New York Stage and Film Will Give Voice to Whisper House, Black and Boys

News   New York Stage and Film Will Give Voice to Whisper House, Black and Boys
New York Stage and Film at Vassar College's Powerhouse Theater in upstate New York will present a summer 2009 season that includes developmental productions of works by Tony Award-winning composer Duncan Sheik, comedian-writer Lewis Black and the young musical songwriters Nathan Tysen and Chris Miller, among others.
Duncan Sheik
Duncan Sheik Photo by Aubrey Reuben

Theatregoers with a taste for new work (the mission of NYSF) can expect a concert reading of songwriter Sheik (Spring Awakening) and librettist and co-lyricist Kyle Jarrow's Whisper House, a musical about ghosts at a lighthouse, directed by Keith Powell (a director-actor who is a regular on TV's "30 Rock").

Tina Girlstar, a musical "with a satiric, black-comedic take on the contemporary music industry," by Anton Dudley, Charlie Sohne and Brian Feinstein, will also surface as a concert reading.

One Slight Hitch, a play by Black, whose topical comic screeds are seen on "The Daily Show," will be directed by Joe Grifasi. Like the Black play, the urban fairy tale by Ben Snyder, Shoe Story, directed by In the Heighst Tony nominee Thomas Kail, will get a workshop presentation with partial production values.

As previously announced, NYSF will present a developmental staging of the musical The Burnt Part Boys, set in West Virginia coal-mining country, by Mariana Elder (book), Nathan Tysen (lyrics) and Chris Miller (music), directed by Erica Schmidt.

Off-Broadway's Vineyard Theatre and Playwrights Horizons will give Burnt Part Boys a Manhattan public lab production at the Vineyard (not open to theatre critics) May 26-June 6, in anticipation of a full Off-Broadway co-production between Vineyard and Playwrights Horizons at the Mainstage of Playwrights in 2010. The Vassar run will offer the collaborators a chance to further develop the material. The Burnt Part Boys (in the Martel space, July 17-26) is one of three Mainstage full productions in summer 2009. Also planned are Ninety, Joanna Murray Smith's "provocative reflection on marriage" (Powerhouse, June 30–July 12) and Vera Laughed, Keith Bunin's "romantic, Chekhovian take on relationship triangles" (Powerhouse, July 22-Aug. 2).

Two summer Readings Festivals, with actors performing "script in hand,", will include works by Bryan Delaney, Yussef El Guindi, Theresa Rebeck and Julian Sheppard (Susan Stein Shiva Theater, June 26-28) and Andrew Dolan, Beth Henley, Dan Moran, John Patrick Shanley and Regina Taylor. (Susan Stein Shiva Theater, July 31-Aug. 2).

The Powerhouse Apprentice Company will present free performances of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (directed by Anthony Luciano) and The Taming of the Shrew (directed by Brian McManamon) as well as Euripides' The Trojan Women (directed by Dennis Reid). All performances will be held in the Outdoor Amphitheater on the Vassar campus Friday-Monday July 10-27.


Since 1985, the Powerhouse Summer Theater Season, a collaboration between New York Stage and Film and Vassar, "has produced remarkable works of theatre and trained an entire generation of young artists" through its apprentice training program. For the past 24 seasons, it has helped make Poughkeepsie, NY, a theatre destination for thousands.

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