Signature Theatre announces 25th Anniversary Season


Signature Theatre has announced its upcoming 25th Anniversary 2015-2016 Season at the Pershing Square Signature Center. There are eight productions in total:

At THE ALICE GRIFFIN JEWEL BOX THEATRE:

The world premiere Westport Country Playhouse co-production of A.R. Gurney's comedy Love and Money, directed by Mark Lamos, will be staged from 15 August to 27 September 2015. Synopsis: "Wealthy widow Cornelia Cunningham has led a life of grace and privilege, and she's making up for it as fast as she can. Determined to donate almost everything she owns before the end, Cornelia's plans are questioned when an ambitious and ingratiating young man, who may be the grandson she never knew she had, arrives to claim his inheritance. The trials of class, family, legacy, and race are all explored."

Following this, will be the world premiere of Naomi Wallace's drama Night is a Room, directed by Bill Rauch, from 3 November to 13 December 2015.

Synopsis: "Liana and Marcus are a well-off couple enjoying their perfectly pleasant lives. Doré has grown accustomed to an isolated existence in her working class neighborhood. After a surprise reunion on Marcus' 40th birthday, their worlds are shattered by an unexpected turn of events. Night is a Room is a searing exploration of love's power to both ruin and remake our lives."

Finally, in honor of Signature's 25th Anniversary, Signature will re-stage three short plays produced in their playwrights’ original Playwright-in-Residence season under the title of Signature One Acts. All directed by Lila Neugebauer, the short plays are Edward Albee’s The Sandbox, María Irene Fornés’ Drowning and Adrienne Kennedy’s Funnyhouse of a Negro. Performances will be staged from 3 May 2016 to 12 June 2016. "This trio of one acts celebrates Signature’s rich and diverse body of work over the past quarter century."

At THE IRENE DIAMOND STAGE:

Kicking off the 25th Anniversary here will be a world premiere production of John, written by Annie Baker and directed by Sam Gold. The cast includes Georgia Engel and Lois Smith, with performances beginning on 22 July and running through to 30 August 2015.

Synopsis: "The week after Thanksgiving. A Bed & Breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. A cheerful innkeeper. A young couple struggling to stay together. Thousands of inanimate objects, watching."

Celebrating the Centennial of Pulitzer Prize winning-playwright Arthur Miller's birth, Signature will then stage a Miller play for the first time since his 1997-98 Residency. His classic drama Incident at Vichy, directed by Michael Wilson, will perform from 27 October to 6 December 2015.

Synopsis: "In Vichy, France at the height of World War II, nine men and a boy are rounded up under suspicious circumstances. As ominous reports of far-off camps and cattle cars packed with prisoners begin to circulate, the men battle over politics, philosophy and how to escape. A haunting examination of the cold, bureaucratic efficiency of evil - and the shared humanity that might overcome it."

Finally, Signature will welcome back Bill Irwin and David Shiner in their award-winning, critically acclaimed production of Old Hats, which enjoyed an extended, sold out run at the Signature Center in 2013. This production features music and lyrics by Shaina Taub (who will also perform live) and is directed by Tina Landau. Performances begin on 26 January 2016 and run through to April 2016.

Synopsis: "Using music, technology, and movement, Irwin and Shiner combine their inimitable magic and slapstick to create an outing that's fun for the whole family."

At THE ROMULUS LINNEY COURTYARD:

Angel Reapers, by Martha Clarke and Alfred Uhry, directed and choreographed by Martha Clarke, will begin performances on 2 February 2016 and run through to 13 March 2016.

Synopsis: "Featuring traditional Shaker songs and a stunning mix of modern dance and actual Shaker movements, Angel Reapers captures the soul of the Shakers, an early American religious sect who sought to connect with God through ecstatic ritual and strict celibacy. While the congregants strive desperately to maintain divine purity, the needs of the flesh threaten to take hold. With text by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Alfred Uhry, this wildly theatrical collage about the glorious love of the divine and the overwhelming desire for human connection marks the return to Signature of Residency Five playwright and MacArthur 'Genius' Award winner Martha Clarke."

Finally, this will be followed by the world premiere production of Quiara Alegría Hudes' drama Daphne's Drive, directed by Thomas Kail, which will be staged from 26 April to 5 June 2016.

Synopsis: "Daphne's Dive is a cheap corner bar in North Philly where Daphne and her eclectic group of friends and family meet, talk, bond and drink. As Daphne's adopted daughter, very different from her quiet and pragmatic mother, grows up, this unconventional family is forced to confront ugly secrets and take a hard look at their lives. Brimming with adversity, love and hope, this world premiere kicks off Quiara Alegría Hudes' Signature Residency."

That concludes the line-up to Signature Theatre's 25th Anniversary Season at the Pershing Square Signature Center.

The remaining productions of the 2014-2015 Season include Naomi Wallace's The Liquid Plain (until 29 March 2015), Atholf Fugard's The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek (from 21 April to 31 May 2015), and A.R. Gurney's What I Did Last Summer (from 28 April to 7 June 2015).

- by Tom Millward