Announcing casting of "Vera Laughed" and Powerhouse Theater's Inside Look play workshops

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY-The 25th anniversary season of Vassar & New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater will continue through Sunday, August 2, with Mainstage performances of the new musical The Burnt Part Boys (7/17 - 26) and the play Vera Laughed  (7/22 - 8/2); the Martel Musical Tina Girlstar  (7/31 - 8/1); the Inside Look workshop series of new plays Slight Hitch (sold-out, 7/17 - 19) and Shoe Story (7/23 - 25). Concluding the season will be the ever-popular Readings Festival 2 (7/30 - 8/2) with new plays by Andrew Dolan, Beth Henley, Dan Moran, John Patrick Shanley, and Regina Taylor. Seating is limited for all these performances, so don't delay in purchasing your tickets online, by phone (845) 437-5599, or in person at the box office on the Vassar campus.

The third offering on Vassar & New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater Mainstage this season will be Keith Bunin's funny, sexy, romantic, and moving story Vera Laughed, about a great writer living in exile - with his wife and his mistress. Vera Laughed will open on Wednesday, July 22, and run through Sunday, August 2, at the Powerhouse Theater on the Vassar College campus.

Vera Laughed is set in April of 1942 against the backdrop of WWII. Nobel Prize-winning author Ivan Bunin, who escaped the Russian Revolution 20 years earlier, has successfully created a new life for himself in the French countryside with his wife Vera and his mistress Galina. However, he still dreams of returning home, but he's not a young man anymore, and the world is at war again.

Not only does Ivan have to deal with his own love triangle, but many others, including Galina's ‘other' love Margarita; Margarita's ‘fiancé' Vladimir; and Vera's devotee, a younger Russian writer, Leonid.

Based on a true story, Vera Laughed provides a provocative and yet humorous glimpse into the household and antics of this great writer (Powerhouse Theater, 7/22 - 8/2, $35).


The cast will include Tony & Drama Desk-nominated actress Maureen Anderman (The Lady from Dubuque, You Can't Take It With You, The Year of Magical Thinking, Edward Albee's Seascape & Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf) as Vera, Jeffrey DeMunn (Our Town, Bent, CableACE Award for HBO's Citizen X, Green Mile, Shawshank Redemption)  as her husband Ivan, Obie Award-winner Ana Reeder (Small Tragedy, Hedda Gabler, Top Girls, Sight Unseen) as Margarita, Gareth Saxe (The Homecoming, Heartbreak House, Michael Mann's Public Enemy) as Vladimir, Jesse Pennington as Leonid, Bess Wohl (CSI NY, Bones) as Galina, and Jason Dechert as Andrei.

The playwright Keith Bunin is a Hudson Valley (Poughkeepsie) native and the author of The Busy World is Hushed, The Credeaux Canvas, and a writer of HBO's award-winning In Treatment.

Director Carolyn Cantor (Pumpgirl, Something You Did, Orange Flower Water) is the founding artistic director of the Obie Award-winning Edge Theater.


The Powerhouse Mainstage will feature the fully-staged new musical The Burnt Part Boys, by Mariana Elder (book), Chris Miller (music), Nathan Tysen (lyrics), and directed by Erica Schmidt with musical direction by Vadim Feichtner. Five teenagers set out on personal quests in the mountains of West Virginia, in a deeply moving and powerful odyssey, set to a haunting and distinctive bluegrass and pop-inspired score. The cast will include Al Calderon (13) as Pete, Skylar Astin (Spring Awakening) as Jake, Noah Galvin as Dusty, Andrew Durand as Chet, Molly Ranson as Frances, Joe Cassidy (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, 1776, Show Boat, Les Misérables) as Pete's Movie Fantasy Men / Dad, and as the other three miners: Timothy Warmen (The Who's Tommy), John Schiappa (Assassins, Take Me Out), and David Abeles. A spring 2010 off-Broadway run is planned. There will be 12 performances of The Burnt Part Boys in the Martel Theater, July 17 through July 26, $35.

The second Martel Musical this season will be Tina Girlstar by Anton Dudley (book), Charlie Sohne (lyrics), and Brian Feinstein (music), directed by Jeremy Dobrish, with musical direction by Chris Fenwick. Tina Girlstar is a pop music fairy tale about the corruptive lure of fame and the redemptive power of true talent! An aging record producer Daniella (Sandy Binion / Jane Eyre) decides her swan song will be to create the ultimate pop princess Tina (Mariand Torres), literally piece by piece. The cast will include Vanessa (Leslie Kritzer / A Catered Affair, Legally Blond, Hairspray), Jeff (Eric William Morris / Coram Boy), Piper (Natalie Weiss), CeCe (Deone Zanotto / A Chorus Line), and Neela (Ronica Reddick / Jonestown). There will be two performances only in the Martel Theater on July 31 and August 1 at 8pm, $25.

This year, Powerhouse Theater will present two play workshops in the Inside Look series:

Following on the four sold-out performances of Slight Hitch by Lewis Black, directed by Joe Grifasi (July 17-19)-with a cast including Peter Maloney as Doc, Kristine Nielsen as Delia, Johnny Galecki as Ryan, Sarah Steele as P.B., Kathleen McElfresh as Melanie, Hannah Cabell as Courtney, and Eric Bryant as Harper-is Ben Snyder's Shoe Story, directed by Thomas Kail (director of the Tony-winning In the Heights), July 23 - 25. The cast of this urban fairy tale of love, loss and the metaphysical significance of a fresh pair of kicks will include Victor Rasuk as Peewee/Juney, Dominique Morisseau as Sarah/Sabrina, Angelo Lozada as Rob, Ron Simons as O.G. Mar, Jinn S. Kim as Yu, Lucas Papaelias and Dominic Colon as Customers. All seats $20, Susan Stein Shiva Theater.

The final weekend of the 25th anniversary season of Powerhouse Theater will feature the ever popular, and free, Powerhouse Festival 2, which will open with Dan Moran's Soul Cake, directed by David Wohl (7/30, 8pm); Pirate, written and directed by John Patrick Shanley (7/31, 8pm); Regina Taylor's Rain, directed by Sheryl Kaller (8/1, 2pm); Andrew Dolan's That Good Night, directed by Bob Krakower (8/2, 2pm); and Beth Henley's The Jacksonian, directed by Doug Hughes (8/2, 5pm). While the readings are free to the public, reservations are strongly recommended as there is very limited seating. Call the box office at (845) 437-5599 for information and reservations.

The Powerhouse Apprentice Company will perform selections from the classics at the Outdoor Amphitheater: Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (7/17-20) and Taming of the Shrew (7/24-27). They will soundpaint Dances at an Exhibition during "Late Night at the Lehman Loeb" at the Art Center (7/16, 23); and will give a concert reading of the new musical Hello! My Baby (8/1, Martel Theater, 5pm). All Powerhouse Apprentice Company performances are free and begin at 6pm (except as noted).

On Friday and Saturday evenings catch great fresh food on the way to the theater with Powerhouse Summer Suppers prepared by a rotating selection of Arlington's restaurants at Café on the Quad from 5:30pm to 8pm [Beech Tree Grill & Bittersweet - July 17, 18; Twisted Soul - July 24, 25; Babycakes Cafe - July 31, Aug 1]. Wine and beer will be offered (no reservations necessary). "Hudson Valley Mediterranean" flavors will be presented by Gigi Hudson Valley at the Alumnae House starting at 6pm on 7/17-18, 7/24-25, 7/31-8/1 (reservation requests: (914) 388-7175). Seventeen Arlington restaurants will offer Powerhouse ticket holders who present their ticket stubs a discount or special menu items for pre- or post- theater meal or dessert.

So join the Powerhouse Theater community and become among the first to see a new play or musical performed, often before it goes on to a larger venue, on or off-Broadway, or in theaters across the country.

Season after season Powerhouse audiences have had the chance to be a witness to the creative process and development of award-winning works through artistically exceptional and affordably priced performances, including John Patrick Shanley's Doubt (four Tony Awards including Best Play and Pulitzer for Drama), Warren Leight's Side Man (two Tony Awards including Best Play and Pulitzer nominee), and Jay Presson Allen's Tru (Tony Award for Best Actor).

Last summer Opera News described Powerhouse as "a safe haven for plays to be nurtured before they make their way into the world, an incubator where writers can work on the development of a show without commercial and critical pressures, far from the ka-ching of Broadway."

Individual tickets to Mainstage shows are $35; Martel Musicals $25; and the Inside Look series $20. This year, continuing its mission of presenting artistically exceptional and affordably priced performances, Powerhouse Theater will offer a $5 student rush ticket for students 25 years and under [as available 15 minutes before curtain].

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. Go online 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 a not-for-profit company dedicated to the development and production of new works for theater and film.  SAF has developed and produced premiere works by such writers as John Patrick Shanley, Jon Robin Baitz, Steve Martin, Theresa Rebeck and Eve Ensler.

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 & New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater
25th Anniversary Season
Through August 2, 2009 or  (845) 437-5599


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

The Burnt Part Boys

Book by Mariana Elder

Lyrics by Nathan Tysen

Music by Chris Miller

Directed by Erica Schmidt

Choreography by Peter Pucci

Musical direction by Vadim Feichtner

Set design by Derek McLane

Costume design by Kaye Voyce

Lighting design by David Weiner

Sound designer Brett Jarvis

Guitarist Matt Hinkley

Fiddle player Joseph Brent

Pete - Al Calderon

Jake - Skylar Astin

Dusty - Noah Galvin

Chet - Andrew Durand

Frances - Molly Ranson

Pete's Movie Fantasy Men/Dad - Joe Cassidy

Miners - Timothy Warmen, John Schiappa, David Abeles

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

Set design by Neil Patel

Lighting design by Ben Stanton

Costume design by Clint Ramos

Sound design by Drew Levy

Leonid - Jesse Pennington

Vera - Maureen Anderman

Ivan - Jeffrey DeMunn

Galina - Bess Wohl

Margarita - Ana Reeder

Vladimir - Gareth Saxe

Andrei - Jason Dechert

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)

Tina Girlstar

Book by Anton Dudley

Lyrics by Charlie Sohne

Music by Brian Feinstein

Directed by Jeremy Dobrish

Musical direction by Chris Fenwick

Daniella - Sandy Binion

Tina - Mariand Torres

Vanessa - Leslie Kritzer

Jeff - Eric William Morris

Piper - Natalie Weiss

CeCe - Deone Zanotto

Neela - Ronica Reddick

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

Doc - Peter Maloney

Delia - Kristine Nielsen

Ryan - Johnny Galecki

P.B. - Sarah Steele

Melani - Kathleen McElfresh

Courtney - Hannah Cabell

Harper - Eric Bryant

July 17, 18 at 8pm; July 19 at 2pm and 7pm


Shoe Story

By Ben Snyder

Directed by Thomas Kail

DJ Bobbito Garcia

Peewee/Juney - Victor Rasuk

Sarah/Sabrina -

Rob -

O.G. Mar - Ron Simons

Yu - Jinn S. Kim

Customers - Lucas Papaelias, Dominic Colon


July 23, 24, 25 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 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.)

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 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 Tuesday, July 14, 2009