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What to Catch at Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater This Summer

Adobe Stock / aerogondo

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 36th Powerhouse season opens on June 26 and runs until July 31. 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 five-time Powerhouse alum Scotty Arnold may not be available for long.

Our top picks for the season include a musical adaptation of Shakespeare, an otherworldly adventure, and a moving tale of the Hong Kong protests. If the success of past seasons is any indication, then this year’s lineup is one for the books.

Shakespeare: Unplugged

July 29-31, Martel Theater
Musical Workshop

Five-time Powerhouse alum Scotty Arnold embraces the spirit of the Bard in musical adaptations of All’s Well That Ends Well and Twelfth Night. In All’s Well, viewers follow along with a love story that spans different social classes. In Twelfth Night, audiences will laugh out loud as they adventure along with two twins who get separated after a shipwreck…and maybe even find love along the way. Both projects are part of Arnold’s Tales from Shakespeare project, which has received development from the Hudson Valley Performing Arts Laboratory, the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, and Wayne State University. This play is part of the Hudson Valley Performing Arts Lab residency.

Sweet Chariot

July 22-24, Powerhouse Theater
Play Workshop

Craving an otherworldly escape? Snag a ticket to see this play by Eric Lockley, which explores themes of home, freedom, race, and resilience. The story follows protagonist Marcus, a teacher who travels across centuries and planets on the way from Earth to a place called Home. Along the way, he and the space crew he travels with encounter strange alien figures and realize that Home may not be the place they first envisioned. The play is presented by New York Stage and Film at Vassar College’s Powerhouse Season.

Final Boarding Call

July 2, Powerhouse Theater

Showing for one day only, this moving reading focuses on the Hong Kong protests as it weaves a collection of stories between seven characters into one tale. The play is written by Stefani Kuo and touches on themes of family, relationships, politics, and freedom. The reading is free to attend, with tickets available for reservation beginning June 17. This is part of the Leah Ryan Fund residency.

Of course, that’s just the start of shows to see at Vassar this summer. For free showings, The Powerhouse Training Company hosts no-cost public performances every year. This summer’s shows include Shakespeare’s The Tempest and an adaptation of The Trojan Women by Ellen McLaughlin, along with a Training Company original called Things to Do When No One Can See You. Seating is first come, first served, so be sure to show up well in advance of the opening scene.

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

Related: See Romeo & Juliet and More at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

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