Marist College & NYSAF Partner to Bring Professional Theater to the Valley

Wayne Wilson, Gayle Turner, and Phoenix Best; New York Stage and Film’s 2022 Summer Season at Marist College. Photo by Buck Lewis

New York Stage and Film (NYSAF) and Marist College have established a symbiotic partnership to support theater professionals in our region and beyond.

Of any metropolis worldwide, Manhattan attracts the most populous, diverse, high-paying audiences to its trove of theaters in midtown with hits like Hadestown and Hamilton. For two exhilarating hours, audience members suspend their disbelief as they sit in the dark and watch professional performers sing, speak, and sashay across a Broadway stage. Afterwards, the biggest of theater nerds—we at Hudson Valley are card-carrying members of that crew—line up at the stage door with playbills and Sharpies in hand, hoping for an autograph or two.

reading at new york stage and film nysaf
The cast of Anna Deavere Smith’s LOVE ALL; New York Stage and Film’s 2022 Summer Season at Marist College. Photo by Buck Lewis

But before a show can enliven a Broadway stage, or any stage at all, it undergoes years of workshops, readings, rewrites, trails, and tribulations, the largest of which usually have something to do with a lack of money and resources. That’s where New York Stage and Film (NYSAF) comes in. Since 1985, the non-profit has helped artists to develop plays, musicals, and films, in no small part through its partnership with Vassar College in Poughkeepsie. The aforementioned musical hits were both developed with NYSAF, as was the Tony Award-winning Doubt; Pulitzer finalists The Wolves and A 24-Decade History of Popular Music; and the indie sleeper hit film Peanut Butter Falcon, to name but a few of its most commercially successful projects.

World-Class Theater in the Hudson Valley

In February, NYSAF reinforced its relationship to the Hudson Valley region in a joint press release with Marist College, announcing a “dedicated, multi-year collaboration” to bolster Marist’s educational programs while “enabling NYSAF to expand its year-round services.” The fruits of this partnership materialized as early as February 27, when NYSAF inaugurated its winter season at Marist College’s satellite campus in midtown Manhattan.

 

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Looking ahead, NYSAF’s summer season will take place at the college’s main campus in Poughkeepsie from July 14 to August 6. The presence of world-class artists and programming will provide Marist students with valuable internship opportunities in marketing, public relations, and social media management. In turn, Marist College will provide vital resources as well as housing, rehearsal, and performance spaces for NYSAF’s companies-in-residence. “New York Stage and Film has been at the forefront of new work development since 1985, fundamentally altering the tapestry of American storytelling,” Liz Carlson, NYSAF’s Interim Artistic Director. “In collaboration with Marist, NYSAF will be able to expand its resources, creating year-round opportunities for artists and audiences.” In addition to public workshops and developmental readings during its summer season, NYSAF will invest in the next generation of movers and shakers—literally—with its Stories That Move program, which will specifically incubate dance-driven musicals.

laurence fishburne
Photo by Art Streiber

The crown jewel of NYSAF’s upcoming summer season is a two-day run of Like They Do in the Movies, a play written by and starring Laurence Fishburne. While he is best known to the public for his roles in films like The Matrix and John Wick, Fishburne has also enjoyed a robust stage acting career, having won a Tony for his performance in August Wilson’s Two Trains Running. His “one man tour-de-force” at Marist College will explore “the stories and lies people have told me,” says Fishburne. Additionally, Madeleine L’Engle’s science fantasy novel for young readers, A Wrinkle in Time, will receive a musical adaptation with a book by Lauren Yee and tunes by Heather Christian. The summer season will conclude with a staging of Paradise Ballroom, co-created by Princess Lockerooo (the self-proclaimed Queen of Waacking) and Harold O’Neal, as part of Stories That Move. For a full schedule of programming, head to NYSAF’s website.

Related: Theater Productions to Catch in the Hudson Valley This Spring

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