Powerhouse Theater season begins at Vassar

Vassar’s Martel Theater in the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film will be home to three musical workshops this summer. (Photo by Buck Lewis | Vassar & New York Stage and Film)

It’s time once again to peruse the lineup of plays in store for the summer season at Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater, presented in collaboration with New York Stage and Film. You know, Powerhouse: that place where, in 2013 alone, you could have caught workshop versions of both Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton and Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s Bright Star. If you’re not gifted with precognition, the surest way to anticipate what stage hit is in the making is simply to attend plenty of each summer’s offerings on the Vassar College campus.

The schedule for the season – running from June 20 through July 28 – can be viewed online at https://powerhouse.vassar.edu. The most instantly recognizable playwright being featured this summer is Pulitzer Prizewinner Beth Henley (Crimes of the Heart), whose new work, Lightning (or The Unbuttoning), is one of two Mainstage productions, running July 18 to 28, with Mark Brokaw directing. The other Mainstage feature is the bandaged place, written by Harrison David Rivers and directed by David Mendizábal, up June 27 through July 7. Both will be staged in the Powerhouse Theater.


The Martel Theater in the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film will be home to three musical workshops this summer. From July 5 to 7, you can catch Annie Salem: An American Tale, adapted from the novel by Mac Wellman by Tony Award nominee Rachel Chavkin, with music by Heather Christian. The Elementary Spacetime Show by singer/songwriter César Alvarez and Emily Orling follows from July 12 to 14, directed by Sarah Benson. The third musical workshop, running from July 26 to 28, will be Goddess, conceived and directed by Saheem Ali and written by Jocelyn Bioh, with music and lyrics by Michael Thurber and Mkhululi Z. Mabija.

The first of the summer’s two Inside Look play workshops runs from June 20 to 22 at the Martel Theater: …and the horse you rode in on, written by Zach Helm and directed by Kate Whoriskey. The Best We Could (a family tragedy) by Emily Feldman, directed by Daniel Aukin, will be staged from July 25 to 27 at the Susan Stein Shiva Theater.

Here are a few of this summer’s free readings of works-in-progress: The Notebook, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, with music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson and book by Bekah Brunstetter; The Excavation of Mary Anning by Ian August, directed by Sammi Cannold; Tuvalu or, The Saddest Song by Antoinette Nwandu, directed by Danya Taymor; The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin by Jessica Huang; Delusion by Proxy by Brooke Adams, directed by Ethan Silverman; and Sanctuary City by Martyna Majok, directed by Rebecca Frecknall.

Also offering free admission: Members of the Powerhouse Theater Training Program will present William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (July 12-14), adapted and directed by Devin Kawaoka, and The Winter’s Tale (July 19-21), adapted and directed by Andrew Willis-Woodward, both at the Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns. Members of the Training Company will present Keep Your Head Above Water so as Not to Sink: A Soundpainting Performance (July 4, 11, 18, 25), composed and directed by Max Reuben, at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, as well as workshop performances of From One to Another: Rites of Passage for our Times (July 21-22), created and directed by Emily Mendelsohn and members of the Training Company.

For more information, and to reserve tickets once they go on sale, visit the Powerhouse Theater website at https://powerhouse.vassar.edu/season.