Vassar & New York Stage and Film's 2016 Powerhouse Season to Feature New Works by Lucy Thurber, Taylor Mac & More
Vassar & New York Stage and Film have announced a few of the projects tapped for the upcoming 32nd Powerhouse Season, the annual summer season which stages full productions of new plays, workshop presentations of new plays and musicals, and readings of other works in progress, among other developmental programming.
The Powerhouse Season is a hotbed for the development of many of the hottest recent theater productions on record including three current Broadway hits: Lin-Manuel Miranda's much-ballyhooed opus Hamilton, Stephen Karam's haunting domestic drama The Humans, and the just-opened Steve Martin/Edie Brickell musical Bright Star, all of which had early development presentations at Powerhouse.
Running June 24 to July 31 at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, the upcoming 32nd Powerhouse Season will be headlined by two fully-staged productions of new plays written and directed by women: Transfers (June 30 - July 10) written by Lucy Thurber and directed by Jackson Gay, and The Wolves (July 21 - July 31) written by Sarah DeLappe and directed by Lila Neugebauer.
The musical workshop presentations will include Taylor Mac's first-ever 12-hour marathon performance of material from A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, co-directed by Mac and Niegel Smith, for one day only, July 30, noon to midnight. In this wildly ambitious, multi-year project, Mac charts the history of popular music in America from the nation's founding in 1776 to the present day.
Another major feature of the musical workshops at Powerhouse will be a new adaptation of Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley's The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd by Santino Fontana, best known on Broadway for his Tony nominated work in Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella as well as acclaimed work in Act One, among many others. Fontana has been commissioned by Roundabout Theatre Company to adapt this classic work. He will also star in the workshop.
Artists with extensive stage and screen backgrounds will also be featured this summer, including Emmy-nominated star of "Mad Men" John Slattery who will direct a reading of Lorien Haynes' new play Good Grief; and "How I Met Your Mother" star Josh Radnor, a Powerhouse regular who will bring his first-ever play, Sacred Valley, to the Reading Series.
Additionally, the Powerhouse Season will provide an artistic residency for the new musical Head Over Heels, with a book by Jeff Whitty and music by The Go-Go's, directed by Michael Mayer with musical supervision by Tom Kitt. Mayer and Kitt did a similar collaboration during the development of the Green Day musical American Idiot at Powerhouse. This residency will not be presented to the public.
Members of the noted Powerhouse Theater Training Program will present Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway, adapted and directed by Mark Lindberg while Andrew Willis-Woodward will direct a reimagining of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. 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.
The Powerhouse Season is a vital incubator for artists and their work, and can count over twenty projects which recently had or will soon have major productions, including: The Fortress of Solitude, by Michael Friedman and Itamar Moses (Public Theater & Dallas Theater Center); Michael John LaChiusa and Sybille Pearson's Rain, The Last Match, by Anna Ziegler, and In Your Arms (The Old Globe); Found, by Hunter Bell, Eli Bolin & Lee Overtree (Atlantic Theater Company, Philadelphia Theater Co.); Ayad Akhtar's Junk (La Jolla Playhouse) and The Invisible Hand (New York Theatre Workshop); Hadestown, by Anais Mitchell (NYTW); Dry Land, by Ruby Rae Spiegel (Colt Coeur at HERE); The House That Will Not Stand by Marcus Gardley (Berkeley Rep, Yale Rep); Big Sky by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros (The Geffen); and Ripcord, by David Lindsay-Abaire (Manhattan Theatre Club).
Casting and additional projects will be announced at a later date. Subscriptions will be available online May 12, and single tickets will go on sale online May 17.
Now in its 32nd 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 40 participants in the Powerhouse Training Program live and work together to create new theater works. Recent highlights at Powerhouse include Lin-Manuel Miranda's 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 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. www.vassar.edu
Photo by Walter McBride