Press Release

Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College Announces Programming Lineup for the 37th Powerhouse Season

New Musical and Play Workshops, Free Readings, and Training Program for Five Weeks: June 25–July 30, 2023

Vassar College is pleased to announce the lineup for the 37th Powerhouse Theater Season. The annual summer season brings together some of todayʼs most influential theatrical voices and welcomes the next generation of theater artists as members of the renowned Powerhouse Theater Training Program.

Powerhouse is thrilled to welcome new collaborators alongside the return of Vassar alums and old friends. The lineup includes new works by Broadway veterans Mimi Quillin (Sweet Charity) and Michael Berresse ([title of show]), who have teamed up to present Call Fosse at the Minskoff. Vassar alum and writer Bill Barclay (Concert Theatre Works) presents The Chevalier, a play and concert focused on the life of composer Joseph Bologne, featuring the Harlem Chamber Players. Direct from the Broadway revival of 1776, real-life couple Ariella Serur and Sav Souza present We Start in Manhattan: A New Queer Musical. Returning to Powerhouse for the next installment of their Shapeshifters musical canon is Truth Future Bachman (Lincoln Center, The Public) and their workshop presentation of Skyward: An Endling Elegy. Powerhouse is partnering with The Tank to present Behind the Attic Wall, a puppet theater piece based on the young adult novel by Sylvia Cassedy, adapted by Peggy Stafford. And rounding out the Powerhouse Season will be free readings of new works by Johnny G. Lloyd (The Tank), Judson Jones (Theatre East), Vassar Drama Professor Peter Gil-Sheridan, and the winner of the Leah Ryan Fundʼs “Leah Award.”

Vassar is also pleased to welcome to campus a new cohort of young actors, directors, and writers as members of the Powerhouse Theater Training Company. These emerging artists will present a slate of free theater throughout the season including Shakespeareʼs A Midsummer Nightʼs Dream, adapted and directed by Doug Paulson, and Macbeth, directed by Caley Chase. Both will be performed outside at the Preserve at Vassar. And Max Reuben returns to direct the company in the innovative use of Soundpainting, a gestural language, in a completely devised project at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

“Itʼs always a privilege to share with our audience an exciting and diverse lineup of new and imaginative works for theater,” said Producing Director Ed Cheetham.

“The 37th Powerhouse Season truly has something for everyone: queer-centered new musicals, a one-woman tour deforce performance as both Fosse and Verdon, the true story of composer Joseph Bologne featuring a 16-piece orchestra, a puppet theater production accessible to the whole family, and much more,” added Producing Director Michael Sheehan.

“As the Powerhouse season begins again, I am thrilled that we will support the work of a range of Vassar artists including Bill Barclay (Class of 2003) and Professor Peter Gil-Sheridan from the Drama department, as well as Carol Ostrow (Class of 1977), who will be producing Call Fosse at the Minskoff at the Powerhouse,” said Vassar College President Elizabeth H. Bradley.

“Of course, at the core of the Powerhouse program is the Training Company. We are delighted to welcome a new cohort of eager aspiring-artists, who will study, create and perform alongside our world-class faculty and professional artists,” added Sheehan.

“We canʼt wait to welcome our loyal audiences back to the Vassar campus. See you this summer!” concluded Cheetham.

The 37th Powerhouse Season

Musical Workshops

Skyward: An Endling Elegy (July 7–9)

Music, Words and Story by Truth Future Bachman

Directed by Zhailon Levingston

Music Direction by Josh Kight

In the Powerhouse Theater

Aria is a seasoned birder on the brink of a new discovery. After sighting a flock of rare birds during a great migration, she recognizes each as an extinct species. Even more curious are the physical shifts in Aria’s body as the flock’s ghostly birdsongs awaken an avian adaptation that transforms her life forever. The next evolution of Truth Future Bachman’s Shapeshifters saga, following Luna and the Starbodies (Powerhouse, 2022), Skyward: An Endling Elegy is a soaring musical vision for the first—and last—of our kind.

We Start in Manhattan: A New Queer Musical (July 14–15)

Written by Ariella Serur and Sav Souza

Directed by Ellie Heyman

In the Powerhouse Theater

We Start In Manhattan is a slutty, romantic comedy written by and starring real life couple Ariella Serur (they/she) and Sav Souza (they/them). Filled with humor and heart, this two-person musical tells the story of a one-night stand turned month-long road trip, exploring relationships with a looming expiration date, and the ways that brief intimacy can profoundly impact our lives.

All Musical Workshop tickets are $30 and go on sale June 1, 2023.

Play Workshops

Call Fosse at the Minskoff (July 20–23)

Written and Performed by Mimi Quillin

Directed by Michael Berresse

Set/Projection Design by Timothy R. Mackabee

Lighting Design by Jen Schriever

Costume Design by Claudia Brown

Sound Design by Joanna Lynne Staub

Dramaturgy by Anika Chapin

Developed and Produced by The Fabulous Invalid and Stop the Wind Theatricals

In the Powerhouse Theater

There are “legends” and then there are legends. In this entirely true, middle age coming-of-age story, dancer and actor Mimi Quillin brings audiences along with her into the inner sanctum of two of the greatest giants the theater world has ever known: Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. Written and performed by Quillin, and directed by Tony Award nominee Michael Berresse ([title of show]), in Call Fosse at the Minskoff, Quillin recounts her experience working with Fosse and Verdon on what would be their final collaboration, investigating the life-altering effects of proximity to true greatness, and revealing all the thrills and terrors of walking the high wire on the riskiest platform in entertainment.

The Chevalier (July 22)

Written by Bill Barclay

Music by Joseph Bologne

Additional Music by Bill Barclay

Featuring the Harlem Chamber Players

In the Martel Theater, Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film

Son of a slave and French aristocrat, Joseph Bologne has reached the top of his game—music teacher to Marie Antoinette and Europeʼs fencer to beat. But when a bedridden Mozart is carried into his kitchen, he attracts the attention of a secret police force returning people of color to slavery.

As Paris hurtles toward revolution, Bologne is forced to choose between his creative freedom and the crusade for equality. Can he sacrifice his bow for his sword? This is the true story of three immigrants—Marie Antoinette, Mozart, and Bologne—conflating the French Revolution with the Resistance against authoritarianism unfolding today.

Behind the Attic Wall (July 28–July 30)

Adapted from the novel by Sylvia Cassedy

Written by Peggy Stafford

Conceived and Directed by Meghan Finn

Music by Mike Cassedy

Puppets Designed by The Ladies of Mischief

In the Powerhouse Theater

Behind the Attic Wall is a beloved young adult novel by Sylvia Cassedy, adapted for the stage by playwright Peggy Stafford. When orphaned twelve-year-old Maggie Turner is sent to live with her two great-aunts in an old, empty boarding school she is bereft and alone. Soon she is called to the Attic by two, possessed china dolls, building a world that is at once intricate and theatrical—a place where she finds friendship and a sense of home. Featuring music by Mike Cassedy with masks and puppets designed by The Ladies of Mischief, Behind The Attic Wall is a play for all audiences directed by Meghan Finn.

All Play Workshop tickets are $30 and go on sale June 1, 2023.


Canaan Unremembered (June 25)

Written By Judson Jones

Directed by Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy

In the Powerhouse Theater

After losing a difficult pregnancy, a young evangelical couple faces another tragedy when Jenn suffers a stroke that not only removes all memory of the relationship with her husband, Matt, but also removes all memory of the faith she has spent her life depending upon.

birthday birthday birthday (June 30)

Written by Johnny G. Lloyd

In the Powerhouse Theater

Marissa and Clark are best friends who share a birthday. Marissa and Clark are best friends who share a birthday party. And Marissa and Clark plan on sharing that birthday party for the rest of their lives—and then some. If only the future doesnʼt get in their way. A multi-decade romp through race, class, and time, birthday birthday birthday is about who we choose and how we change—and if we get any say in the matter.

Useful People (July 2)

Written by Peter Gil-Sheridan

In the Powerhouse Theater

Useful People tells the story of Susan and Ethel, two septuagenarians who turn to selling their prescription drugs to turn a profit. When Susanʼs grandson, Patrick, returns in disgrace from the college he works for, it doesnʼt take long for him to discover that his grandmother is a very different woman than she was before. The play takes a comic look at aging in America while examining each characterʼs longing for love and safety in a world that devalues the elderly.

All readings are free. Tickets can be reserved beginning on June 15, 2023. Additional projects and casting will be announced at a later date.

The Training Company

A Midsummer Nightʼs Dream (July 14–16)

Written by William Shakespeare

Adapted and Directed by Doug Paulson

At the Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns

Have you ever woken up in a panic? Shot up with a start in a cold sweat, certain what you had just been seeing, hearing and experiencing was real? You’re scared for your life, out of breath, angry and confused...You’ve been defeated in battle and enslaved by your conqueror, forced to wed and your father wants you dead...Your lover loves another and forgets you’re alive while all your friends have abandoned you, you’re obsessively infatuated with a disgusting monster, RUNNING OUT OF TIME and everything’s falling apart?! Aren’t those feelings real one way or another? Dreams are powerful communications from our subconscious, so what are they trying to tell us when all they show us are our worst nightmares? Come wander the winding paths of Shakespeare’s subconscious forest and get lost in the thoughts of a restless collective humanity.

Macbeth (July 21–23)

Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Caley Chase

At the Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns

After killing their king, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are thrust into the depths of desperation, torment, and profound imagination. Shakespeareʼs great tragedy is a tale of fate and its conclusions. They must go on. Macbeth is inevitable and it tumbles on itself with speed and energy, one piece knocking over the next. “I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.”—Macbeth, Act III

Real Human Beings (July 6, 13, 20, 27)

Conceived by members of the Training Company

Composed and Directed by Max Reuben

At the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

Greetings, fellow humans. We are real human creators who were birthed from our real human mothers. We were not created by scientists on a computer at all. We exist tangibly in space. Not as bytes and bits on the cyberweb. We are excited to bring you a very human performance, created live by us: real human beings.

Real Human Beings utilizes the gestural composing language of Soundpainting to create a spontaneous, ensemble-based improvised performance.

New Works Play Festival (July 29)

Written and Directed by members of the Training Company

At 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 which they have developed over the summer. Featuring performances by the actors of the Training Company, these short plays reflect the studentʼs 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.

Box Office Information

Online ticket sales: June 1, 2023.

In-person ticket sales: June 8, 2023 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,


Now in its 37th season, Powerhouse Theater (Ed Cheetham, Michael Sheehan, Producing Directors) is dedicated to both emerging and established artists in the development and production of new works. For five weeks every summer, the Powerhouse Theater Program comes to life on the Vassar College campus to provide a nurturing environment in which passionate theater lovers from students to professional practitioners and audience members learn from one another. The Powerhouse Theater Training Program provides aspiring theater professionals a chance to immerse themselves in acting, directing, and playwriting. The programʼs Training Company also offers free performances throughout the season. Established as a joint endeavor with New York Stage and Film, Vassar College continues to produce The Powerhouse Season, alongside new partnerships with theater institutions and individual artists. Together with our adventurous partners, students, and dedicated audiences, we create a crucial community—one that gives time, space and voice to artists of the American theater.

Recent projects that have premiered in New York City developed by Powerhouse include: Luna and the Starbodies (Lincoln Center), Sweet Chariot (The Public), Sanctuary City (New York Theatre Workshop), Diana (Broadway), Head Over Heels (Broadway), The Secret Life of Bees (Atlantic Theatre Company), The Great Leap (Atlantic Theatre Company), Alice by Heart (MCC Theatre), A 24-Decade History of Popular Music (St Annʼs Warehouse) and The Wolves (Broadway–Lincoln Center Theater). Other projects developed at the Powerhouse include the Tony Award-winning Side Man and Tru; the multi-award-winning Doubt by John Patrick Shanley; the groundbreaking Broadway musical Hamilton; and Stephen Karamʼs The Humans.

Vassar College, founded in 1861, is a highly selective, residential, coeducational liberal arts college. Consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country, Vassar is renowned for pioneering achievements in education, for its long history of curricular innovation, and for the beauty of its campus.

2023 Season Partners

Truth Future Bachman is a “rising-star nonbinary composer” (Playbill), vocalist, and writer of socially focused musicals. NYTimes: “musically and vocally rich”, Truth is praised for “golden-voiced”, “soulful vocals” (Vulture). They were recently featured in Teen Vogue and Runnersworld. Select original musicals: Luna & the Starbodies (Lincoln Center, Powerhouse), Horsemanship (Princeton Arts Fellowship), Shapeshifters (Musical Theatre Factory, The Delacorte), FARMED: A Live Podcast Album (WNYC, Fresh Ground Pepper, Joe’s Pub). Truth has authored 10 full length musicals, and musically directed, supervised, or performed in nearly 100 off Broadway musicals and plays. Their short film Who Holds Us debuted at NewFest 2021. Truth is an artist in residence at La Mama E.T.C. and an alum of New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, and Joe’s Pub Working Group. 2022 Richard Rodgers Award Finalist, 2022 Jonathan Larson Award Finalist, and 2021 Jerome Hill Finalist in music.

Concert Theatre Works was founded by Artistic Director Bill Barclay and is an international non-profit whose mission is to build new audiences for classical music by bringing story to the symphony. CTW tours over a dozen projects to orchestras that variously feature actors, puppets, found spaces, juggling, food and illusions, to connect communities more deeply to cherished works. Key productions include The Chevalier (London Philharmonic Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Center, Music of the Baroque, Harlem Chamber Players, Buffalo Philharmonic, Chautauqua, Caramoor, and others), Secret Byrd (St Martin-in-the-Fields and international 20 city tour), Peer Gynt (Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra), and Antony & Cleopatra (LA Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Symphony Orchestra).

The Fabulous Invalid is a theatrical production company founded in 2018 by Jamie DuMont and Rob Russo with the mission to illuminate untold stories and fascinating personalities on air and on stage with a reverence for the past, a bold outlook for the future, and a dash of panache. The company takes its name from the title of a 1938 backstage play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart that has since become a loving nickname for Broadway itself—always deemed on the verge of decline, yet always bouncing back: the fabulous invalid! Projects to date include Bob Fosseʼs Dancinʼ on Broadway, Call Fosse at the Minskoff, and Broadway Barbara Live! (SoHo Playhouse), in addition to four podcasts for the Broadway Podcast Network, and several additional projects in development.

The Leah Ryan Fund began giving out its annual prize, The Leah, in 2010 to honor the memory of playwright and “woman of letters” Leah Ryan, and to encourage and support the work of brilliant and unrecognized women, trans, and non-binary playwrights. It is the purpose of the prize to perpetuate the integrity, compassion, and creativity that Leah herself possessed and inspired in others.

Ariella Serur (they/she) and Sav Souza (they/them) are a real-life couple and writing duo based in Bushwick, NYC. Fresh off their simultaneous Broadway debuts in the revival of 1776, the two are currently on tour with the show around the US. Serur and Souza are dedicated to creating stories that celebrate queer love and intimacy in a nuanced and joyful way, free of queer trauma. We Start In Manhattan debuted to a sold-out crowd at GreenRoom 42 in February of 2022, and earlier this year, the couple sold out 54 Below with their musical featuring fellow cast members of 1776 on Broadway.

TikTok: @SavandAriella, IG: @saaaavv, @ariellaserur

Stop The Wind Theatricals believes that theater is a place for experimentation, discovery, mystery and ultimately magic. We offer a page to stage framework for developing authentic and audacious new plays and we understand the resources necessary for artists at each stage of the process. We nurture, connect and cultivate—but most of all, STOP THE WIND moves plays toward production. Whether experimental or commercial, from the head or from the heart, we understand how good theater works. And with 30 years of producing experience weʼve done it all—classical and avant-garde, devised and structured, ensemble and solo. Our networks are local, national and global. STOP THE WIND was created to propel the widest range of theatrical possibility. Current projects include Pierre by Keith Reddin, Ann, Fran and Mary Ann by Erin Courtney and Call Fosse at the Minskoff written and performed by Mimi Quillin. Next up are plays by Thomas Bradshaw, Todd Solondz and newcomer Martha Pichley.

The Tank, celebrating 20 years in 2023, is a nonprofit arts presenter that champions performing artists working across a variety of disciplines engaged in the pursuit of new ideas and forms of expression.  Led by Artistic Director Meghan Finn, Director of Artistic Development/Co-curator Johnny G. Lloyd, and Managing Producer Molly FitzMaurice, the company provides a home to artists working and experimenting in theater, comedy, dance, film, music, puppetry, and storytelling by removing the economic and accessibility barriers from the creation of new work.

Artists who have developed their craft at The Tank include Tony Award-winner Alex Timbers, Amy Herzog, screenwriter Lucy Alibar, Kyle Jarrow, Reggie Watts, Kyle Abraham, Andrew Bujalski, We Are Scientists, and tens of thousands of others. The Tank has been honored with a 2020 OBIE Award for Institutional Recognition celebrating our Extraordinary Support of Emerging Artists, 6 Drama Desk nominations for our co-produced work, and an official New York City Council proclamation. Recent co-produced work includes New York Times Criticsʼ Picks Simon and His Shoes (2022), Taxilandia (2021, 2023 OBIE Award), OPEN by Crystal Skillman (2019), Red Emma & The Mad Monk by Alexis Roblan (2018), and The Offending Gesture by Mac Wellman (2016); as well as Drama Desk Award-nominated productions The Hunger Artist (2018), The Paper Hat Game (2017), the ephemera trilogy (2017), Ada/Ava (2016) and youarenowhere (2016). The Tankʼs track record of artistic success is not an accident of our model: it is a direct outcome of the culture of creative possibility we have intentionally cultivated.

Theatre East stirs the human side of current issues by fostering new plays of social relevance through New York and World Premieres. A non-profit theater company whose mission is to provide the community with a platform to deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world we share.

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Press Contact: Ed Cheetham, (845) 437-5902,

Photos: Download high-resolution images from the Vassar College Media Relations Flickr site

Headshots: Download high-resolution images of artists from the Vassar College Media Relations Flickr site

May 11, 2023
Powerhouse Theater


man with microphone and woman next to him looking up
Powerhouse - Truth Future Bachman and Mariyea - LUNA AND THE STARBODIES
Photo by Buck Lewis