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Michael Chernus and Krysta Rodriguez Star in Vassar's Powerhouse Theater Season

Stars of TV and film screens as well as stages have been heading to Vassar College in July since 1985. For 33 years, Vassar and New York Stage and Film have united to present the Powerhouse Theater season, a distinctive partnership between two top notch groups. Powerhouse welcomes several leading theater directors this summer, including Tony® winners Sam Gold & Michael Mayer, Tony® nominees Scott Ellis & Sheryl Kaller, and OBIE winner Trip Cullman.

The 2017 season is robust, and kicked off the full Mainstage performances with Sacred Valley by How I Met Your Mother star and Powerhouse regular Josh Radnor in his playwriting premiere from 6/29-7/9. The comedy about three long-time friends, which partly concerns hallucinogens, had a reading at Vassar last year. The cast Sacred Valley included TV regulars Michael Chernus ("Orange Is The New Black"), Abigail Spencer ("Rectify," "Timeless"), and David T. Patterson ("The Path").

The second fully staged production is Good Men Wanted, a searing drama punctuated by explosive dance sequences set to contemporary pop music, in which five women of vastly different backgrounds become warriors and spies; true stories of renegade women fighting in the Civil War, presented from July 20-30.

Three Musical Workshops include Stilyagi, based on the Russian film The Hipsters, with lyrics by Tony winner Lisa Kron & music by Peter Lerman, and direction by Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, American Idiot), on stage from July 23-25. It includes cast members Krysta Rodriguez (Spring Awakening, "Smash"), Dave Thomas Brown (American Psycho), Lauren Patten (seen last season in Powerhouse's smash hit The Wolves), Dale Soules ("Orange Is The New Black"), Jeb Brown (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), George Salazar (The Lightning Thief), Alex Boniello (Spring Awakening), Joel Perez (Fun Home), Sarah Hunt, Marla Louissaint, Chelsea Turbin, Megan Masako Haley, Karl Josef Co, Daniel Jackson, Thomas Hettrick, in addition to lyricist Lisa Kron, who also performs in the workshop.

This Ain't No Disco, the story of drifters and dreamers who search for their place in New York City nightclubs in 1979, has music & lyrics by Hedwig and the Angry Inch composer Stephen Trask & Peter Yanowitz and is staged 6/30 and 7/1-2. The final workshop is The Secret Life of Bees, with book by two-time Pulitzer Prize for Drama recipient Lynn Nottage, and music composed by Tony winner Duncan Sheik with lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, performed July 27-29. The Sue Monk Kidd novel about a troubled South Carolina teen who wrestles with her controlling father and a haunting memory of her dead mother was made into a film in 2008 starring Queen Latifah and Dakota Fanning.

Powerhouse is a remarkable incubator for new works before they hit the Broadway boards. Hamilton and The Humans were developed here. No, seriously, they were. Last season, Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves and Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music were both produced in Poughkeepsie before they moved to New York and became finalists for Pulitzer Prizes! So don’t miss out – YOU can be the one to start the buzz about the newest works in theater.

The “apprentices” present re-imaginings of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (7/14-16) adapted & directed by Emily Mendelsohn and Cymbeline (7/21-23) adapted & directed by Andrew Willis-Woodward.

Are you keen to see new works or plays in progress? Inside Look Workshops include The Great Leap by Lauren Lee. Inspired by events from the life (and short-lived basketball career including a friendship trip to China) of playwright Lauren Yee's father set to be produced 7/7-9. New to the Play Workshop series is The Homecoming Queen, by Powerhouse Founders Award recipient Ngozi Anyanwu, performed 7/28-30. A bestselling novelist returns to Nigeria to care for her ailing father, but before she can bury him, she must relearn the traditions she's long forgotten.

Two Readings Festivals bookend the season from 6/23-25 and then 7/21-13; subscribers get priority access to these hot reservations, although subscribing does not guarantee tickets for these in demand readings. Three new projects to the annual Readings Festival include: Diana, a new musical about Princess Diana by the creative team behind Memphis (book & lyrics by Joe DiPietro, music & lyrics by David Bryan, direction by Christopher Ashley); One Good Egg by Annie Evans, directed by Melia Bensussen; and The Fit by Carey Perloff, directed by Daniel Aukin.

Additional casting of the 2017 Powerhouse season will be announced shortly. A full season lineup can be found at powerhouse.vassar.edu.

Make it a weekend getaway, a romantic overnight escape, or even special summer date night!  See a show and enjoy a nice dinner first, or drinks afterward, at a nearby restaurant or lounge. Call the Powerhouse Box Office at 845-437-5599. Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie. Don’t miss out! 

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