What to Catch at Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater This Summer

Head to Vassar College for a riveting season of musicals, plays, and readings by talented actors and playwrights in Poughkeepsie.

Lights. Camera. Action! The Powerhouse Theater is back to deliver a summer of award-winning performers, unforgettable shows, and glimpses at the plots that may one day make it to Broadway. It happened for Lin-Manuel and Hamilton, after all.

The 2023 Powerhouse season opens on June 25 and runs until July 30. During that time, the Hudson Valley community and New York City weekenders will flock to Vassar’s campus to watch catchy musicals, dramatic readings, and emotional plays. The lineup of shows is worth a perusal now, since tickets often sell out for in-demand performances. Reservations to see works by talents like Tony Award nominee Michael Berresse may not be available for long.

Our top picks for the season include a soaring musical, an adaption of The Chevalier, and a celebration of new works. If the success of past seasons is any indication, then this year’s lineup is one for the books.

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Skyward: An Ending Elegy

July 7-9, Powerhouse Theater
Musical Workshop

Bird lovers won’t want to miss this one! The musical workshop follows seasoned birder Aria, who sights a flock of rare birds during migration and realizes they’re each part of an extinct species. In doing so, she notices how her body begins to shift in ways that transform her life forever. Skyward is an evolution of Truth Future Bachman’s Shapeshifters saga that follows Luna and the Starbodies (Powerhouse, 2022).

The Chevalier

July 22, Martel Theater
Play Workshop

The 2022 film adaptation may have brought the history of Joseph Bologne front and center in everyone’s minds, but this theatrical rendition brings the story to the theater stage. In the play, which is written by Bill Barclay with music by Joseph Bologne and Barclay, the son of a slave and French aristocrat must choose between his creative career and the fight for equality. The tale interweaves the real-life histories of three immigrants – Marie Antoinette, Mozart, and Bologne – as they find their paths amid the tensions of the French Revolution and the Resistance. The Chevalier features the musical talents of the Harlem Chamber Players as well.

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New Works Play Festival

July 29, Susan Stein Shiva Theater
The Training Company

Vassar’s Training Company treats audiences to a one-night-only performance that showcases the talents of its directors and writers. Expect to see short plays that touch on a myriad of topics and hint at the progress and future of American theater. This show is free and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made beginning June 15.

Of course, that’s just the start of shows to see at Vassar this summer. For additional free showings, The Powerhouse Training Company hosts a number of no-cost public performances every year. This summer’s shows include Real Human Beings, a Training Company original, and Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both Shakespeare adaptationsPlus, the Powerhouse delights audiences with an enticing list of readings, musical workshops, and play workshops as well.

For the full schedule of performances and to purchase tickets, visit the Powerhouse Theater website or call 845.437.5907.

Related: See Henry V and More at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

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