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Events, gatherings, & outings: What to see and do in the Millbrook, NY area.

Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College – 38th Season Programming Lineup
June 20, 2024

AdVassar College is pleased to announce the lineup for the 38th Powerhouse Theater Season. The annual summer season brings together some of today’s most influential theatrical voices and welcomes the next generation of theater artists as members of the renowned Powerhouse Theater Training Program.


Absolute Zero (July 12-14)
Book and lyrics by Dorie Clark
Music by Marie Incontrera
Directed by Ellie Heyman
Choreographed by Bo Park In the Powerhouse Theater

Absolute Zero is a gleeful reclamation of the patriarchal and often sexist spy genre: a classic form in a decidedly new wineskin. Absolute zero is the lowest temperature known to humanity. It’s just a theoretical construct that’s never actually been reached-until now. By terrorists. But when the ClA’s top agent-sexy lesbian lothario Sam Knight- is called in to investigate, she never expected that in order to save humanity, she’d have to excavate her own past. Fueled by a contemporary pop-rock and jazz score, Absolute Zero is a taut, funny musical thriller written for a cast of female, trans, and gender nonconforming performers.

Absolute Zero has been developed with the help of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, Apples and Oranges Arts, New Musicals, Inc.,, The York Theatre Company, New York Theatre Barn, and Ohio Wesleyan University. Absolute Zero was an O’Neill Semi-Finalist in 2023.
Dorie Clark and Marie Incontrera were Dramatists Guild Foundation Virtual Fellows finalists in 2023.

Shanghai Sonatas (July 26-28)
Music and Concept by Sean Gao
Book by Alan Goodson
Lyrics by Joyce Hill Stoner Directed by Chongren Fan
Musical Arrangement and Direction by Asher Denburg
Produced by Diane Fisher and LED Theatrical Productions In the Martel Theater,
Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film

During WWil, when the push to escape the horrors of the Nazi Regime in Europe escalated, cosmopolitan Shanghai was the only place in the world that would accept European refugees without a visa. Forced into a ghetto by Japanese occupiers, the two diverse cultures of East and West soon shared a warm and enduring bond through the language of music, including connections both romantic and humorous. With the beauty of its musical score and compelling storyline set within the fading glamor and wartime danger of the city in the 1930s and ’40s, Shanghai Sonatas illustrates how the seeds sown by these fateful events of the past resonate to this day.

All Musical Workshop tickets are $30 and go on sale May 30, 2024.


A Simple Herstory (July 5-7)
Written by Jocelyn Kuritsky, Jenny Turner Hall, and Jonathan A. Goldberg Executive Produced by Donya K. Washington
Directed by Meghan Finn In the Powerhouse Theater

A Simple Herstory is a groundbreaking-Telly Award-winning and Webby-honored-deviant, multi-platform audio fiction exploration of the 100+ women who have run for President of the United States. The initial season revolved around Victoria Woodhull, arguably the first woman to run in 1872, before women had the right to vote. Sections of Season 2 revolve around the life and times of Margaret Chase Smith. Smith ran for President of the United States in 1964. She was a member of the Republican Party. She was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress. While it is an audio drama, Season 2 borrows from 20th-century film styles to create a complex portrait of the Senator from Maine, challenging preconceived notions, historical facts, and our perceptions of American culture. As with Season 1, it takes a lesser known story, presents it, and then works to deconstruct it.

Messy White Gays (July 19-21)
Written by Drew Droege
Directed by Mike Donahue
Developed and Produced by The Fabulous Invalid In the Powerhouse Theater

Sunday morning. Hell’s Kitchen. Brecken and Caden have just murdered their throuple-mate and stuffed him into a Jonathan Adler credenza. Unfortunately, they’ve invited friends over for brunch.
Feel bad for them! They’re MESSY WHITE GAYS!

All Play Workshop tickets are $30 and go on sale May 30, 2024.


This Place Is Definitely Haunted (June 21)
Written By Max Reuben
In the Powerhouse Theater

Three teenagers gather in a spooky old house to go ghost hunting. A group of theater makers gathers in a spooky old theater to explore the sinister events of that night. A Russian nesting doll of scary stories, This Place is Definitely Haunted blurs the line between fact and fiction, reality and imagination, and explores the very human desire to scare the living daylights out of ourselves and each other.

Extinction (June 23)
Written by C.J. Baer
Directed by Judson Jones In the Powerhouse Theater

Extinction follows Louis Ebbings (née Wilder), a brilliant and promising PhD student in the early 1980s, interested in the rising field of feminist biology, who discovers, as the singular female in her advisor’s lab, androcentric bias in her very own backyard. Challenging the sexist narrative within Darwinian theory, Louis discovers just how powerful these forces she’s working against are, and unwittingly becomes the subject matter of her own studies.

Holes in the Shape of My Father (June 27)
Written by Savon Bartley
Directed by Adam Coy
In the Powerhouse Theater

What spirals when an absent father reaches out to his son over Instagram with no apologies, no remorse, and 20 years’ worth of unanswered questions? Savon Bartley unravels the nuances of boys who grew up without a father. Told by the son of a mother who tried, Holes in the Shape of My Father is the myth and miracle of boys becoming men.

Possessed (or, ” the Crazy African Girl” Play) (June 28)
Written by Gloria Majule
Directed by Shariffa Ali
In the Powerhouse Theater

Furaha returns home to Tanzania on a medical leave and is reunited with her brother Angaza.
Unfortunately for her, he believes her mental illness is in fact a demon possession. As the siblings road-trip from Dar Es Salaam to Singida, they encounter colorful characters and testing challenges along the way. Possessed is a dramedy that explores the toll it takes to leave home, and the toll it takes to be back.

Ping Pong Play (June 29)
Written by Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin
In the Powerhouse Theater

Ping Pong Play is about keeping up with your best friend at the end of the world, non-chronologically following Yining and Anjali over nine decades playing competitive ping pong. This work imagines a speculative future informed by our present, with militarism and climate change shaping how Yining and Anjali can connect.

All readings are free. Tickets can be reserved beginning on June 13, 2024.
Additional projects and casting will be announced at a later date.


Twelfth Night (July 12-14)
Written by William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by Devin Kawaoka
At The Preserve

Twelfth Night begins as all good tales do…with a shipwreck. Viola finds herself having lost her dear twin brother and stranded on the coast of Illyria. With no family or means to protect her, she disguises herself as a servant to the ruler of Illyria, Duke Orsino. She soon loses herself in a Bermudian Triangle of love that steals the hearts and minds of those who dare to pass through it. Our question: Will Viola be able to find herself amongst the wreckage- not of her ship, but of her love?

The Taming of the Shrew (July 19-21)
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Caley Chase
At The Preserve

After falling asleep outside a bar, tinker Christopher Sly awakes inside a wild comedy-a play! Sly plays Katherine-sister to the fair Bianca, eldest daughter to Baptista, and betrothed to the fortune-seeking Petruchio. Full of ogling suitors, witty wordplay, and subversive performances of power, gender, and love, this faced-paced adaptation deconstructs The Taming of the Shrew to its bones, seeking-through great humor, absurdity, and role-play—a most intimate connection.

We Are Gathered Together (July 4, 11, 18, 25)
Conceived by members of the Training Company Conceived and Composed by Max Reuben
Developed and performed by members of the Training Company In the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

INSERT SALUTATION HERE. It is with GREAT JOY/A HEAVY HEART/INCREDIBLE EXCITEMENT that we invite you to INSERT EVENT HERE to CELEBRATE/MOURN/COMMEMORATE our dear INSERT NAME HERE on the occasion of INSERT SPECIFICS HERE. As we gather together to share in this special moment, we kindly ask that you RSVP by INSERT DATE HERE. Your presence would mean a lot to us and to INSERT NAME HERE, and we look forward to sharing this DELIGHTFUL/SOLEMN/MOMENTOUS occasion with you. Thank you.

We Are Gathered Together utilizes the gestural composing language of Soundpainting to create a spontaneous, ensemble-based improvised performance.

Marathon (July 21-22)
Co-created by Hal Cosentino and Ellenor Riley-Condit
Devised by Members of the Training Company In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

It is 490 BC. After days of fighting, Pip runs 26 miles without stopping from the Battle of Marathon to the city of Athens to warn his fellow citizens that the approaching Persian navy has no claim to Athenian land. He shouts: “We have won!” before collapsing. Marathon is a devised piece that uses this origin story as an inciting incident, an event that connects feats of human endurance across time to ask: What is that spark that makes us keep going beyond what we think is possible? Together, we’ll run a marathon from 490 BC to today, trying, with our own bodies, to understand humanity’s capacity to defy our assumed limits. When we push past the boundaries of our imaginations, what are we running towards?

New Works Play Festival (July 27)
Written and Directed by members of the Training Company
In the Susan Stein Shiva Theater

This festival of new works is the culminating event for the directors and writers of the Training Company. Along with their coursework, directors and playwrights will have observed the process of bringing a new script to life in a professional rehearsal setting. Each pair of writers and directors will workshop a play that they have developed over the summer. Featuring performances by the actors of the Training Company, these short plays reflect the students’ unique voice and vision for the future of American theater.

All Training Company performances are free and open to the public. No ticket required.
Additional projects and casting will be announced at a later date.


Performing Art (July 14)
Conceived and Directed by Liz Dahmen In the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

Performing Art is a highly collaborative performance project that brings together an ensemble of local creators to explore the relationship between visual and performing art. This production takes inspiration from the works currently on display at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, and the final presentation is a site-specific one-of-a-kind performance inside the gallery.

Online ticket sales: May 30, 2024
In-person ticket sales: June 6, 2024 at the Powerhouse Box Office
All Musical Workshop and Play Workshop tickets: $30.00
Readings and Training Program Performances: Free
Box Office hours: Thursday-Sunday, 3:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Box Office: (845) 437-5599, [email protected]

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