Works of Shanley, Ensler et al. Featured at Powerhouse Theater in 2010 Season

By: May. 12, 2010

Powerhouse Theater, a unique collaboration between Vassar College and New York Stage and Film, will enter its second quarter-century this summer, continuing its mission to offer a haven for world-class artists to gather and explore new material in an atmosphere that is both protected and challenging. The season - beginning June 25 through August 1, 2010 - will offer 20 new works, including world premieres by Oscar, Tony, and Pulitzer winner John Patrick Shanley, Tracy Thorne, Eve Ensler, Richard Nelson & Peter Golub, Steven Sater & Duncan Sheik, Patricia Wettig, and Jennifer Westfeldt, among many others.

One reason so many of these artists choose to return again and again to Powerhouse is its extraordinary audience, whose "intelligent, informed participation in the development of new work is unparalleled," according to New York Stage and Film artistic director, Johanna Pfaelzer. Each season Powerhouse offers its audience not only debuts by Pulitzer, Oscar, and Tony-winning writers, directors, and actors, but also affordable ticket prices, where the cost of a season subscription that includes 18 performances is equal to the cost of one Broadway ticket.

The Powerhouse Theater Mainstage performances present fully staged and designed works-in-progress each season.

The first work on the mainstage is an exquisite new play WE ARE HERE (June 29 - July 11) by actor and playwright Tracy Thorne, directed by Tony nominee Sheryl Kaller (Next Fall). Thorne's play offers a glimpse at three generations of a family, who possess wit, endurance, and compassion in the face of unimaginable loss - and they all sing.

Offering his 14th debut work at Powerhouse is Oscar, Pulitzer, and Tony Award-winning playwright and director John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck, Doubt), whose PIRATE (July 21 - August 1) will be the second offering on the mainstage. [Some of the Powerhouse audience may have seen this play last summer in its initial stage as a reading.] PIRATE is a funny, provocative, and wildly theatrical tale of a guy who keeps showing up. Shanley's protagonist appears a lot like Adolph Hitler, but Hitler is gone and Pirate is still with us.

The Martel Musicals, concert readings of works-in-progress, are offered each season in the acoustically superb, intimate 325-seat Martel Theater of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film, designed by Cesar Pelli.

This season a dynamic team from the "most perceptive political theater of the season" (New York Times' review of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) will offer the scrappy, hilarious, and though-provoking new musical BONFIRE NIGHT (July 16 - 18). With book, music, and lyrics by Justin Levine (music director, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and directed by Alex Timbers (writer and director, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) BONFIRE NIGHT will bring history alive through an eclectic blend of jazz, pop, rock, and gospel as a band of English Catholics revolt against the tyrannical King James. This musical was inspired by the true events of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot and the legendary radical Guy Fawkes.

The second offering on the Martel stage will be the newest project from Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer (Side Man, Spring Awakening, American Idiot)-a reincarnation of Alan Jay Lerner's and Burton Lane's ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER (July 29 - August 1), with a new book by Peter Parnell (QED, Trumpery, The Cider House Rules). Mayer and Parnell will provide a surprising new twist to this musical with a completely re-imagined book that will feature beloved songs, "Come Back to Me" and "What Did I Have That I Don't Have," among many others.
The Powerhouse Inside Look series offers semi-staged workshops in the intimate Susan Stein Shiva Theater. This season there will be four workshops, including:

SAM BENDRIX AT THE BON SOIR (July 1 - 3) by playwright Keith Bunin (Vera Laughed, The Busy World is Hushed), directed by Mark Rucker (Die, Mommie, Die!, The Lady in Question is Charles Busch) that offers a sharp and poignant look into the world of 1958 at a Greenwich Village nightclub; HANDBALL (July 9 - 11) by Seth Zvi Rosenfeld (Everything's Turning Into Beautiful, The Flatted Fifth) is a fresh and startling story of community, Culture Clash, and turbulence around change; MY LIFE WITH MEN - AND OTHER ANIMALS (July 16 - 18) by Italian performance artist Maria Cassi & Patrick Pacheco, directed by Peter Schneider (Sister Act: The Musical) and performed by Cassi, offers an exhilaratingly intensive course on love, seduction, death, and . . . olive oil, while exploding myths of Italian romance and womanhood; INTERVIEWING THE AUDIENCE (July 23 - 25) by Zach Helm (Good Canary, Stranger than Fiction, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium), inspired by Spalding Gray, Helm invites audience members on an intimate hilarious, and occasionally shocking journey in this improvised and interactive work.Each season, the ever popular (and free) Readings Festival open and close the season. This year there will be ten readings held in the intimate Susan Stein Shiva Theater during the 26th annual Powerhouse Theater season. While these are free to the public, reservations are strongly recommended.

Readings Festival 1 (June 25 - 27) will feature Bekah Brunstetter's A LONG HAPPY LIFE, Stephen Karam's SONS OF THE PROPHET, Zoe Kazan's THIS THING OF DARKNESS, Richard Nelson's & Peter Golub's UNFINISHED PIECE FOR A PIANO PLAYER, and Patricia Wettig's F TO M.
Readings Festival 2 (July 30 - August 1) will feature Eve Ensler's I AM AN EMOTIONAL CREATURE: the secret life of girls around the world, Romulus Linney's and Eleanor Cooney's OVER MARTINIS, DRIVING SOMEWHERE, Steven Sater's & Duncan Sheik's UMBRAGE, Kate Walbert's A SHORT HISTORY OF WOMEN, and Jennifer Westfeldt's screenplay FRIENDS WITH KIDS.

The Powerhouse Apprentice Company once again will offer their acclaimed performances of the classics at the scenic Outdoor Amphitheater overlooking Sunset Lake. The performances are free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary.

Early 20th-century American playwright Sophie Treadwell's expressionist theater classic MACHINAL (July 9 - 12) will be directed by Tomi Tsunoda.Shakespeare's romantic tragic tale of young lovers, ROMEO AND JULIET (July 16 - 19), which will be co-directed by Drew Cortese & Mark Lindberg.

One of the Powerhouse Apprentice Company highlights last season was the standing-room-only performance of Cheri Steinkellner's musical Hello! My Baby. This season, building on that success, New York Stage and Film co-founder and producing director Mark Linn-Baker will direct a collaboration between the Powerhouse apprentice and professional companies of one of his favorite musicals, 1940s RADIO HOUR. This will be presented as a concert reading on the stage of the Martel Theater of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film. Reservations are required, but there is no charge for this performance.

1940s RADIO HOUR (July 31) by Walter Jones is filled to the brim with favorite period songs. The 2010 version will whisk audiences behind the scenes of a live Hudson Valley radio broadcast in Poughkeepsie at Christmas-time in 1942.

What is an evening out at the theater without the chance to relax, pre- or post-performance, while enjoying and savoring a light meal and some wine or beer? Look no further this season as Powerhouse has expanded the offerings of its new favorite tradition: Café on the Quad.

Restaurants from Vassar's Arlington neighborhood will offer light tasting menus, and wine and beer, at Café on the Quad located by Ferry House, between the Powerhouse Theater and the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film. Each weekend a different restaurant will be featured:

Gigi's Hudson Valley (July 1 - 3)
Beech Tree Grill (July 8 - 10)
Twisted Soul Food Concepts (July 16 - 18)
Babycakes Café (July 22 - 24)
Dubliner Irish Pub (July 29 - August 1)
In addition, as concessionaire Bittersweet will offer a selection of its favorite sweet treats at all performances. Note cash only for Café on the Quad and concession. No reservations necessary. For more information, see the website for menus or call (845) 437-7645.

Subscription, Schedule, and Box Office Information
Season subscriptions, available online at beginning May 19, will cost $178.50 per person and will include admission to all shows: Mainstage, Martel Musicals, Inside Look series, and to the Reading Festival with individual advance reservations. There is also a matinee subscription for $59.50 that will include admission to any afternoon performance of the two mainstage shows and all 10 readings with individual advance reservations.

Individual tickets ($35 for "Mainstage"; $30 for "Martel Musicals"; $20 for the "Inside Look" series) will be go on sale online at and in person or by phone at the Powerhouse box office beginning June 2. The box office on the Vassar campus may be reached at (845) 437-7235 or (845) 437-5599.

This year, continuing its mission of presenting artistically exceptional and affordably priced performances, Powerhouse Theater will offer a $5 student rush ticket for students of up to 25 years of age [as available 15 minutes before curtain].

Additional details for the creative teams and casting will be announced throughout the season. For further information, see the website, friend Powerhouse on Facebook®, or follow Powerhouse on Twitter®.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. See for additional information.

About Powerhouse Theater
Powerhouse Theater, now entering its 26th season, is the result of a unique collaboration between New York Stage and Film and Vassar College. The program consists of an eight-week residency on the Vassar campus during which more than 200 professional artists and some 40 apprentices live and work together to create new theater works. Powerhouse steadfastly supports both emerging and established artists.

The annual residency has included such writers as John Patrick Shanley, Beth Henley, Henry Kreiger, Warren Leight, Christopher Durang, Richard Greenberg, Stephen Belber, Eric Bogosian, Steve Martin, Dael Orlandersmith, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater; directors Mark Brokaw, Joe Mantello, Lisa Peterson, Roger Rees, Liz Swados, David Warren, and Michael Wilson; and actors Chris Cooper, Dana Delany, Olympia Dukakis, Edie Falco, Peter Gallagher, Joel Grey, Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Johnston, Lucy Liu, Julianna Margulies, Rob Morrow, Frances McDormand, Josh Radnor, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Kyra Sedgwick, Fisher Stevens, David Strathairn, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, Jennifer Westfeldt, among many others.

Since its inception in 1985, Powerhouse has played a significant role in the development of hundreds 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 the Hudson Valley, the New York metropolitan area, and the surrounding region.

About New York Stage and Film
Founded in 1985 by Producing Directors Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer and Leslie Urdang, and now under the leadership of Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer and Managing Director Nicki Genovese, New York Stage and Film (SAF) is a not-for-profit company dedicated to the development and production of new works for theater and film. SAF has developed and produced premiere works by such writers as John Patrick Shanley, Jon Robin Baitz, Steve Martin, Theresa Rebeck and Eve Ensler (

About the Powerhouse Theater Apprentice Training Program
This year, around 40 student apprentices from across the U.S. and abroad will participate and form the 2010 Powerhouse Apprentice company. These young artists - current students, recent graduates, and future theater professionals - are provided with a distinctive opportunity to create their own new work as well as work on the development of theater and musical productions headed for Broadway and top-ranked theaters nations-wide. The educational experience is not replicated anywhere else in the country. Some of the program alumnae/i include Erin Buckley, Edward Cheetham, Katherine Kovner, Melissa Errico, Amy Fox, Catherine Kellner, Kate MacCluggage, Josh Radnor, Jordan Roth, Leah Ryan, Alexandra Tolk, and Jonathan Togo.

About Vassar College
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 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. Go to for directions to the Vassar campus.


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