Vassar & New York Stage and Film’s 33rd Powerhouse season kicks off June 23 at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The annual summer development incubator for new works features projects by Lynn Nottage, Duncan Sheik, Lisa Kron, Sam Gold, Josh Radnor, and Stephen Trask, as well as the Broadway-bound new musical Diana from Memphis team Joe DiPietro, David Bryan, and director Christopher Ashley.
A host of Broadway and screen stars are featured in the Powerhouse lineup, which runs through July 30, including Lily Rabe, Krysta Rodriguez, George Salazar, Lindsay Mendez, Adam Chanler-Berat, and more.
The two mainstage productions are Josh Radnor’s bittersweet comedy about love and friendship Sacred Valley, directed by Sheryl Kaller (June 29 – July 9), and Kevin Armento’s Good Men Wanted, about the real-life renegade women who disguised themselves as men to fight in the Civil War, directed by Jaki Bradley and choreographed by Ani Taj (July 20–30).
See below for the full lineup, as outlined by Vassar & New York Stage and Film:
The musical workshop presentations will be:
Stilyagi (June 23-25)
Lyrics by Lisa Kron, music by Peter Lerman
Based on the motion picture The Hipsters, produced by Red Arrow Films
Directed by Michael Mayer
“This is musical about me, Mels Yefimovich Vasnetsov, about difficult time in my life when I was young (hard to believe) and good looking (harder to believe) in no-longer-existing world of 1950s Moscow, when I was pulled from promising future in Komosomol Leninist Youth Brigade by beautiful, corrupt and dissipated Stilyaga girl by name of Polly, who ruined my life in best and worst possible manner, which, to this day, I am not reconciling. Obviously, this is complicated Soviet story, not fit subject for frivolous American musical. But they ask for blurb so here is blurb so if you are interested, please, I invite you, come. But if you ask me this is terrible idea.”
This Ain’t No Disco (June 30 – July 2)
Music and lyrics by Stephen Trask and Peter Yanowitz, book by Rick Elice
Directed by Trip Cullman
Set against the garbage strikes, the grit, the graffiti of NYC 1979, This Ain’t No Disco tells the story of drifters and dreamers who search for their place in the night world of Studio 54 and the Mudd Club. Ultimately, it’s about finding community and purpose in a city where one’s fate can turn on a dime bag, where every few steps gives you a chance to pick a new direction, to take a new path.
The Secret Life of Bees (July 27-29)
Book by Lynn Nottage, music by Duncan Sheik, and lyrics by Susan Birkenhead
Based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd
Directed by Sam Gold
It’s 1964 in South Carolina, and restless white teenager Lily Owens wrestles with her controlling father and a haunting memory of her dead mother. When Rosaleen, her Black caretaker, is beaten and jailed for attempting to vote, Lily’s rebellious spirit is awakened and she and Rosaleen escape their circumstances on an adventure, to find the truth about her mother’s death. One portentous clue leads them to a colorful bee farm run by three eccentric and spiritual Black sisters, whose wisdom, warmth and motherly love help both Lily and Rosaleen grow and heal.
The ‘Inside Look’ Workshops will be:
The Great Leap (July 7-9)
By Lauren Yee
Directed by Will Davis
San Francisco, spring 1989. Manford Lum, locally renowned on the sidewalk basketball courts of Chinatown, talks his way onto a college team, just before they travel to Beijing for a "friendship" game. His background is a mystery, but he can sink 100 free throws in a row, so who cares? When they arrive, China is in the throes of the post-Cultural Revolution era, and Manford must juggle international politics and his own personal history. There’s more at stake on the court than just who wins or loses.
The Homecoming Queen (July 28-30)
By Ngozi Anyanwu
Directed by Awoye Timpo
A bestselling novelist returns to Nigeria to care for her ailing father, but before she can bury him, she must relearn the traditions she’s long forgotten. Having been absent for over a decade, she must collide with her culture, traumatic past, painful regrets, and the deep, deep love she thought she could never have.
The annual Readings Festival #1 will include Kid Prince and Pablo (June 24) by Brian Quijada; Ironweed (June 24) by William Kennedy and Jodie Markell, based on the novel by William Kennedy, directed by Jodie Markell; Little Orphan Danny (June 25) with book, music, and lyrics by Dan Finnerty, directed by Sean Daniels; Paris, Actors (June 25) by Hamish Linklater; and Jane Says (July 15) by Diana Son.
The Readings Festival #2 will include Amy and the Orphans by Lindsey Ferrentino, directed by Scott Ellis; Diana; The Fit by Carey Perloff, directed by Daniel Aukin; One Good Egg by Annie Evans, directed by Melia Bensussen; and Serious Moonlight by Adrienne Shelly, co-adapted by Liz Tuccillo and Andy Ostroy.