17-August 2, with in-person programming in Poughkeepsie. Additional programming includes Billy Porter's new Gospel musical Sanctuary as part of New York Stage and Film's Always On video programming July 29-August 2; as well as residencies for the New York Stage and Film Filmmakers' Workshop, The Lark international theater laboratory, and several artists-in-residence.

"New York Stage and Film supports many communities of artists and we are so grateful we are able to bring them safely together," said Artistic Director Chris Burney. "Participants from our celebrated Filmmakers' Workshop will come together after having spent weeks working online. Theater makers and multi-hyphenate artists from our Nexus program will be able to share creative process. We are grateful to our community partners at Marist, Vassar and Revel 32º for helping us launch this new creative work in the Hudson Valley. In every conversation, artists cannot wait to work together and in-person again."

What is God? God is love! Plain and simple. SANCTUARY, with book by Billy Porter and music and lyrics by Kurt Carr, invites audiences to fellowship and to learn how to spread the love, through the power of gospel music. Love is God. This special virtual presentation includes performances by Deborah Cox, Bryan Terrell Clark, Ledisi, and Virginia Woodruff with Broadway's Inspirational Voices, led by incoming Artistic Director Allen René Louis. Sanctuary will be available from July 29 to August 2. Tickets will be available on a pay-what-you-can basis at

"I'm really grateful to New York Stage and Film because they were the first to step up and see me as a creator," said Billy Porter. "I had made a name for myself and I had a reputation as a performer. Sometimes the transition from being in front of the camera, to going behind the camera is really tough. It takes people with vision to see it and New York Stage and Film was the first to see it in me and encourage me to continue to find my own creative voice."

To celebrate the reopening of NYSAF's Summer Season and to make the work available to all, all tickets for presentations at Vassar and Marist Colleges will be Pay-What-You-Can. The box office is now open. For more information, visit Tickets for South at Revel 32 ° are available for purchase at

Throughout the summer in Poughkeepsie, artists and artistic teams work on projects with the support of New York Stage and Film.

Artists-in-Residence include participants from the inaugural NEXUS cohort: Elisa Bocanegra, Shayok Misha Chowdhury, Jennifer Gibbs, Joanna Castle Miller and Phanésia Pharel; the 2020 Founders' Award Recipient, Kirya Traber; the 2020 Pfaelzer Award Recipient Estefanía Fadul; the 2021 Leo Shull Musical Fellowship Recipient Sivan Battat (in collaboration with The Drama League); as well as Chris Darbassie, Kareem Fahmy, Keelay Gipson, Jacinth Greywoode, Jessica Huang, Kameron Neal, Doron JéPaul Mitchell, Julius Pryor IV, Dominique Rider, Paul Oakley Stovall, Sam Salmond, Will Steinberger, and more to come.

The Filmmakers' Workshop of New York Stage and Film, running July 27-August 1, will bring participants together at Marist College for a five-day workshop intensive. The time will focus on television and film workshops led by industry professionals. Participants include Nancy Bannon, Jason Begue, Rob Bellon, Anika Benkov, Yakira Chambers, Kim Dempster, Jenny Halper, Alessandro King, Guru Ramanathan, Traven Rice, Charia Rose, and Shawn Snyder.

The Lark international theater laboratory will be in residence for one week in July bringing writers from their community for intense play development, Brittany Allen, A.A. Brenner, Nora Brigid Monahan, Edison Diaz, Jahna Ferron-Smith and Xavier Galva.

For 37 years, NYSAF has operated as a vital incubator for artists and their work, a catalyst for stories that continue across the country and around the world. With artist-driven flexibility, resources and opportunities are shaped to meet projects at every step of their development. NYSAF is eager to gather once again, reaffirmed in the commitment to supporting the nation's leading generative artists in the creation of innovative and bold stories for the stage and the screen. In partnership with Vassar College, Marist College, and Revel 32 °, NYSAF will serve the needs of theater and film artists today, bringing them safely together in community to generate new stories and reconnect with one another and audiences.


NYSAF's 2021 Summer Season will kick-off with an outdoor event at Vassar College which has historically hosted the annual Powerhouse Season. Taking full advantage of the campus grounds, guests will be welcomed to the Outdoor Amphitheater for a concert presentation of songs from Mexodus by Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson.


Co-created and Performed by Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson

July 17 at 7:00 p.m. at Vassar College: Outdoor Amphitheater

July 24 at 3:00 p.m. at Marist College: Cornell Boathouse Outdoor Tent

MEXODUS is a concept album inspired by the estimated 4,000-10,000 enslaved people in the Southern part of the United States who pursued a journey into Mexico instead of looking north. This under-told chapter of the Underground Railroad is an exploration of Black and brown bodies standing together against oppression.

NYSAF's 2021 Summer Season will be further enriched by an inaugural collaboration with Revel 32 °, a historic music venue in the heart of Poughkeepsie.


Created by Florencia Iriondo

Book, lyrics, music: Florencia Iriondo
Music by Luis D'Elias

Arrangements by Federico Diaz

July 23-24 at 8:00 p.m.; Doors open at 7:00 p.m. at Revel 32 °

Inspired by her experiences as a Latina living in the US, SOUTH is an original, one-woman musical by Florencia Iriondo about finding one's roots and the place called home.

NYSAF's 2021 Summer Season artistic community campus will be centered at Marist College, where they will house artists participating in musical workshops, residencies, as well as the Filmmakers' Workshop. Overlooking the Hudson River, audiences will join artists at an outdoor tent located next to the historic Cornell Boathouse for developmental presentations of musical works-in-progress.


Book by Melissa Li and Kit Yan

Music and Lyrics by Melissa Li

Poetry and Additional Lyrics by Kit Yan

Directed by Jesca Prudencio
July 25 at 3:00 p.m. at Marist College: Cornell Boathouse Outdoor Tent

Fueled by his desire to connect with the Queer Asian community, transgender slam poet Dash goes on a cross-country tour with his best friend Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter. News of the tour reaches Henry, a transgender teenage blogger from Kentucky, who finds inspiration and solace in the band's political and personal music as he explores his own relationship to gender. INTERSTATE is a Queer Asian-American pop-rock musical about two trans people at different stages of their journeys navigating love, family, masculinity, and finding community in the era of social media.


Book, Music and Lyrics by Michael R. Jackson

Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz

July 31 at 7:00 p.m. and August 1 at 3:00 p.m.

Marist College: Cornell Boathouse Outdoor Tent

White Girl In Danger, a new musical from Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael R. Jackson (A STRANGE LOOP), is the story of Keesha Gibbs, a young woman who lives in the "Blackground" of a melodramatic soap opera town called Allwhite. Tired of repetitive Blackground stories of enslavement and police violence, Keesha sets out to become Allwhite's leading heroine by appropriating the storylines of her three main rivals, Meagan, Maegan and Megan. But as she gains power for herself, she also attracts the attention of the Allwhite Killer, putting her story and her life in more danger than ever. A thrilling, binge-worthy and wildly funny dark new musical satire.

NYSAF Hosts The Hudson Valley Performing Arts Laboratory

In Process With The Local Community at Marist College:

The Hudson Valley Performing Arts Laboratory presents
(a two-night collaborative event)

Thursday, July 22nd
6:00-8:00 p.m. workshop

Thursday, July 29th
6:00-8:00 p.m. performance

The Lab invites our Hudson Valley community to join us for two nights of play and performance. On July 22nd, we begin with a monologue and songwriting workshop focusing on the topic of Summer in the Hudson Valley. The following Thursday, July 29th, workshop participants perform monologues and songs from the stage. You must attend the in-person workshop to perform. RSVP:



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