Powerhouse Season, Featuring Abigail/1702, A Separate Peace and The Power of Duff, Begins June 22

By Adam Hetrick
22 Jun 2012

Todd Almond
Todd Almond

The New York Stage and Film's 2012 Powerhouse season, including works by Warren Leight, Todd Almond, Billy Porter and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, begins June 22 on the campus of Vassar College.

Fully staged works in progress include Abigail/1702, a new drama by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Spider-Man, "Glee"), which takes a page from The Crucible. David Esbjornson will direct (June 27-July 8).

The cast features Chloe Sevigny ("Big Love," "Boy's Don't Cry") as Abigail, Patrick Heusinger (Next Fall) as John Brown, Paxton Whitehead (The Importance of Being Ernest) as Judge/Rev. Parris/Man in Gray Suit and Laila Robins (Heartbreak House) as Elizabeth/Margaret Hale.

Also planned is Stephen Belber's The Power of Duff, directed by Peter DuBois (July 18-29). "Charles Duff, a news anchor in a mid-market backwater, has an unexpected spiritual awakening on live TV," according to press notes. "His prayers, and their answers, change his audience, his family, and his own life forever."



Concert readings of musicals in progress will include The Fortress of Solitude, conceived and directed by Daniel Aukin, with a book by Itamar Moses and a score by Michael Friedman (June 29-July 1). Based on Jonathan Lethem's novel, "this is the story of black and white America in the 1970’s, of two boys, Dylan and Mingus, of impossibly joyful afternoons of games in the street and of living in a society that you don’t belong to. This is the story of prison and of college, of Brooklyn and Berkeley, of soul and rap, of murder and redemption. And this is the story of what would happen if two teens obsessed with comic book heroes actually ... maybe … had superpowers."

Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash's Murder Ballad, which will be directed by Trip Cullman (July 27-29), is described as such: "A love triangle gone wrong, Murder Ballad centers on Sara, an Upper West Side mom who seems to have it all, but whose downtown past lingers enticingly and dangerously in front of her. This sexy, explosive, new rock musical explores the complications of love, the compromises we make, and the small betrayals that can ultimately undo us."

Semi-staged play workshops include Fires Are Confusing, by Eva Anderson, Will Berson and Zach Helm (July 13-15). Created by Teatro de Facto, "this highly theatrical piece combines dramatic invention and journalistic research to tell the real-life story of Cameron Todd Willingham. Scheduled for execution in the arson death of his children, Willingham awaits his fate while a scientist recreates his crime, casting shadows over Willingham’s conviction, and his community," according to Powerhouse.

Marcus Gardley's The House That Will Not Stand, a fresh adaptation of Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba, will be presented July 20-22. "After the mysterious death of her lover, Beartrice Albans imposes a period of mourning on her household, keeping her three daughters locked in the house to embroider linens," press notes explain. "But when the summer heat intensifies, a handsome bachelor comes calling, and a familial secret is revealed, the foundation of Beartrice’s house is rocked to its core. Set in New Orleans in 1836, this loose adaptation of Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba examines the complex system of plaçage – common-law marriages of white men and black Creole women. These free women of color became wealthy and powerful activists who fought against racial oppression pre-Civil War."

The readings festival includes 22 Seconds by Michelle Lowe, Big Sky by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros and Good Bread Alley by April Yvette Thompson (June 22-24); followed by A Separate Peace by Leight and Almond, Jerome by Ron Lagomarsino, The Twenty-Seventh Man by Nathan Englander, The Untitled World's Fair Play by The Debate Society and Billy Porter's While I Yet Live (July 27-29).

Apprentice program performances include The After Gallery (July 5, 12, 19), Julius Caesar (July 6-9), The Comedy of Errors (July 13-16), Media (July 20-23) and Erik Ehn's Burnt Umber (July 20).

For tickets, phone (845) 437-5599 or visit Powerhouse.Vassar.edu.