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Poughkeepsie Theater Serves As Incubator For Broadway Shows

Lin-Mauel Miranda, the creator of "Hamilton," at the Powerhouse Theater in Poughkeepsie in 2013.
Lin-Mauel Miranda, the creator of "Hamilton," at the Powerhouse Theater in Poughkeepsie in 2013. Photo Credit: Vassar College/Buck Lewis.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- "Hamilton's" 16 Tony Award nominations didn't surprise Johanna Pfaelzer too much. That's because the Artistic Director of New York Stage and Film saw the play way back when, when it was workshopped at Vassar & NY Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater in 2013.

Three, in fact, of the Tony nominated shows can trace their roots to Dutchess County. "Bright Star," the musical with lyrics by Edie Brickell and Comedian-Musician Steve Martin, was here in 2013; "The Humans" by Stephen Karam was here in 2014.

All were bright stars, so to speak, though Pfaelzer had this to say about "Hamilton:"

"Lin-Manuel Miranda is an unbelievably charismatic performer, but also we, the audience in that room on that day, recognized collectively that we were in the presence of something that was game-changing."

Powerhouse is a vital incubator for artists and their work, a catalyst for new stories that go on to theaters across the country. Tony Award-winning plays which received premiere productions here include "Tru" (Jay Presson Allen) and "Side Man" (Warren Leight) and audiences have seen nearly all of John Patrick Shanley’s works in development, including the first public reading of his Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning play. "Doubt."

In all, over 20 recently developed projects have had or will soon have major productions, including "The Fortress of Solitude," by Michael Friedman and Itamar Moses, "Rain," by Michael John LaChiusa and Sybille Pearson, "In Your Arms," music and lyrics by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens and "Dry Land," by Ruby Rae Spiegel.

For more on the Tony Awards and other nominees, click HERE . For more on Powerhouse, go to www.powerhouse.vassar.edu/ .

Tickets for the 2016 season go on sale Tuesday, May 17.

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