Songwriter Duncan Sheik is a hot property these days. His musical adaptation of American Psycho, Breton Easton Ellis’ controversial 1991 novel about a Wall Streeter who may be a real serial killer or may be just a guy with a vividly gruesome imagination, is headed for Broadway next year following a London run starring the Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith. His Grammy, Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning 2006 alt/folk/rock musical Spring Awakening will have its first Broadway revival this fall, and its long-rumored movie version is currently in search of a director. He’s reportedly working on a musical adaptation of the children’s classic Because of Winn-Dixie (starring a dog), and has a new studio LP titled Legerdemain scheduled for release this fall.
But all that busyness isn’t stopping him from tinkering with another new opus in development at Vassar College/New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater this summer. This weekend, as its third and final Martel Musical Workshop of the 2015 season, Powerhouse will present four performances of Noir, a collaboration between Sheik and Kyle Jarrow, with whom he previously worked on Whisper House.
Described as “lush and mysterious,” Noir sounds like a tale inspired by Hitchcock’s Rear Window, but with more of an auditory than a visual focus: “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.” Noir also promises to be yet another demonstration of the current trendiness of stageworks inspired by mid-20th-century live radio theater, in which audiences are treated to an opportunity to witness a Foley artist at work generating sound effects.
The cast includes Lillie Cooper, Daniel Everidge, Kristine Haruna Lee, Kevin Mambo, John Schiappa, Theo Stockman and Samantha Ware, and Rachel Chavkin directs. Evening performances in the Martel Theater of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film on the Vassar campus will begin at 8 p.m. this Friday and Saturday, July 31 and August 1, and at 7 p.m. this Sunday, August 2. There will also be a 2 p.m. matinée on Sunday. Tickets cost $30 each. To order or for more information, call the box office at (845) 437-5907 or visit https://powerhouse.vassar.edu.
Powerhouse Theater presents Duncan Sheik’s Noir, Friday/Saturday, July 31/August 1, 8 p.m., Sunday, August 2, 2 & 7 p.m., $30, Martel Theater, Vogelstein Center for Drama & Film, Vassar College, 124 Raymond Avenue, Poughkeepsie; (845) 437-5907, https://powerhouse.vassar.edu.