Friday, April 17, 2015

Behind the Season Part II

Signature Theatre's exciting 2015/16 season includes world premieres, a DC premiere, American classics, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and of course, Sondheim – Signature's Signature. We have a breakdown of what to expect in the second half of this coming season, along with some additional resources to prepare yourself for the groundbreaking productions ahead. 

Road Show (February 9 – March 13, 2016)

Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by John Weidman
Directed by Gary Griffin

The third collaboration between Weidman and Sondheim (AssassinsPacific Overtures), Road Show is a freewheeling musical travelogue of the optimism and opportunism of the early twentieth century through the eyes of two ambitious, eccentric, yet playfully charming brothers.

Based on the real-life Mizner siblings, Road Show follows the dreamer and the schemer’s quest for the ever elusive, shape-shifting American dream. From the Klondike gold rush to India, Hawaii, Guatemala, New York and finally the real-estate boon of Florida’s Boca Raton, the dazzling pace scours not only the map, but also forty years of boom-and-bust and brotherly love (or hate).

For Signature’s 26th Sondheim production, we welcome back director Gary Griffin (A Funny Thing…Forum) with his acclaimed Chicago Shakespeare Theater staging of Road Show.

Additional Resources: Addison MiznerWilson MiznerThe Evolution of Road Show

The Flick (March 1 – April 17, 2016)

By Annie Baker
Directed by Joe Calarco

Set in the popcorn-strewn, empty aisles of a crumbling Massachusetts movie theater, this 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner exposes the surprising tenderness and comedy in the everyday.

Spilled soda on the floor. Leftover food wrappers stashed in the seats. Three minimum wage employees perform the humdrum labor necessary to keep one of the last 35 millimeter projectors running. Through seemingly small conversations about movie actors, broom techniques and weekend plans, the characters divulge heartbreak, hopes and a compelling story all their own.

With her finely-tuned comic eye, Annie Baker (Circle Mirror TransformationThe Aliens) brings a rich humanity to three people who desperately strive to connect, help each other move on and accept their place in the world.

Additional Resources: Letter from Playwrights Horizons Artistic DirectorDownsides of Working in a Movie Theater

The Mystery of Love & Sex (April 5 – May 8, 2016)

From one of the writer of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Showtime’s Masters of Sex comes an unexpected love story of evolving friendship, finding your own path and the value of family.

Complete opposites, Charlotte and Jonny have been best friends since they were children. Now, as college students on the eve of graduation, they toy around with taking their friendship romantic. Or not. Why decide? After all, neither is sure they are even attracted to the other. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s parents, an unlikely couple themselves, push the kids for a definition even while their own relationship founders. Gradually, secrets and truths emerge as playing grown-up turns into actually growing up.

Funny, insightful, with an intense and complex core, Bathsheba Doran’s (Nest) newest play brilliantly examines intimacy, identity and, of course, the many mysteries of love and sex.

La Cage aux Folles (May 31 – July 10, 2016)

Music & Lyrics by Jerry Herman
Book by Harvey Fierstein
Based on the play La Cage aux Folles by Jean Poiret
Directed by Matthew Gardiner

The beloved gender-bending musical comedy and winner of six Tony Awards® including Best Musical closes out the Signature season with Bobby Smith.

The twenty year relationship between Georges, a club-owner, and Albin, the head drag performer, faces a test when their son announces his engagement to the daughter of ultra-conservative political parents. To please their son, Georges and Albin agree to hide their lifestyle and play it straight for a dinner with the potential in-laws. However, Albin’s different definition of “normal” threatens to upend the entire supper with hilarious results.

With an iconic score by Jerry Herman (Hello, DollyMame) featuring “I Am What I Am” and “The Best of Times” and hilarious book by Harvey Fierstein (NewsiesKinky Boots), La Cage Aux Folles is a fabulously fun musical about family, identity and loving who you are.

Additional Resources: Drag Queens in HistoryHarvey Fierstein InterviewRuPaul's Drag Race

To purchase tickets for our exciting 2015-16 season, please visit our website or call our Box Office at 703 820 9771.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Behind the Season Part I

Signature Theatre's exciting 2015/16 season includes world premieres, a DC premiere, American classics, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and of course, Sondheim – Signature's Signature. We have a breakdown of what to expect in the first half of this coming season, along with some additional resources to prepare yourself for the groundbreaking season ahead. 

The Fix (August 11 – September 20, 2015)

Book & Lyrics by John Dempsey
Music by Dana P. Rowe
Directed by Eric Schaeffer

When a popular presidential candidate dies in his mistress’s arms, his ambitious wife, Violet, immediately declares that if she can’t be the wife of the president, then she’ll be the mother of the president – and thrusts their lackluster son Cal into the spotlight in Dempsey and Rowe’s outrageous musical comedy The Fix. With the help of her strategic brother-in-law, Violet transforms her son into the perfect citizen and ideal politician. Together, they create one of the most dysfunctional, yet brutally entertaining, almost-first families.

With a rock-laced, eclectic score and scandalous lyrics, the team behind The Witches of Eastwick and Brother Russia skewers the American bureaucratic machine. It’s The Manchurian Candidate meets Caligula, with a voice uniquely its own; The Fix is a darkly brilliant, over-the-top, audaciously fun ride through the shenanigans of political elections.

Additional Resources: Dempsey and RoweScandalThe Kennedy Family

Cake Off (September 29 – November 22, 2015)

Based on the original play by Sheri Wilner
Book by Sheri Wilner & Julia Jordan
Lyrics by Julia Jordan & Adam Gwon
Music by Adam Gwon
Directed by Joe Calarco

A hilarious world premiere musical adaptation of Sheri Wilner’s riotous battle-of-the-baking-sexes play starring Sherri L. Edelen.

It’s the 48th Annual Twillsbury Bake-Off. The legendary jackpot: one million dollars for the best homemade sugary delight. After a chilly pre-heating, hardy contestants Paul and Rita don their aprons, strap on their oven mitts and square off. Armed with whisks, bowls, knives and eggs, the two engage in an increasingly ludicrous all-out brawl – and only one can remain standing when the timer dings.

Ferociously funny, there’s nothing sweet about this wild musical satire, presented as part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival.

Additional Resources: The Women's Voices Theater FestivalPillsbury Bake-OffGender Roles 

Girlstar (October 13 – November 15, 2015)

Book & Lyrics by Anton Dudley
Music by Brian Feinstein
Directed by Eric Schaeffer

Signature favorite Donna Migliaccio stars in this fantastical world premiere musical fairytale, brimming with magic, darkness and blinding ambition.

Legendary record producer Daniella Espere is searching for her next international sensation. She discovers it in her long-lost niece, Tina, who dreams of being a world-famous pop star. Despite warning signs that all may not be as it seems, the two eagerly forge a mother/daughter bond and Daniella transforms Tina’s image, voice and talent into star quality – but not by the usual means.

With an electrifying pop-laden score, Girlstar invites audiences of all ages to follow one girl’s breathtaking journey and asks, how far is too far to go to become a star?

Additional Resources: American IdolDisney Villains

West Side Story (December 8, 2015 – January 24, 2016)

Book by Arthur Laurents
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Based on a conception of Jerome Robbins
Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
Directed by Matthew Gardiner

Considered one of the greatest musicals of all time, West Side Story makes its triumphant Signature debut.

In the late 1950s two rival gangs struggle for control of their West Side New York City neighborhood. Amidst the chaos, star-crossed lovers find themselves wrenched between their worlds. Beautiful, passionate, with shades of violence and heartache, this innovative adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet still dazzles after more than fifty years.

Written by the dream creative team of Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story’s legendary jazz, Latin and classical-inspired score features the treasured songs “Something’s Coming,” “Tonight,” “I Feel Pretty” and “America.”

Additional Resources: Romeo and JulietPuerto Rican Immigration to New York CityThe Making of West Side Story

Check back to get the inside look on the second half of our upcoming season, which includes Road Show, The Flick, The Mystery of Love & Sex, and La Cage aux Folles.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Simply Sondheim is a celebration of our 25-year partnership with Stephen Sondheim, who in his 85 years has given the world beautiful, intelligent and complex pieces of theater. Let's check in with some cast members to find out what their favorite Sondheim songs are and why.

"My favorite Sondheim song is "Your Fault/Last Midnight" from Into the Woods.  I love this song because it is so very human.  It exposes how we try to justify and rationalize why something went wrong – not wanting to take the blame for whatever part we played in making the mess, instead opting to point the finger at who we *think* pushed the first domino. The Witch ultimately slaps everyone with a dose of reality – even herself – and forces each person to look at how they contributed to the problem at hand.  When she says "I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right...I'm the witch, you're the world. I'm the hitch, I'm what no one believes, I am the witch..." – it is a very real proclamation about life.  Sometimes the truth of a situation is not good or nice, and most times no one wants to believe it. Yet the truth is what it is – always right. It's the hitch in the bliss of ignorance.  I think this song – and the entire show – is a brilliant commentary on life." 
 Kellee Knighten Hough 

 "My favorite Sondheim song is the duet "My Friends" from Sweeney Todd. It occurs
early in the show, just after Mrs. Lovett has returned Sweeney Todd's box of razors to him. Todd pulls one out and a wonderfully pensive, moody vamp begins as he caresses it, then begins to sing to the razor, equating its years of being locked away with his years of banishment. His growing madness is palpable. Eventually Mrs. Lovett joins him in counterpoint, moving closer to touch him and reveal that she's always liked him. Both characters are deep in their own dreams: his a delirium of revenge and murder, hers a twisted image of love. The music builds to a sexy, scary climax which Todd breaks by shouting, "At last my right arm is complete again!" It gives me shivers every time!"
Donna Migliaccio

"To be completely honest, my knowledge
 of Stephen Sondheim music was extremely limited...until now. It's ironic that my first Sondheim show is a revue. After these past few weeks, it's hard to pick a favorite but I have fallen in love with the "Now/Later/Soon" trio. I'm in awe of how Stephen Sondheim has managed to not only overlap these stories but also intersperse the three themes between the characters. Add on Jonathan Tunick's orchestral arrangement and I'm sold."         
– Austin Colby

Simply Sondheim runs April 2 to April 19 in the MAX Theatre. For more information please visit our website or 
call the Box Office at 703 820 9771. Follow Soon on social media with #SigSimply.

Friday, April 3, 2015

When The World Ends...

“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, 
I would still plant my apple tree.” 
– Martin Luther King   

“The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”  
 – Chicken Little

These two quotes represent two different ideologies. What would you do if you knew you only had a few months to live? Would you get out and make the most of your time? Or would you spend time inside worrying about the inevitable? 

These are important moral questions that the characters of Soon must ask themselves. It is the hottest summer in human history and, in a few short months, all water on earth will evaporate. In response, twenty-something Charlie has taken to her couch with only her beloved possessions: peanut butter, Wolf Blitzer and Herschel, the fish. Her mother, her roommate and her sometimes-boyfriend all attempt to persuade her to leave her apartment and enjoy life. The signs though are ominous. Between global warming, doomsday prophets and the continuation of the Real Housewives series, it seems that the end of the world may indeed be very soon.

Global warming has long since been a major issue on our planet, constantly debated by politicians, scientists and citizens alike. However, there is a plethora of examples providing scientific evidence of our impending doom. The year 2014 was "the hottest on earth since record-keeping began in 1880", and the rapidly changing weather is already "killing forests around the world, driving plants and animals to extinction, melting land ice and causing the seas to rise at an accelerating pace."

California's ongoing battle with drought, shown at Folsom Lake

To make things even scarier, not only is human-induced climate change causing irrevocable damage to nature, but human extinction might actually be in the cards. "The planet becomes uninhabitable for humans if the average global temperature" increases by 4° to 6°C, (39° to 43°F). While this may not seem like much, keep in mind that scientists predict that their goal of an average temperature increase of only 2°C (36°F) by the year 2100 is nearly impossible at this point. So unless there are monumental changes made to help our environment, how hot will it become in 10, 20, 50, or 100 years? By 2100 how much of our world will actually be left? 

Flooding devastates Estes Park, Colorado
Honestly, some may find it easier to submit themselves to impending world destruction. Millennials, a generation who entered this world on a tailwind of destructive environmental practices, have been aware of the idea of the world ending for their entire lives. So what can they do? Is there anything to do? Why put in the effort of reaching "adult" milestones such as getting an education, a career, a family if they have no hope of a future?

In a culture that thrives on apathy, do we give in to the nagging feeling of "what's the point?" Or do we work to fix the overwhelming problem at hand?

Soon runs March 10 to April 26 in the ARK Theatre. For more information please visit our website or call the Box Office at 703 820 9771. Follow Soon on social media with #SigSoon.


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