Powerhouse Season Includes Premieres by Steve Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hunter Bell and More
By Adam Hetrick
Bright Star, a new musical by comedian-actor-musician Steve Martin and Edie Brickel, as well as the Lin-Manuel Miranda hip-hop piece The Hamilton Mixtape are on the bill for the 2013 Powerhouse Theater Season, presented by New York Stage and Film and Vassar College, this summer in Poughkeepsie, NY.
Concert readings of musicals in progress include Bright Star, which features a score by Martin ("SNL," "Father of the Bride," "The Jerk") and Brickell of the New Bohemians. It has a book Martin, who is also the playwright of Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie (Chicago, Venus in Fur) will direct the July 12-14 production.
According to the Powerhouse, the team will "bring to life a stirring story set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The story takes us between 1945 and 1922, as a young man returns from war and uncovers hidden yearnings and dark secrets about his past. Features a live bluegrass score including songs from Brickell and Martin's new album 'Love Has Come for You.'"
Tony-winning director Michael Mayer (American Idiot, Side Man) will stage a new, untitled pop musical inspired by the Brooklyn Hero Supply Company. It has a book by Simon Rich, music and lyrics by Peter Lerman, and is based on characters created by husband and wife writing team Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman. It will be staged July 26-28.
Here's how it's billed: "Trey Swieskowski, an idealistic young Brooklynite, fantasizes about becoming a superhero. Meanwhile, Astrolass (AKA 'Astroman's daughter') is desperate to pack in her cape and escape the burden of her father's legacy. When the two of them cross paths, they hatch a plan to change their lives forever."
Mainstage plays include Downtown Race Riot, by Seth Zvi Rosenfeld and directed by Scott Elliot (June 26-July 7). "There's a riot on in Washington Square Park and a motley band of feckless, funny young men are spoiling for a fight. Against this backdrop of tribal loyalties and petty beefs, 18-year old Pnut McPartland has to pick sides and hustle his family and his friends just to stay alive," the creators state.
Also planned is Mozhan Marnò's When the Lights Went Out, staged by Kate Whoriskey (July 17-28). "On the night of the Northeast blackout of 2003, six New Yorkers connect through interwoven stories," the Powerhouse states. "In the darkness, two strangers fall in love during an epic walk across Manhattan; an older couple marooned in their apartment must finally grapple with their past; and a conflicted Iraqi immigrant makes her way across the Brooklyn Bridge chasing memories of her lost son and her homeland through the shadows."
Workshops include Found by Hunter Bell and Lee Overtree, with music and lyrics by Eli Bolin. The work is based on the Found books and magazines by Davy Rothbart. Overtree will direct (July 12-14). It is billed as a "new musical comedy about the things we've lost and the ways they bring us together. Tony-nominated bookwriter Hunter Bell ([title of show]) joins composer/lyricist Eli Bolin to create the semi-autobiographical account of Davy's life and loves as he performs around the country and imagines the stories behind the discarded notes, diaries, love letters, to-do lists, photographs - anything that is a glimpse into someone else's life. When Davy meets and falls for Kate, a schoolteacher, he is forced to choose between his wild existence on the road and a life with her. Found explores not just the things, but the people we find in life and proves we all have stories worth telling."
Also workshopped will be the James Lecesne play Mother of Invention, directed by Michael Wilson (July 19-21). According to the creators, "When Dottie Rupp's children come to move her into assisted living, they end up having to deal with more baggage than just her Samsonite. As her memory fails and the truth about her life blurs, a mysterious stranger arrives and the Rupps face big questions: was Dottie more or less than they imagined her to be? How do we go on living after our own stories have disappeared? And where do we look for new ones?"
Readings include The Hamilton Mixtape by In the Heights Tony winner Miranda, with music direction by Alex Lacamoire and direction by Thomas Kail; Idyllwild by Patrick Burleigh; Kinship by Carey Perloff, directed by Maria Mileaf; Petty Harbour by Martyna Majok; Swimmers by Rachel Bonds; and Yellow Kingdom by Patricia Wettig.
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