New Works by Duncan Sheik, Stephen Trask & More Set for Vassar's 2015 Powerhouse Season

Vassar and New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater announces its 31st year of championing new works, with a full season of stories that take audiences from a South Sea island to center court at the US Open and beyond. Running June 26 to August 2 at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY the complete lineup of two mainstage plays, three musical workshops, two play workshops, and a two-part reading series includes: a new play by award-winning company The Debate Society, new musicals by Michael John LaChiusa and Duncan Sheik, an unforgettable evening of Tennessee Williams-inspired short plays by six leading playwrights, including John Guare and Beth Henley, directed by leading Williams authority Michael Wilson, a new Rick Elice and Stephen Trask musical, new plays by Nicky Silver and Ayad Akhtar, apprentice company performances, and more.

Casting will be announced at later dates. Subscriptions will be available online May 12, and single tickets will go on sale online May 26. For additional information and a full schedule of events, visit:

Johanna Pfaelzer, New York Stage and Film's Artistic Director, said: "As we celebrate the extraordinary successes of past Powerhouse projects in NYC and around the country this year, we eagerly anticipate the arrival of this enormously exciting group of theater artists for our 31st Powerhouse season."


Mainstage Productions:

THE UNBUILT CITY | July 1 - July 12
By Keith Bunin
Directed by Sean Mathias

On a cold afternoon in February, Jonah knocks on the door of a townhouse in Brooklyn Heights. He's come to persuade Claudia to sell her famously secret art collection to a university archive. Instead she turns the tables and reveals to him a series of mysteries about the nature of love, legacy and the untold history of the city.

Keith Bunin (The Busy World is Hushed, The Credeaux Canvas, Sam Bendrix...) returns to Powerhouse with this world premiere directed by Tony Award nominee Sean Mathias (Indiscretions, Waiting for Godot/No Man's Land).

THE LIGHT YEARS | July 23 - August 2
Written by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen
Developed and Directed by Oliver Butler
Made by The Debate Society

The award-winning play-making company The Debate Society (Jacuzzi, Buddy Cop 2, Blood Play) crafts a haunted love story spanning 40 years. Set at the Chicago World's Fairs of 1893 and 1933, The Light Years revolves around Steele MacKaye, a forgotten visionary theatrical impresario commissioned to design and build the Spectatorium, a 12,000 seat theater at the 1893 fair. His audacious vision - and its life-changing consequences - paint a spectacularly vivid world of forgotten futures and the indomitable spirit of invention.

Musical Workshops:

RAIN | July 10 - 12
Book by Sybille Pearson
Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
Based on the short story by Somerset Maugham
Directed by Barry Edelstein

1924. Two married couples find themselves quarantined on a small island in the South Pacific during a torrential storm. Enter Sadie Thompson, a woman with a dark past and a bottle of good whiskey. Secrets are revealed and sexual tensions ignite and explode in this new musical adaptation of the classic Somerset Maugham story.

From five-time Tony-nominated composer and lyricist Michael John LaChiusa (Giant, The Wild Party, Marie Christine), Tony-nominated writer Sybille Pearson (Baby, Giant) and director Barry Edelstein (Nathan Englander's The Twenty-Seventh Man, Steve Martin's The Underpants).

LOVING V. VIRGINIA | July 17 - 19
Book and lyrics by Marcus Gardley
Music composition by Justin Ellington
Direction and additional lyrics by Patricia McGregor
Conceived by Patricia McGregor

A soulful, period musical set in the early days of the civil rights movement. In 1958, Mildred and Richard Loving, a black woman and white man, married in Central Point, Virginia, violating their state's laws against miscegenation. Their Romeo and Juliet love story ignited a firestorm in their communities, and sparked a landmark Supreme Court case. Their love -- and their fight - paved the way for future generations to seek equality.

From the award-winning team of Marcus Gardley (The House That Will Not Stand, Every Tongue Confess), Justin Ellington (The Seven, Stagger Lee), and Patricia McGregor (Hurt Village)

NOIR | July 31 - August 2
Music by Duncan Sheik
Book by Kyle Jarrow
Lyrics by Kyle Jarrow and Duncan Sheik
Directed by Rachel Chavkin

A heartbroken man never leaves his apartment, consoled only by the music on the radio. Through the thin walls, he hears almost every word of the couple next door-and before long, his eavesdropping becomes an obsession. Soon he finds himself drawn into a web of lust, lies, deceit and danger.

Tony and Grammy Award-winning composer Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening, American Psycho) collaborates with Kyle Jarrow (Whisper House, A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant) and Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812) on this lush and mysterious new musical inspired by radio plays and classic film noir.

Inside Look Play Workshops:

DESIRE | July 2 - 5
by Elizabeth Egloff, Marcus Gardley, Rebecca Gilman, David Grimm, John Guare, and Beth Henley Directed by Michael Wilson

Six of our best contemporary playwrights collaborate in a unique evening of short plays, inspired by a master American storyteller. Many of Williams's stories were early sketches for his celebrated plays, and capture the same roiling emotions of people at life's turning points, clinging to love to salve their lost innocence or their shadowy loneliness. Celebrated director Michael Wilson (The Orphans Home Cycle, Broadway's The Trip to Bountiful) returns to Powerhouse where his prior work includes Mother of Invention, Mr. Melancholy and Servicemen.

THE LAST MATCH | July 17 - 19
Written by Anna Ziegler
Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch

The semifinals of the U.S. Open are underway. Sergei Sergeyev, an up-and-coming Russian phenom, and Tim Porter, a great American superstar in the twilight of his career, do battle under the lights on center court. As the intense, back-and-forth action unfolds, Anna Ziegler (Photograph 51, BFF) and Gaye Taylor Upchurch (Bethany, Simon Stephens' Bluebird) take us inside the minds of these two extraordinary players to contemplate athleticism, masculinity and marriage. And by match point, much more has been won and lost than a game of tennis.

Reading Festival #1 | June 26 - 28

Junk by Ayad Akhtar, directed by Doug Hughes

a boy put this girl in a cage with a dog and the dog killed the girl by Clare Barron

The Dizzy Little Dance Of Russell DiFinaldi by Stephen Belber

The Profane by Zayd Dohrn

15 Minutes Book by Rick Elice, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Trask & Peter Yanowitz, directed by Trip Cullman

Reading Festival #2 | July 31 - August 2

The Brother(s) by Colman Domingo

Open Road Music and lyrics by Paul Scott Goodman, Book by Paul Scott Goodman & Joseph Hendel

Talk To Me Of Love by Meghan Kennedy

White Noise, White Light by Nicky Silver

Plus additional projects to be announced soon.

The season also includes productions by participants in the noted Powerhouse Theater Training Program. Young actors, playwrights, and directors from around the country and internationally, along with an exceptional faculty of artists, comprise an important component of the Powerhouse artistic community.

Now in its 31st year, Powerhouse Theater is a collaboration between New York Stage and Film and Vassar College 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 50 apprentices in the Powerhouse Training Program live and work together to create new theater works. Recent highlights at Powerhouse include Lin-Manuel Miranda's Broadway-bound Hamilton; Bright Star, an original musical from Steve Martin and Edie Brickell; The Fortress of Solitude, Itamar Moses, Michael Friedman and Daniel Aukin's musical adaptation of the best-selling novel by Jonathan Lethem, and Richard Greenberg's The Babylon Line. Many additional shows from past seasons have found their way to Broadway, Off-Broadway, and theaters nationwide, including Stephen Karam's Sons of the Prophet and The Humans (Roundabout Theater); The Invisible Hand by Ayad Akhtar (NYTW), Found by Hunter Bell, Lee Overtree and Eli Bolin (Atlantic Theater Co), Michael Mayer and Peter Lerman's Brooklynite (Vineyard Theater), Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash's Murder Ballad (Manhattan Theater Club); and Pulitzer finalist Nathan Englander's The Twenty-Seventh Man (The Public Theater; Old Globe Theater);. Other projects developed at the Powerhouse include the Tony Award-winning Side Man and Tru; the multi-award-winning Doubt by John Patrick Shanley; the groundbreaking Broadway musical American Idiot, and A Steady Rain, produced on Broadway in 2009 with Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig.

New York Stage and Film (Johanna Pfaelzer, Artistic Director; Thomas Pearson, Executive Director; Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer, Leslie Urdang, Producing Directors) 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 (Ed Cheetham, Tom Pacio, Producing Directors) 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 sciences, 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.

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