Regional NewsLynn Nottage and Duncan Sheik’s Secret Life of Bees Musical Part of Vassar's Powerhouse SeasonThe summer season also features works by Lisa Kron, Josh Radnor, Stephen Trask, and more.
April 24, 2017
A musical adaptation of The Secret Life of Bees, featuring a book by recent Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage (Sweat), will be part of the Powerhouse Theater summer season, which is presented by Vassar College and New York Stage and Film.
Set in 1964 South Carolina, the musical has lyrics by Susan Birkenhead (Jelly’s Last Jam) and music by Spring Awakening Tony winner Duncan Sheik. Tony winner Sam Gold will direct the workshop, scheduled for July 27–29 at the Poughkeepsie venue.
Based on the book by Sue Monk Kidd, the musical follows “restless white teenager Lily Owens [who] 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 2017 summer season will also feature two other musical workshops. Tony winner Michael Mayer will direct the June 23–25 staging of Stilyagi, with lyrics by Tony winner Lisa Kron and music by Peter Lerman, based on the motion picture The Hipsters. Trip Cullman will direct Stephen Trask, Peter Yanowitz, and Rick Elice's This Ain't No Disco, which is set in the night worlds of Studio 54 and the Mudd Club and will be presented June 30–July 2. A 2016 New York workshop of the musical featured Michael Esper, Lindsay Mendez, and Gideon Glick.
Mainstage productions include Josh Radnor's Sacred Valley, directed by Sheryl Kaller (June 29–July 9), and Kevin Armento's Good Men Wanted, directed by Jaki Bradley and choreographed by Ani Taj (July 20–30). Workshops of new plays by Lauren Yee (The Great Leap, July 7–9) and Stacy Osei-Kuffour (Hang Man, July 28–30) will also be offered.