THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES Musical, Starring Uzo Aduba, Begins Workshop Run Tonight at Powerhouse

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES Musical, Starring Uzo Aduba, Begins Workshop Run Tonight at Powerhouse

Vassar & New York Stage and Film's 33rd Powerhouse Season celebrates the opening of its highly anticipated musical workshop production of The Secret Life of Bees tonight, July 27, at 8 p.m. at the Vogelstein Center for Drama & Film, with performances continuing on Friday, July 28, Saturday, July 29, and Sunday, July 30. This is the final weekend of the season.

Two-time Emmy Award winner Uzo Aduba ("Orange Is The New Black") headlines the cast in the role of Rosaleen, joined by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Obie winner Eisa Davis ("House of Cards", Passing Strange) as June, Allison Blackwell (The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess) as May, Sophia Anne Caruso (Lazarus, The Nether) as Lily, Kecia Lewis (Dreamgirls, The Drowsy Chaperone) as August, Tony Honors recipient Ben Davis (La Bohe?me, Thoroughly Modern Millie) as T. Ray, and Odiseas Georgiadis as Zach, with an ensemble featuring Akron Watson (The Color Purple), Rory Donovan (Finding Neverland, Elf), and Peter Matthew Smith (Hairspray, Rent).

As previously announced, The Secret Life of Bees is based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd, and features book by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage (Sweat, Ruined), music by Tony Award winner Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening), lyrics by Tony and Drama Desk nominee Susan Birkenhead (Ain't Misbehavin'), and directed by Tony winner Sam Gold (Fun Home). Casting by Telsey + Company / Patrick Goodwin, CSA.

It's 1964 in South Carolina, and restless white teenager Lily Owens wrestles with her controlling father and a haunting memory of her dead mother. When Rosaleen, her Black caretaker, is beaten and jailed for attempting to vote, Lily's rebellious spirit is awakened and she and Rosaleen escape their circumstances on an adventure, to find the truth about her mother's death. One portentous clue leads them to a colorful bee farm run by three eccentric and spiritual Black sisters, whose wisdom, warmth and motherly love help both Lily and Rosaleen grow and heal.

The 33rd Powerhouse Season in Poughkeepsie, NY, is currently running through July 30, 2017. For tickets and more information on the season, visit Powerhouse.Vassar.edu.

Also Running in 33rd Powerhouse Season's Final Weekend:

Good Men Wanted (July 20 - July 30) by Kevin Armento
directed by Jaki Bradley choreographed by Ani Taj

Good Men Wanted brings to life the incredible true stories of renegade women who disguised themselves as men to fight in the Civil War. In a searing drama punctuated by explosive dance sequences set to contemporary pop music, five women of vastly different backgrounds become warriors and spies, endure prison camps and midnight raids, and ultimately intersect at America's most storiEd Battlefield, Gettysburg. These unsung heroes circumvented the limitations of their time, with a boldness that speaks loudly to our own.

The Homecoming Queen (July 28-30) by Ngozi Anyanwu
directed by Awoye Timpo

A bestselling novelist returns to Nigeria to care for her ailing father, but before she can bury him, she must relearn the traditions she's long forgotten. Having been absent for over a decade, she must collide with her culture, traumatic past, painful regrets, and the deep, deep love she thought she could never have.

Members of the noted Powerhouse Theater Training Program will also present a Workshop Performances of Not, Not, Not, Not, Not Enough Oxygen (July 28) by Caryl Churchill. Young actors, playwrights, and directors from around the country and internationally, along with an exceptional faculty of artists, comprise this important component of the Powerhouse artistic community.

Vassar & New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse collaboration continues to be the launching pad for some of the most groundbreaking new works for the American theater, with countless productions in New York City, regionally and internationally. Notably, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton and Stephen Karam's The Humans-2016 Tony® winners for Best Musical and Best Play, respectively-received early development at Powerhouse. Most recently, during its 32nd Season last summer, Powerhouse presented first-look productions of two daring new works that were just named finalists for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama: Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves, which moved directly from its Powerhouse premiere to a recent celebrated run at The Playwrights Realm in NYC; and Taylor Mac's A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. Among 30 other projects developed recently at Powerhouse with new or upcoming major productions: Richard Greenberg's The Babylon Line at Lincoln Center Theater; The Light Years at Playwrights Horizons; Ayad Akhtar's Junk at Lincoln Center Theater; and Anna Ziegler's The Last Match at the Roundabout Theatre Company.

Now in its 33rd 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 300 professional artists and 40 participants in the Powerhouse Training Program live and work together to create new theater works. In 2016, three productions that trace their developmental roots to Powerhouse ran simultaneously on Broadway - Hamilton, Bright Star, and The Humans - and in the 2016/17 theater season, ten projects premiered in New York City that had been developed and presented at Powerhouse: The Wolves (Playwrights Realm); The Babylon Line (Lincoln Center Theater); Rancho Viejo, The Light Years, and The Profane (Playwrights Horizons); Marry Harry (The York Theater); Nollywood Dreams (Cherry Lane Theater); The View Upstairs (Lynn Redgrave Theater); The Mother of Invention (Abingdon Theatre Company); and Taylor Mac's epic A 24- Decade History of Popular Music (St. Ann's Warehouse). Later this year, they will be joined by Ayad Akhtar's Junk (Lincoln Center Theater on Broadway) and Anna Ziegler's The Last Match (Roundabout Theatre). 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.

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 www.newyorkstageandfilm.org.

Vassar College (Ed Cheetham, Michael Sheehan, 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.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride


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