Powerhouse Theater announces casting for first Mainstage show Ninety, June 30 - July 12, 2009

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—Vassar & New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater announces the cast for the first of three Mainstage productions of the 25th anniversary season: Ninety, by Joanna Murray-Smith, directed by Maria Mileaf, beginning performances June 30 and running through July 12, and new additions to the star-filled line-up for the 25th anniversary gala benefit, “Silver Celebration under the Stars,” June 27.



The two-character play Ninety will feature actress Sarita Choudhury, star of the film Mississippi Masala, and Kevin Kilner from the original cast of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Dinner with Friends.

In Ninety, Isabel (Choudhury), an art conservator, has only 90 minutes to convince her ex-husband William (Kilner), now a famous actor, that their love and marriage are worth saving. They have only 90 minutes to remember the beginnings of their love affair and marriage and perhaps regain what was lost. Can Isabel, who so successfully restores paintings, recreate her relationship with William? Can William recapture the love and promise that they once shared? They only have 90 minutes to rediscover their love or call it a day, forever.

Noted playwright Murray-Smith, author of such powerful and intimate explorations of human relationships as Honour and Nightfall, noted in an article for The Age that, "I started writing about why couples stay together against the odds, about how difficulty and suffering and grief and madness become part of the composition of profound love.”>

A post-show discussion will be offered following the performance on Tuesday, July 7.

Joanna Murray-Smith's plays have been produced throughout Australia and all over the world. They include Honour (Broadway, West End, the Royal National Theatre, productions in two dozen countries, public reading with Meryl Streep at Powerhouse), Bombshells (West End, Europe, nominated for the Outstanding Touring Production Award at the 26th Annual DORA Mavor Moore Awards in Toronto, Canada), The Female of the Species (Australasia, West End with Dame Eileen Atkins, nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy), Scenes from a Marriage (Belgrade Theatre, commissioned and directed by Sir Trevor Nunn), Rapture, Redemption, Nightfall, and Lovechild. Her work has been nominated for and won many awards including the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Drama for Honour and Rapture. In 2003, she was awarded the Centenary Medal for outstanding service as a playwright.

Maria Mileaf previously directed a workshop of Brighde Mullins' Fire Eater as well as readings by Claire Chafee and Christopher Bomba at Powerhouse. Some of her favorite directing credits include Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros' The Argument (The Vineyard), Lee Blessing's A Body of Water as well ashis Going to St. Ives (Primary Stages - Outer Critic Circle Award for Best New Play, 2005), Kira Obolensky's Lobster Alice (Playwright's Horizons), Vijay Tendulkar's Sakharam Binder (with Sarita Choudhury at The Play Company), Erik Ehn's 'Maid (Lincoln Center Festival).

This just in – two actors from the original cast of the musical LargoManu Narayan
(The Love Guru, Bombay Dreams) and David Forman—will be joining Oscar winner Mary McDonnell (Dances with Wolves, Battlestar Galactica),Tony and Grammy Award-winning musician, composer, and lyricist Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening); 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; Rob Morrow (Numb3rs, Northern Exposure); 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!

Newly added to the line-up of plays and musicals of the past 25 seasons that the artists will perform selections from are the musical Largo (2001); Theresa Rebeck’s Spike Heels (1990); andthe play Fault Lines, by Stephen Belber (2008), which had its off-Broadway debut this past fall. Selections from other works will include Savage in Limbo (1985), Snakebit (1994), Side Man (1996), A Year with Frog & Toad (2000); Adrift in Macao (2002), Dangerous Beauty (2005), The Boy Who Heard Music (2007), and Nero 2008).

The “Silver Celebration under the Stars” performance will begin at 7pm in the Martel Theater of the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film and will be followed by a “Locavore party,” at 8:30pm outside the Martel Theater on the Frances Daly Fergusson Quadrangle (under a tent). The audience will join with the artists at the party to celebrate the food and drink of the Hudson Valley with a light supper from Gigi’s Hudson Valley, beverages from Clinton Vineyards and Keegan Ales, and dessert by Babycakes Café.

Orchestra tickets are available at $100; limited balcony seats at $50 (enter code: GALABALC). Both these options include admission to both the performance and party afterwards.

A special Mainstage subscription and gala package is $174.25 and will include admission for one to the gala, to all nine readings, and to any performance of all three Mainstage shows: Ninety, by Joanna Murray Smith, directed by Maria Mileaf, featuring Sarita Choudhury and Kevin Kilner (June 30 – July 12); the musical The Burnt Part Boys, with book by Mariana Elder, music by Chris Miller, lyrics by Nathan Tysen, and directed by Erica Schmidt (July 17 – July 26); and the play Vera Laughed, by Keith Bunin, one of the writers of HBO’s award-winning drama series In Treatment (July 22 – August 2).

All performances to the Powerhouse Inside Look presentation of Lewis Black’s hilarious comedy One Slight Hitch have sold out, so don’t wait to purchase your Powerhouse tickets today.


To purchase tickets, go online, 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.

SAF is a recipient of 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.


Vassar & New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater
25th Anniversary Season

June 26 – August 2, 2009 or  (845) 437-5599


(All tickets $100, with special Mainstage subscription & gala ticket available for $174.25)

A Silver Celebration under the Stars: 25th Anniversary Gala Benefit
Featuring performances of and by Oscar, Tony, and Grammy Award-winning artists.
Directed by directed by Sheryl Kaller
Musical direction by Fred Lassen
June 27: 7pm Performance; 8:30pm Locavore Party
Martel Theater, Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film


(Fully-staged productions held in the 145-seat Powerhouse Theater and the 325 seat Martel Theater, $35)

By Joanna Murray-Smith
Directed by Maria Mileaf
[Ninety will be performed without an intermission.]
June 30, July 1, 2, 3, 7*, 8, 9, 10, 11 at 8pm; July 5, 11, 12 at 2pm; July 5 at 7pm
(Note: no performance on Saturday, July 4)
*Post-show discussion on Tuesday, July 7
Powerhouse Theater

The Burnt Part Boys
Book by Mariana Elder
Lyrics by Nathan Tysen
Music by Chris Miller
Directed by Erica Schmidt
July 17, 18, 21*, 22, 23, 24, 25 at 8pm; July 19, 25, 26 at 2pm; July 19 at 7pm
*Post-show discussion on Tuesday, July 21
Martel Theater, Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film

Vera Laughed
By Keith Bunin
Directed by Carolyn Cantor
July 22, 23, 24, 25, 28*, 29, 30, 31, August 1 at 8pm; July 25, 26, August 1, 2 at 2pm.
*Post-show discussion on Tuesday, July 28
Powerhouse Theater

(Concert readings held in the 325-seat Martel Theater, Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film, $25)

Whisper House
Music & Lyrics by Duncan Sheik
Book & Lyrics by Kyle Jarrow
Directed by Keith Powell
July 10, 11 at 8pm; July 11 at 2pm

Tina Girlstar
Book by Anton Dudley
Lyrics by Charlie Sohne
Music by Brian Feinstein
July 31 and August 1 at 8pm

(Workshop presentations of plays with partial production values, held in the 125-seat Susan Stein Shiva Theater, $20)

One Slight Hitch
By Lewis Black
Directed by Joe Grifasi
July 17, 18 at 8pm; July 19 at 2pm and 7pm

Shoe Story
By Ben Snyder
Directed by Thomas Kail
July 23, 24 at 8pm; July 25 at 2pm


(Held in the 125-seat Susan Stein Shiva Theater, free to the public with reservations strongly recommended)

Readings Festival 1
June 26 – June 28, 2009

A New Play
by Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Jeremy Cohen
Friday, June 26 at 8pm

By Julian Sheppard
Directed by Sarah Benson
Saturday, June 27 at 2pm

The Onion Game
By Bryan Delaney
Directed by Will Frears
Sunday, June 28 at 2pm

Language Rooms
By Yussef El Guindi
Directed by Blanka Zizka
Sunday, June 28 at 5pm

Readings Festival 2
July 30 – August 2

Soul Cake
By Dan Moran
Directed by David Wohl
Thursday, July 30 at 8pm

Written and directed by John Patrick Shanley
Friday, July 31 at 8pm

By Regina Taylor
Saturday, August 1 at 2pm

That Good Night
By Andrew Dolan
Directed by Bob Krakower
Sunday, August 2 at 2pm

The Jacksonian
By Beth Henley
Directed by Doug Hughes
Sunday, August 2 at 5pm

(All performances are free, no reservations are needed.)


The Trojan Women
By Euripides
Directed by Dennis Reid
July 10, 11, 12, July 13 at 6pm

Twelfth Night
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Anthony Luciano
July 17, 18, 19, 20 at 6pm

The Taming of the Shrew
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Brian McManamon
July 24, 25, 26, 27 at 6pm


Dances at an Exhibition
Directed and soundpainted by Mark Lindberg
July 9, 16, 23, 2009 at 6:00 pm

(Concert reading in the 325-seat Martel Theater, Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film.)

Hello! My Baby
Book and new lyrics by Cheri Steinkellner
New music and arrangements by Jeff Rizzo
Directed by Christa Kimlicko-Jones
August 1 at 5pm

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

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, June 10, 2009