powerhouse


  Michael Mayer is the Tony-Award winning director of plays, musicals, opera, and film and television who helmed the Broadway revival of Hedwig and The Angry Inch, and the original runs of the musicals of Everyday Rapture, American Idiot, Spring Awakening, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. He’s also directed revivals of A View From the Bridge, The Lion in Winter, After the Fall, and ‘night Mother. His breakthrough of sorts was Side Man.

 

Side Man had an early production in Poughkeepsie, NY at Vassar College and New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater -- it moved to off-Off-Broadway and then to Broadway winning the Tony Award for Best Play in 1999.

 

Michael Mayer has been coming back to Poughkeepsie in the summer for 20 years, working on shows in various stages of development and recently joining the New York Stage and Film board of directors.

He was in the Hudson Valley this summer working on a new musical entitled Head Over Heels which blends Sir Philip Sidney’s The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia with the music of seminal 80s girl-group, The Go-Go’s. Jeff Whitty is writing the book and Tom Kitt will provide musical supervision.


  It’s a Saturday in winter, somewhere in the suburbs, and a high school girls’ soccer team warms up for its indoor game. They stretch in sync – right quad, left quad, lunge – and their conversations spin around and off their turf, far outside the air dome bubble, and back again.

 

The Wolves, by Sarah DeLappe, is the second mainstage production this season presented by Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theatre. The production, directed by Lila Neugebauer, runs July 21st through July 31st.

 

The play was a recipient of the American Playwriting Foundation’s inaugural Relentless Award and a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Sarah DeLappe joins us to tell us more.

  Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s first Musical Workshop of this Powerhouse season is a brand-new adaptation of The Roar of the Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd. The production involves a commissioned by The Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City and is directed by Scott Ellis - responsible for Roundabout’s recent productions of She Loves Me and On the Twentieth Century.

The show will keep its original score by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley -- but replace the duo’s book with a new one by Santino Fontana.

Fontana co-stars as Greg on the CW’s musical television comedy, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. He was the voice of Hans in that tiny-little Disney movie, Frozen. Broadway and off-Broadway credits include: The Fantasticks, Sunday in the Park with George, Billy Elliot: The Musical, Brighton Beach Memoirs, A View from the Bridge, The Importance of Being Earnest, Sons of the Prophet, Act One, and Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella.

  Vassar and New York Stage and Film’s first main stage Powerhouse production this season is Lucy Thurber’s Transfers.

As two young men from the Bronx vie for acceptance to an elite college, their shared past threatens to overshadow their bright futures. Class, ambition, and expectations are called into question when higher education – and its life-changing potential – is just within reach.

Thurber is a Lilly Award winner and won a 2014 OBIE Award for her theatrical cycle, The Hill Town Plays. She was also a member of the influential Obie-winning playwrights’ collective, 13P.

Powerhouse Theater
Vassar College/ Tamar M. Thibodeau


  This month, Vassar College and New York Stage and Film’s summer Powerhouse season in Poughkeepsie, NY will present two fully staged productions, three Musical Theater workshops, two Inside Look workshops, and a number of readings. In addition to all of that, their training program is in full swing.

Ed Cheetham is the Producing Director of Powerhouse Theater at Vassar.

Poiwerhouse Theater
Vassar College/ Buck Lewis


  Since 1985, Vassar and New York Stage and Film have been partners in the Powerhouse season, a collaboration known for being the springboard for new stories that go on to theaters across the country and around the world. This year’s Tony Award winning and nominated shows The Humans, Bright Star, and Hamilton, can all claim incubation periods at Powerhouse.

 

The 2016 season began with a reading festival last weekend and its first main stage show, Transfers by Lucy Thurber, opened last night and runs through July 10th.

>Johanna Pfaelzer is the Artistic Director of New York Stage and Film and she joins us to talk about the 2016 season.

Shervin Lainez

  Duncan Sheik and Kyle Jarrow’s new musical, Noir, is the final Martel Musical of New York Stage and Film and Vassar College’s Powerhouse Theater season. Sheik and Jarrow previously worked together on the musical Whisper House.

Noir tells the tale of a heartbroken man in LA who discovers and involves himself in a mystery unfolding just beyond his paper-thin walls.

Duncan Sheik joins us to talk about Noir; the Deaf West Theatre production of Spring Awakening (his Tony Award winning show penned with Steven Sater) coming to Broadway in the fall and about his musical version of American Psycho (with book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa) which comes to Broadway early in 2016.

  Now through August 2nd, New York Stage and Film and Vassar College’s Powerhouse theatre presents The Light Years, a new play by award-winning play-making company The Debate Society.

Spanning 40 years and set at the Chicago World’s Fair, The Light Years has been developed over several years through the unique collaboration process The Debate Society Members writer/performer Hannah Bos, writer/performer Paul Thureen, and director/developer Oliver Butler.

Oliver Butler’s recent directing credits include Will Eno’s The Open House at the Signature Theatre Company - for which he won an OBIE Award for Direction; the New York City Center Encores! Off-Center production of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick, Boom starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr. and Karen Olivo and the world premieres of Daniel Goldfarb’s Legacy at the Williamstown Theatre Festival - which was part on their Nikos Stage mere days ago.

He joins us to talk about The Light Years, what is required from a director for a quick switch between projects, and audiences' intense reaction to musicals.

  Tonight through Sunday, Vassar & New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater presents a staged-reading of Rain - a new musical with book by Sybille Pearson and music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa. The musical is based on a 1920s short-story by Somerset Maugham and is directed by Barry Edelstein. Two stars of this weekend’s performances join us now - Jennifer Westfeldt and Jason Danieley.

Jennifer Westfeldt is a Tony Award nominee for her work in Wonderful Town. She’s also the writer and star of the indie-hit film Kissing Jessica Stein and the writer, director, and star of the film Friends with Kids. In addition to performing in Rain while in Poughkeepsie, Jennifer is also mentoring as part of Powerhouse’s eight-day Filmmakers' Workshop.

Jason Danieley played Frederich Kuhn in the recently closed Kander and Ebb musical The Visit on Broadway - a role he also played last summer at The Williamstown Theatre Festival. His other Broadway credits include Next to Normal, Curtains!, Full Monty, and Candide. Jason also frequently performs as a soloist with the nation’s leading orchestras.

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  New York Stage and Film and Vassar College's first Powerhouse mainstage show of this summer is Keith Byunin's The Unbuilt City. The production opened last night and runs through July 12th.

The show stars Beth Dixon and Carter Hudson and is directed by Tony Award nominee, Sean Mathias.

Writer, actor, and director, Sean Mathias directed the film Bent and numerous acclaimed plays all over the world - including London, New York City, Cape Town, Sydney, and Los Angeles.

Ky DiGregorio

  Chad strives to find his 15 minutes of fame, and discovers what he is really looking for along the way.

Based on the experience of Steve Rubell, co-owner of the New York City disco, Studio 54, 15 Minutes: A New Musical will be part of this weekend’s Reading Festival at New York Stage and Film and Vassar College’s Powerhouse Theater.

The show has a book by Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask and Peter Yanowitz.

The reading at Powerhouse stars Michael C. Hall, Derek Klena and Tony-Award winner for her portral of Yitzak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Lena Hall - who joins us to talk about rock, readings, choosing her path, and her love of Stephen Trask.

Sean Thomas / vogue.com

  Stephen Belber’s new play, The Dizzy Little Dance of Russell DiFinaldi, will be part of New York Stage and Film and Vassar College’s Powerhouse Theater’s Reading Festival this weekend.

A sprawling modern American epic about Russell DiFinaldi and his brother Jerry, two men trying to figure out what it means to do good in the world. David Cromer directs the reading and it stars Finn Wittrock.

Wittrock co-starred on American Horror Story: Freak Show and on HBO’s The Normal Heart. He was also in the most recent Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

    John Patrick Shanley is a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright, Oscar winning screenwriter, and theatre and film director. His works include Moonstruck, Joe Versus the Volcano, Welcome to The Moon, Savage in Limbo, Outside Mullingar, Doubt: A Parable - for stage, the title shortened to Doubt when it was adapted to film.

His new play, The Danish Widow, opens tonight in the Hallie Flanagan-Davis Powerhouse Theatre on the Vassar College campus in Poughkeepsie, NY. It’s the third mainstage show of the New York Stage and Film summer season.

  In Your Arms is a new play with love-themed vignettes written by Douglas Carter Bean, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Carrie Fisher, David Henry Hwang, Rajiv Joseph, Terrence McNally, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage and Alfred Urhy.

Christopher Gattelli, the Tony Award-winning choreographer of Newsies and South Pacific, and composer Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on This Island) bring the vignettes to life through music and dance - using the stories penned by the playwrights but not their words.

In Your Arms is the second Mainstage show of this summer’s New York Stage and Film Powerhouse Theatre season at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Christopher Gattelli joins us.

© Vassar & New York Stage and Film / Buck Lewis

    It's 1967 and a 38-year-old writer from bohemian Greenwich Village commutes to Levittown, on Long Island in New York, to teach an adult-education creative writing class. He finds anything but the cookie-cutter lives he expected in this straight-laced community, as his students come to discover the power of storytelling to transform their lives. And one special student – a kindred spirit? or something more? – reawakens him to his own artistic impulses.

The Babylon Line is a new play by Richard Greenberg, directed by Terry Kinney for New York Stage and Film and Vassar College's Powerhouse Theatre season. The production runs tonight through July 12th and stars Josh Radnor and Leslie Bibb who join us to tell us more.

THE LINDNER STUDIO LLC

    In 2008, the musical In The Heights was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and won Best New Musical, Choreography, Orchestrations, and Score. It was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and it introduced the world at large to the diverse and impressive talents of its writer, composer, lyricist, and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The writer, composer, actor worked with Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents on the 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story - specifically swapping out English lyrics for Spanish in portions of songs sung by the Puerto Rican characters; he performed in the City Center Encores presentation of Merrily We Roll Along in 2012; and he co-wrote the music and lyrics for Bring it On: The Musical - which was nominated for a Tony Award for Best New Musical this past Broadway season.

New York Stage and Film and Vassar College present A Musical Inspired by the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company as their second Martel Musical this Powerhouse season.

Trey Swieskowski, an idealistic young Brooklynite, fantasizes about becoming a superhero. Meanwhile, Astrolass (AKA “Astroman’s daughter”) is desperate to pack in her cape and escape the burden of her father’s legacy. When the two of them cross paths, they hatch a plan to change their lives forever.

Director Michael Mayer returns to Powerhouse to develop this exciting new musical and he joins us along with Peter Lerman (music and lyrics) and Simon Rich (book).

Buck Lewis / © Vassar & New York Stage and Film / Buck Lewis

    On the night of the Northeast blackout of 2003, six New Yorkers connect through interwoven stories. In the darkness, two strangers fall in love during an epic walk across Manhattan; an older couple marooned in their apartment must finally grapple with their past; and a conflicted Iraqi immigrant makes her way across the Brooklyn Bridge chasing memories of her lost son and her homeland through the shadows.

The play, by Mozhan Marnò is the second New York Stage and Film Mainstage show this Powerhouse season at Vassar College. Kate Whoriskey directs and Laura Innes stars. They joins us to discuss the piece.

Buck Lewis / Vassar & NY Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater

    There’s a riot on in Washington Square Park and a motley band of feckless, funny young men are spoiling for a fight. Against this backdrop of tribal loyalties and petty beefs, 18-year old Pnut McPartland has to pick sides and hustle his family and his friends just to stay alive.

Downtown Race Riot is a new play by Seth Svi Rosenfeld and it’s running at New York Stage and Film and Vassar College’s Powerhouse Theatre through July 7th. 

Murder Ballad is the second Martel Musical of this Powerhouse season. We speak with writer, Julia Jordan, and director, Trip Cullman.

We speak with actors Jennifer Westfeldt and Greg Kinnear about The Power of Duff.

The Power of Duff is the second Mainstage of this Powerhouse season. We speak with director, Peter DuBois, and playwright, Stephen Belber.

From Los Angeles company Teatro de Facto Fires are Confusing is written and directed by Zach Helm. We speak with Helm and actors Michael Chernus and Griffin Dunne.

A Powerhouse Inside Look, The House That Will Not Stand will run in the Susan Stein Shiva Theater July 20-22. We welcome playwright Marcus Gardley, director, Marion McClinton, and actors Harriett Foy and Dennis Parlato.

We speak with Patricia Phagan, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center’s Philip and Lynn Straus Curator of Prints and Drawings about Nature in America: Taming the Landscape.

We speak with Catharine Hill, the president of Vassar College.

We learn about the Powerhouse Apprentice Company from Tom Pacio, Emily Mendelsohn, Angela Dumlao (a Vassar student and Powerhouse directing apprentice), and Max Friedlich (a playwrighting apprentice).

We're joined by Johanna Pfaelzer, the Artistic Director of New York Stage and Film and Ed Cheetham, the Producing Director of Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College.

We begin our Powerhouse Theater broadcast from Vassar College by speaking with the Executive Editor of The Poughkeepsie Journal.