Powerhouse Theater Announces Stellar 2019 Lineup

Winners of Emmy, Grammy, and Tony awards—and even a Pulitzer Prize—head the lineup of plays and readings at this summer’s Powerhouse Theater, sponsored by Vassar and New York Stage and Film. The annual festival on the Vassar campus in Poughkeepsie, NY, will feature some of today’s most influential theatrical voices for fully produced staged productions, readings, and other new plays and musicals in progress.

Lin Manuel Miranda’s hit show Hamilton got its start at Powerhouse Theater.

Vassar President Elizabeth Bradley says the Powerhouse festival is always one of the highlights of the summer on campus. “As many people know, the Broadway smash hit Hamilton was first introduced to audiences at Powerhouse, and plays of that caliber are produced here every year,” Bradley adds.

This summer’s programming includes new works by Pulitzer Prize winner Beth Henley; Pulitzer Prize, Emmy Award, and two-time Tony Award winner Tom Kitt; Emmy Award winner Jason Katims; Tony Award nominee Rachel Chavkin; singer/songwriters Ingrid Michaelson and César Alvarez; the Grammy Award-winning La Santa Cecilia; and renowned playwrights Jocelyn Bioh, Harrison David Rivers, and Lisa Loomer. The 35th Powerhouse season will be presented from June 20 through July 28.

The two Mainstage productions in the Powerhouse Theater will be the bandaged place (June 27 through July 7), written by Harrison David Rivers and directed by David Mendizábal; and Lightning (or The Unbuttoning) (July 18-28), written by Beth Henley and directed by Mark Brokaw.

Taylor Mac thrilled audiences with his tour de force, A 24 Decade History of Popular Music, in 2016.

Powerhouse will host three musical workshops:

Annie Salem: An American Tale (July 5-7)
Adapted from the novel by Mac Wellman
Written by Rachel Chavkin
Music by Heather Christian
Lyrics by Heather Christian and Rachel Chavkin 

The Elementary Spacetime Show (July 12-14)
Music and lyrics by César Alvarez
Book by César Alvarez with Emily Orling
Directed by Sarah Benson

Goddess (July 26-28)
Conceived by Saheem Ali
Music and lyrics by Michael Thurber
Book by Jocelyn Bioh
Additional lyrics by Mkhululi Z. Mabija
Directed by Saheem Ali

Play workshops are: …and the horse you rode in on (June 20-22, Martel Theater, Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film), written by Zach Helm and directed by Kate Whoriskey; and The Best We Could (a family tragedy), July 25-27 at Susan Stein Shiva Theater, written by Emily Feldman and directed by Daniel Aukin.

The Homecoming Queen, about a Nigerian novelist who returns home to care for an ailing father, was presented as a Play Workshop in 2017.

This summer’s readings will include free public presentations of works in progress, including: The Notebook, based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson, with book by Bekah Brunstetter; The Excavation of Mary Anning by Ian August, directed by Sammi Cannold; Tuvalu or, The Saddest Song by Antoinette Nwandu, directed by Danya Taymor; The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin by Jessica Huang; Delusion by Proxy by Brooke Adams, directed by Ethan Silverman; and Sanctuary City by Martyna Majok, directed by Rebecca Frecknall.

Producing Director Ed Cheetham said Powerhouse is looking forward to welcoming “old and new faces this year, especially the members of the Powerhouse Theater Training Program.” Cheetham noted the training program “is composed of students who come from all over the country to deepen their understanding of acting, directing, and writing. They are sure to have a rewarding and riveting summer!” 

Members of the Powerhouse Theater Training Program will present William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (July 12-14), adapted and directed by Devin Kawaoka; and The Winter’s Tale (July 19-21), adapted and directed by Andrew Willis-Woodward—both at the Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns. Members of the Training Company will present Keep Your Head Above Water so as Not to Sink: A Soundpainting Performance (July 4, 11, 18, 25), composed and directed by Max Reuben, at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center; as well as workshop performances of From One to Another: Rites of Passage for our Times (July 21-22), created and directed by Emily Mendelsohn and members of the Training Company. 

Young actors, playwrights, and directors from around the country and throughout the world, along with an exceptional faculty of artists, make up this important component of the Powerhouse artistic community. For updated information, please visit the Training Company production and workshop section of the Powerhouse website.

For more information, visit the Powerhouse website. Subscriptions will be available online as of May 9, and single tickets will go on sale online as of May 14.