Music of Ali Stroker, Leonard Bernstein & Warhol’s art at Vassar’s Modfest

Every winter since 2003, Vassar College has hosted a discipline-spanning festival known as Modfest, which celebrates the arts of the 20th and 21st centuries.

This year’s festival is organized around the concept of “Adapting.” It’s not immediately apparent how it applies to Andy Warhol’s personal aesthetic, other than his influence in terms of redefining the parameters of artistic perception. So maybe it’s a bit of a stretch to include “People are Beautiful: Prints, Photographs and Films by Andy Warhol,” the exhibition of 100 rarely seen portraits dated from 1964 to 1985 that opened January 26 at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, running through April 15.

The headline event for this year’s festival, which runs from February 1 to 11, encapsulates the “Adapting” theme more obviously. Ali Stroker, an actress, singer and activist who was the first wheelchair-bound performer to star in a Broadway production – as Anna in Deaf West’s 2015 revival of Spring Awakening – and has also appeared in Glee, will give a recital at 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 11 in the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film’s Martel Theater, followed by “Making Your Limitations Your Opportunities,” a moderated talk discussing Stoker’s work onstage and off.


Also on the Modfest roster are the second annual Adene and Richard Wilson Concert, featuring Vassar faculty, on Saturday, February 3 at 7 p.m.; “Music, Words and Images,” a program of performances and readings on Friday, February 2 at 7 p.m.; and “West Side Story:  The Mind and Music of Leonard Bernstein,” a lecture/recital by Dr. Richard Kogan on Sunday, February 4 at 3 p.m. All three concerts take place in the Skinner Hall of Music, as do two shows on Saturday, February 10: the Community Youth Concert at 3 p.m., featuring the Cappella Festiva Cor Capriccio & Treble Choir and Stringendo, and a student-run Cabaret Night at 7 p.m.

At the Frances Daly Fergusson Dance Theater in Kenyon Hall on Friday, February 9 at 7 p.m., the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre will perform world premieres by adjunct artist Leslie Partridge Sachs and returning graduate Alaina Wilson.

Admission to Modfest events is typically free-but-ticketed; contact the Vassar box office at or (845) 437-5599 or visit the college website at to make your reservations. Contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays through Fridays, at (845) 437-5370 if you have special accessibility needs. The Vassar campus is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie.