Powerhouse Theater’s 25th anniversary gala benefit features performances by Oscar, Tony, and Grammy Award-winning artists, followed by a party celebrating 25 seasons of Powerhouse, June 27, 2009.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Vassar & New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater will celebrate 25 seasons of presenting great new theater in the Hudson Valley on Saturday, June 27, with a gala benefit “A Silver Celebration under the Stars.”

Beginning at 7pm the gala will offer selections from favorite Powerhouse plays and musicals performed by some of Broadway and Hollywood’s top artists, all of whom, at one time or another, have trod the stage at Powerhouse. A party will follow that will celebrate food and drink produced in the Hudson Valley.

Some of the artists who will be returning to take the stage include Oscar winner Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, Rob Morrow, Mark Linn-Baker, Tony and Grammy Award-winner Duncan Sheik, Deborah Hedwell, Carol Kane, Wendy Makkena, Randle Mell, Jenny Powers, Jon Tenney, Jennifer Westfeldt, and many more to come!

Following the performance, the audience is invited to join the artists for a light supper with drinks and dessert under the stars as Powerhouse celebrates Hudson Valley food artisans with a Locavore Party—food and drinks grown or produced locally —offered by Gigi’s Hudson Valley, Clinton Vineyards, Keegan Ales, and Babycakes Café. The party will begin at 8:30pm, outside the Martel Theater on the Frances Daly Fergusson Quadrangle..

”I’m thrilled and honored that so many of our wonderful artist ‘alums’ are joining us here in Poughkeepsie to celebrate 25 seasons,” New York Stage and Film Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer said.  “What a unique opportunity to see all these artists who mean so much to us, all sharing a stage together!”

“We’re celebrating our future stars as members of the current Powerhouse Apprentice Company will join in the program,” noted Edward Cheetham, producing director of Powerhouse Theater. “This special quarter-of-a-century celebration is also a benefit that will help support Powerhouse in the future and promises to be a great party!”

Individual tickets are on sale now; special sponsorship packages, which include gala tickets and Powerhouse season subscriptions, are also available. To purchase tickets and for additional information, go online (, call (845) 437-5599, or visit the Powerhouse Box Office in person on the Vassar campus.

The performance, directed by Sheryl Kaller, with musical direction by Fred Lassen, will begin at 7pm in the Martel Theater of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film.

Featured will be members of the original 1985 cast of John Patrick Shanley’s first Powerhouse play Savage in Limbo: Oscar winner Mary McDonnell (Dances with Wolves), Randle Mell, and Deborah Hedwall.

Other featured artists at the gala will include New York Stage and Film co-founder and producing director Mark Linn-Baker, who recently appeared off-Broadway in John Patrick Shanley’s Romantic Poetry and is the star of the classic film My Favorite Year and the series Perfect Strangers; Carol Kane (Wicked, Annie Hall, and Taxi); Wendy Makkena (Side Man); Rob Morrow (Numb3rs, Northern Exposure); Jenny Powers (Little Women, Grease, Follies); Reg Rogers (Holiday); Tony and Grammy Award-winning composer of the smash Broadway hit Spring Awakening, Duncan Sheik; David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck, The River Wild, Passion Fish); from The Closer Jon Tenney (The Heiress), who is also a member of Vassar’s class of 1984; Jennifer Westfeldt (Wonderful Town, Kissing Jessica Stein, Ira & Abby); and many more to come!

These Powerhouse artists, along with members of the 2009 Powerhouse Apprentice Company, will perform selections from favorite plays and musicals of the past 25 seasons, including Savage in Limbo by John Patrick Shanley (1985); Snakebit by David Marshall Grant  (1994); the Tony Award-winning Side Man by Warren Leight (1996); A Year with Frog & Toad by Willie Reale and Robert Reale (2000); Adrift in Macao by Christopher Durang and Peter Melnick (2002); Dangerous Beauty by Jeannine Dominy and Michele Brourman (2005); The Boy Who Heard Music by Pete Townshend (2007); and Nero (Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater, 2008).

Following the performance, the audience is invited to join the artists for a light supper with drinks and dessert under the stars as Powerhouse celebrates Hudson Valley food artisans with a Locavore Party (celebrating food grown or produced locally). A light supper will be prepared by Gigi's Hudson Valley, the official caterer of Vassar's Alumnae House, from the best fresh local produce in the area; Clinton Vineyards will pour some of their award-winning wines; Keegan Ales, voted best brewery in both the Hudson Valley and in New York State and recipient of the Matthew Vassar prize at the Tap New York Festival, will serve a selection of his favorite beverage; and a dessert buffet of sumptuous sweets will be provided by Babycakes Café. The party will begin at 8:30pm, outside the Martel Theater on the Frances Daly Fergusson Quadrangle.

Individual orchestra tickets are $100; limited balcony seats available for $50 (Enter code: GALABALC). Both options include the performance and party. A special Mainstage subscription plus gala packages offers admission to the gala, any of the three Mainstage shows, and all 9 readings for one person (15% off single ticket prices). To purchase tickets, go online to Powerhouse, call (845) 437-7235 or (845) 437-5599, or visit the Box Office on the Vassar campus.

Vassar is sited in New York’s beautiful Hudson Valley in Poughkeepsie, NY. Click here for directions to the Vassar campus.

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available.

Powerhouse Theater, now entering its 25th season, is the result of a unique collaboration between New York Stage and Film and Vassar College. The program consists of an eight-week residency on the Vassar campus during which more than 200 professional artists and some 40 apprentices live and work together to create new theater works. Powerhouse steadfastly supports both emerging and established artists.


The annual residency has included such writers as John Patrick Shanley, Beth Henley, Henry Kreiger, Warren Leight, Christopher Durang, Richard Greenberg, Stephen Belber, Eric Bogosian, Steve Martin, Dael Orlandersmith, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater; directors Mark Brokaw, Joe Mantello, Lisa Peterson, Roger Rees, Liz Swados, David Warren, and Michael Wilson; and actors Chris Cooper, Dana Delany, Olympia Dukakis, Edie Falco, Peter Gallagher, Joel Grey, Ethan Hawke, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Johnston, Lucy Liu, Julianna Margulies, Rob Morrow, Frances McDormand, Josh Radnor, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Kyra Sedgwick, Fisher Stevens, David Strathairn, Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, Jennifer Westfeldt, among many others. 


Since its inception in 1985, Powerhouse has played a significant role in the development of hundreds of new plays, provided a home for a diverse group of artists free from critical and commercial pressures, and established itself as a vital cultural institution for the Hudson Valley, the New York metropolitan area, and the surrounding region.




Founded in 1985 by Producing Directors Mark Linn-Baker, Max Mayer, and Leslie Urdang, and now under the leadership of Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer, New York Stage and Film (SAF) is dedicated to both emerging and established artists in the development and production of new works for theater and film.

The cornerstone of SAF’s programming is the Powerhouse program, a rare artistic community that exists outside the commercial pressures of New York City and whose nationwide contribution to theater and film is invaluable.


SAF has developed and/or premiered new works by some of this country's most significant artists including John Patrick Shanley’s Savage in Limbo and his Tony and Pulitzer Award-winning Doubt, Jon Robin Baitz’s Three Hotels and A Fair Country, David Marshall Grant’s Snakebit, Warren Leight’s Tony Award-winning Side Man, as well as new works by Beth Henley, Eric Bogosian, Theresa Rebeck, Richard Greenberg, Duncan Sheik & Steven Sater, Eve Ensler, and Paul Weitz, among many others.


In 1995 SAF received the Jujamcyn Theater Award for its outstanding contribution to the development of creative talent for the theater.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861. Consistently ranked as one of the country’s best liberal arts colleges, Vassar is renowned for its long history of curricular innovation, and for the natural and architectural beauty of its campus.

More than 50 academic departments and degree programs – from Anthropology to Cognitive Sciences to Urban Studies – encompass the arts, foreign languages, natural sciences, and social services, and combine to offer a curriculum of more than 1,000 courses.

Vassar was the first college to be founded with an art collection and gallery; today, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center holds over 18,000 works by such masters as Picasso, Rembrandt, and O'Keeffe.

Please note that all programs and artists are subject to change. 

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, June 10, 2009