Taylor Mac

Powerhouse Theater Returns to Vassar

by Adele Jones

Everyone interested in theater will want to see as many offerings as possible as Vassar College and New York Stage and Film return for Powerhouse Theater’s 32nd season from June 24– July 31. Two of this year’s Tony-​​award nominees, Hamilton and Bright Star, began life at Powerhouse in 2013.

Continuing its exciting trajectory, the two mainstage productions this summer, Transfers, by Lucy Thurber, (June 30-​​July 10) and The Wolves, by Sarah Delappe, (July 21 – 31) are written and directed by women.

Lucy Thurber

Lucy Thurber

Lucy Thurber, Obie-​​award winning playwright (The Hill Town Plays, Scarcity) hopes to stimulate and participate in a discussion through Transfers about education in America and the transformative opportunities it can create. The play, in the context of interviews with two young men from the Bronx competing for admission to an élite liberal arts college, calls into question class, ambition and expectations as their shared past threatens to overshadow their bright futures. Jackson Gay (These Paper Bullets!) guides the production.

Sarah DeLappe

Sarah DeLappe

The Wolves, written by the winner of the inaugural Relentless award in honor of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, is a searing black comedy about the privilege and pain of nine American girls whose lives are consumed by the desire to win. Physically demanding, Delappe’s play is directed by Lila Neugebauer (Wayside Motor Inn, 4000 Miles, Kill Floor).

Taylor Mac

Taylor Mac

How to describe the spectacular A 24-​​Decade History of Popular Music, conceived, written, performed and co-​​directed by international award winner, Taylor Mac? This wildly ambitious, multi-​​year project charts the history of popular music from our nation’s founding to the present, focusing on one decade per hour. The culmination of this performance cycle is scheduled from noon to midnight on July 30, with emphasis on the decades from 1836 to 1956. Additional performances of works in progress on July 22 and 23 each feature three decades: 1836 – 46, 1856 – 66,and 1876 – 86. Audacious, fabulous Taylor Mac is assisted by music director Matt Ray, Co-​​director Neigel Smith and Costume Designer, Machine Dazzle.

The beloved 1965 musical, The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd, by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, has been adapted by Santino Fontana (Cinderella, 1776) and will be directed by 
Scott Ellis (She Loves Me, On the Twentieth Century). It plays for only three performances, July 7,8, 9, as a workshop at the Vogelstein Center. Still timely, it depicts the struggles of rich and poor in a British music hall setting with such classic songs as Who Can I Turn To?

Another Word for Beauty, with book by Academy Award® nominee José Rivera, music and lyrics by Grammy winner Héctor Buitrago, and direction by Steven Cosson, will receive its East Coast première following an acclaimed world première engagement at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. Set during a beauty pageant at Colombia’s notorious Buen Pastor prison, this new musical inspired by true stories is a soulful portrait of women who fight to transcend their dire circumstances.

John Patrick Shanley

John Patrick Shanley

Academy Award®, Tony®, and Pulitzer Prize winner John Patrick Shanley will return to Powerhouse with a reading of his latest comedy, The Portuguese Kid. The Readings Series will now also feature Stephen Belber’s We Are Among Us, Jocelyn Bioh’s Nollywood Dreams, Dan LeFranc’s Rancho Viejo, Stephen Nathan’s The Ways of Necessity, and Tim Blake Nelson’s Socrates,

Two “Inside Look” workshops will include the new play Fingersmith by Alexa Junge (“Friends” and “The West Wing”), an adaptation of Sarah Waters’ novel (short-​​listed for the Man Booker Prize) about a female pickpocket set in squalid Victorian England, with direction by Bill Rauch; and the return of Joanna Murray-​​Smith to Powerhouse, with her newest play Fury, with direction by Mark Brokaw.

All these and so much more!
For full performance schedules and tickets, go
here
Or call (845) 437– 5599.

Featured Image: Taylor Mac in A 24-​​Decade History of Popular Music
This and all images courtesy of Vassar and NY Stage and Film

 

 

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