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 2024 Powerhouse season opens on June 21 and runs until July 28. 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.

Our top picks for the season include a drama about finding home, an absurd comedy, and a culturally significant musical. If the success of past seasons is any indication, then this year’s lineup is one for the books.

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June 28, 8 p.m.
Powerhouse Theater

Written by Gloria Majule and directed by Shariffa Ali, Possessed follows the journey of a female protagonist named Furaha as she returns home to Tanzania on a medical leave and is reunited with her brother Angaza. Soon enough, Angaza starts to believe that Furaha’s mental illness is actually a demon possession that has taken over her body. The siblings then embark on a road trip from Dar Es Salaam to Singida, during which time they encounter interesting characters and challenges. Ultimately, this dramedy “explores the toll it takes to leave home, and the toll it takes to be back.”

Messy White Gays

July 19-21
Powerhouse Theater
Play Workshop

This absurd play is written by actor and comedian Drew Droege, directed by Mike Donahue, and developed and produced by The Fabulous Invalid. Messy White Gays pretty much spells it all out in the title. One Sunday morning, residents Caden and Brecken of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City have just murdered their throuple-mate. In a rush to get the situation under control before they have company over for brunch, the two men stuff the body into a Jonathan Adler credenza. This dark comedy is sure to put stitches in your side.

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Shanghai Sonatas

July 26-28
Martel Theater
Musical Workshop

A historically and culturally significant body of work, Shanghai Sonatas is set in WWII during the horrors of the Nazi regime. At this time, cosmopolitan Shanghai was the only place in the world that would accept European refugees without a visa. Forced into a ghetto by Japanese occupiers, the cultures of the east and west ultimately bonded through the language of music. With a beautiful music score and a compelling storyline set among a backdrop of wartime danger, this musical “illustrates how the seeds sown by these fateful events of the past resonate to this day.”

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 Twelfth Night and The Taming of the Shrew, both Shakespeare adaptations, along with original works We Are Gathered Together, Marathon, and New Works Play Festival. Plus, 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.

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