New York Stage and Film's annual summer residency at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, will feature the work of playwrights John Patrick Shanley (Four Dogs and a Bone) and Theresa Rebeck (A View of the Dome), director Michael Mayer (A View From the Bridge), and actors-turned directors Mark Linn-Baker (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) and Jayne Atkinson (Ivanov).
The season begins with Once Around the City (June 23-July 11), claimed as the first mainstage musical in the history of Vassar's Powerhouse Theatre. The Robert Reale (music)-Willie Reale (book & lyrics) creation is a romantic comedy set in the underhanded world of '80s New York real estate. The show is expected to open Off-Broadway next fall. Linn-Baker will direct. The cast will feature Reed Birney, Jane Bodle, Jonathan Dokuchitz, Peter Jay Fernandez, Tom Ford, Joe Grifasi, Peter Jacobson, Deirdre Lovejoy, David Margulies, Michael Potts, Michael A. Shepperd, John Sloman, and Anne Torsiglieri.
The summer's other Powerhouse production is Cellini (July 17-Aug. 2), written and directed by Shanley. A change of pace for the playwright, the play tells of Renaissance sculptor Benvenuto Cellini and his ambition to create a work to rival the greatest achievements of Michelangelo. A cast of 11 plays 30 roles.
The season in the smaller Coal Bin Theatre begins with a presentation of Two Orphans (June 14-15), a musical adaptation of a 19th century melodrama about the plight of two former slave girls lost in New Orleans after the Civil War. The show is the first musical project undertaken by Rebeck, who wrote the book and co-wrote the lyrics with John Sheehy. Kim D. Sherman wrote the music. Atkinson will direct.
Other Coal Bin presentations include: Fire Eater (June 26-28), Brighde Mullins' story of a cross-dressing lady reformer during the time of the Irish Potato Famine, directed by Maria Mileaf; The Ballad of Lily From Hell (July 10-12), a tale of a vampire and two petty crooks in small-town New England, written by David Grimm and directed by Mayer; and Hurricane, Erin Cressida Wilson's examination of the backlash against '60s feminism and free love, directed by Barry Edelstein. The Reading Festival (June 19-21) will include Pork Pie by Michael Genet; Stuck by Jessica Goldberg; Bug by Tracy Letts; James' by Max Mayer; and Eating the Dead by Jane Shepard. No casting has been announced for any of the shows or readings.
For information of the season, call (914) 437-5599 or (914) 437-7235.
-- By Robert Simonson