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Signature Theatre Announces 2014-15 Season

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SIGNATURE THEATRE

PROUDLY ANNOUNCES EIGHT PRODUCTIONS
FOR THE 2014-15 SEASON
INCLUDING TWO NEW RESIDENCY ONE PLAYWRIGHTS

RESIDENCY ONE

THE WAYSIDE MOTOR INN by A. R. GURNEY
WHAT I DID LAST SUMMER by A. R. GURNEY 

AND I AND SILENCE by NAOMI WALLACE
THE LIQUID PLAIN
by NAOMI WALLACE 

LEGACY PROGRAM

A PARTICLE OF DREAD by SAM SHEPARD
BIG LOVE by CHARLES MEE

A NEW PLAY by ATHOL FUGARD

RESIDENCY FIVE

OUR LADY OF KIBEHO by KATORI HALL

NEW PLAYS BY GURNEY AND WALLACE TO BE A PART OF 2015-16 SEASON

SUBSCRIPTIONS ON SALE NOW

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.SIGNATURETHEATRE.ORG

Signature Theatre (James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director) is pleased to announce eight productions for the 2014-15 Season at the company’s Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). All subscriber tickets for the 2014-15 Season are $25 each as part of the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access. Subscription packages start at just $125.

For the first time ever, Signature’s Residency Oneprogram, which produces a series of plays from the body of work of a writer, will feature two accomplished playwrights simultaneously: A.R. Gurney and Naomi Wallace. The season begins in August with the U.S. premiere of Naomi Wallace’s And I And Silence, directed by Caitlin McLeod, and continues with a new production of A.R. Gurney’s The Wayside Motor Inn, the New York premiere of Wallace’s The Liquid Plain, directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, and a new production of Gurney’s What I Did Last Summer, directed by Jim Simpson. Both A.R. Gurney and Naomi Wallace’s residencies will conclude with premiere productions during Signature’s 2015-16 Season. These productions are currently available for purchase with a 2014-15 Signature subscription package.

Signature’s Legacy Program, a homecoming for past Signature Playwrights-in-Residence, will feature the U.S. premiere of A Particle of Dread by Sam Shepard (1996-97 Season Playwright-in-Residence), produced with Field Day Theater Company, directed by Nancy Meckler, and featuring Academy Award-nominee Stephen Rea; Big Love by Charles Mee (2007-08 Season Playwright-in-Residence), directed by Tina Landau; and a new play written and directed by Athol Fugard (2012 Season Playwright-in-Residence).

As part of the Residency Five program, the 2014-15 Season will feature the world premiere of Katori Hall’s new play Our Lady of Kibeho, directed by Michael Greif. Residency Five is a groundbreaking program that provides a group of playwrights with the full range of Signature’s resources for a period of five years to create and produce new work, and guarantees each playwright a minimum of three premieres at The Pershing Square Signature Center. The program enables a diverse community of playwrights to build bodies of work, and provides them with a significant cash award, full health benefits and a stipend to attend theatre. Annie Baker, Martha Clarke, Will Eno, Katori Hall, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan and Regina Taylor are the program’s current playwrights.

Founding Artistic Director James Houghton says “For our fourth season in The Pershing Square Signature Center we have assembled a very exciting group of artists and productions. I’m thrilled to welcome Sam, Chuck, Athol and Katori back to the company, and to add the distinctive voices of A.R. Gurney and Naomi Wallace to the Signature landscape, as well as collaborate with Stephen Rea’s Field Day Theatre Company on the US premiere of Sam’s new play. The collision of this diverse group of artists will surely be powerful for Signature and our audiences.”

Signature’s current 2013-14 Season continues with Kung Fuby David Henry Hwang, directed by Leigh Silverman, with choreography by Sonya Tayeh (extended through April 6); The Open House by Will Eno, directed by Oliver Butler (extended through March 30); and Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, directed by Liesl Tommy (extended through April 13).

Subscriptions to the 2014-15 Season are on sale now by calling Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 or visiting www.signaturetheatre.org.

Tickets to the initial runs of all Signature productions at The Pershing Square Signature Center are $25, part of the groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, a program that guarantees affordable and accessible tickets to every Signature production through 2031. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible by lead partner The Pershing Square Foundation. Additional support provided by the Ford Foundation, Margot Adams, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

2014-15 SEASON OVERVIEW

RESIDENCY ONE

 

THE WAYSIDE MOTOR INN

By A. R. Gurney

August – September 2014

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

Outside Boston, ten people—some strangers, some not—struggle with the circumstances that have brought them to the Wayside Motor Inn.  With old grudges and new feuds threatening the travelers’ peace, this funny and moving work kicks off A. R. Gurney’s Signature Residency by examining the tenuous space between loneliness and connection, and the fragile framework of the American Dream.

WHAT I DID LAST SUMMER

By A. R. Gurney

Directed by Jim Simpson

May – June 2015

The Irene Diamond Stage

With her husband overseas near the end of World War II, Grace fights to save the splintering bonds of her family by taking her teenage son and daughter to spend the summer on Lake Erie. When her son takes up with the town outcast, the entire family must confront the expectations of a society that holds conformity in the highest regard. Grace finds that her attempt to restore normalcy may have only fractured their relationships further in the second show of A. R. Gurney’s Signature Residency.

AND I AND SILENCE                                                         **U.S. PREMIERE**

By Naomi Wallace

Directed by Caitlin McLeod

August – September 2014

The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

Two imprisoned teenagers, one black, one white, form a perilous bond.  As the young women serve time, they forge a plan for survival. When the outside world proves even more dangerous than the jail itself, their private world becomes an untenable practice ground for their new lives. And I And Silence explores the fierce dreams of youth and the brutal reality of adulthood in 1950’s America.

THE LIQUID PLAIN                                                                        **NEW YORK PREMIERE**

By Naomi Wallace

Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah

February – March 2015

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

On the docks of late 18th century Rhode Island, two runaway slaves, Adjua and Dembi, plan a desperate and daring run to freedom. When a chance encounter triggers an unexpected collision of worlds, painful truths are uncovered and the brutality of past crimes spills into the next generation. Winner of the 2012 Horton Foote Prize for Promising New American Play, The Liquid Plain brings to life a group of people whose stories have been erased from history.

Both A.R. Gurney and Naomi Wallace’s residencies will conclude with premiere productions during Signature’s 2015-16 Season. These productions are currently available for purchase with a 2014-15 Signature subscription.

LEGACY PROGRAM

A PARTICLE OF DREAD                                                  **U.S. PREMIERE**

By Sam Shepard

Directed by Nancy Meckler

November – December 2014

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

Signature and Ireland’s renowned Field Day Theatre Company are thrilled to present the U.S. premiere of 1996-97 Playwright-in-Residence Sam Shepard’s A Particle of Dread. This dark, fragmented, modern-day take on Oedipus Rex premiered in Derry, Ireland and features Academy Award-nominee Stephen Rea in the canonical central role, alongside a cast of actors from both sides of the Atlantic.


Stephen Rea is appearing with the permission of Actors’ Equity Association.  Signature Theatre gratefully acknowledges Actors’ Equity Association for its assistance of this production.

BIG LOVE

By Charles Mee

Directed by Tina Landau

February – March 2015

The Irene Diamond Stage

Fifty brides flee their fifty grooms and seek refuge in an Italian villa in this modern re-making of one of the world's oldest plays, The Danaids by Aeschylus. Mayhem ensues, complete with grooms in flight suits, women throwing themselves to the ground, occasional pop songs and romantic dances - even a bride falling in love. Reuniting Signature's 2007-08 Playwright-in-Residence Charles Mee with his longtime collaborator Tina Landau, Big Love is a colossal, poetic work that explores the hunger for independence, the burden of tradition, and the shape and size of love.

A New Play                                                                           **WORLD PREMIERE**

Written and directed by Athol Fugard

April – May 2015

The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

Signature is delighted to welcome back Athol Fugard for the world premiere of his newest play. A trio of Fugard’s plays—Blood Knot, My Children! My Africa!, and The Train Driver christened The Pershing Square Signature Center in the 2012 Inaugural Season and introduced Signature audiences to Fugard’s rich body of work. As he did with Blood Knot and The Train Driver, Fugard will direct this new production.

The Legacy Program is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


RESIDENCY FIVE

OUR LADY OF KIBEHO                                                    **WORLD PREMIERE**

By Katori Hall

Directed by Michael Greif

November – December 2014

The Irene Diamond Stage

In 1981, a village girl in Rwanda claims to see the Virgin Mary. Ostracized by her schoolmates and labeled disturbed, everyone refuses to believe, until the impossible starts happening again and again. Skepticism gives way to fear, faith, and fate, causing upheaval in the school community and beyond. Based on real events, Our Lady of Kibeho is the second production of Olivier Award-winning playwright Katori Hall’s Residency at Signature.

Special thanks to The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting the Residency Five Program.

About THE PLAYWRIGHTS

ATHOL FUGARD has been working in the theatre as a playwright, director, and actor in South Africa, England, and the United States for over fifty years.  In 2011 he received a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award and was the inaugural Humanitas Visiting Professor of Drama at Oxford University.  His play The Road to Mecca was recently produced on Broadway by Roundabout Theatre Company.  Recent productions include: The Bird Watchers  (The Fugard Theatre in Cape Town) and The Train Driver  (The Fugard Theatre, The Hampstead Theatre, Signature Theatre).  He has been seen on stage in South Africa, London, Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theatre in the U.S.  Film credits include The Road to Mecca, Gandhi, The Killing Fields, Meetings With Remarkable Men, Marigolds In August, Boesman and Lena, and The Guest.  His novel Tsotsi, was adapted into a film which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film (2006).  He has published his autobiographical memoir “Cousins.” His plays include: No-Good Friday, Nongogo, Blood Knot, Hello and Goodbye, People are Living There, Boesman and Lena, Statements After an Arrest, Under the Immorality Act, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, Dimetos, The Island, A Lesson From Aloes, ‘Master Harold’ …and the Boys, The Road to Mecca, A Place With the Pigs, My Children! My Africa!, Playland, Valley Song, The Captain’s Tiger, Sorrows and Rejoicings, Exits and Entrances, Victory, Coming Home. As part of his 2011 residency with Signature Theatre, Athol directed his plays Blood Knot and The Train Driver (New York City premiere).  Signature also presented his My Children! My Africa!, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. In March 2014, he will be returning to the stage for the first time in 15 years to act in his new play Shadow of the Hummingbird at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT.

A. R. GURNEY has been writing plays for many years.  The most produced are The Dining RoomThe Cocktail Hour, Love Letters, and Sylvia. In recent years, several of his plays have been produced by the Flea Theater off-Broadway where his latest work, Family Furniture, appeared this fall. Gurney is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Theatre Hall of Fame, and has received many awards for individual plays and for the body of his work. His website is at argurney.com.

 

KATORI HALL is a playwright/performer from Memphis, TN. Hall’s plays include: The Mountaintop (2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play), which recently ran on Broadway at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre starring Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson, Hurt Village (2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, Signature Theatre), Children of Killers (National Theatre, UK and Castillo Theatre, NYC), Hoodoo Love (Cherry Lane Theatre), Remembrance (Women’s Project), Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, WHADDABLOODCLOT!!! (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Our Lady of Kibeho and Pussy Valley. Her awards include the Lark Play Development Center Playwrights of New York (PONY) Fellowship, the ARENA Stage American Voices New Play Residency, the Kate Neal Kinley Fellowship, two Lecomte du Nouy Prizes from Lincoln Center, the Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama, a NYFA Fellowship, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award and the Otis Guernsey New Voices Playwriting Award. Hall’s journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, UK’s The Guardian, Essence and The Commercial Appeal, including contributing reporting for Newsweek. The Mountaintop and Katori Hall: Plays One are published by Methuen Drama. Hall is an alumna of the Lark Playwrights’ Workshop, where she developed The Mountaintop, and a graduate of Columbia University, the A.R.T. at Harvard University, and the Juilliard School. She is a proud member of the Ron Brown Scholar Program, the Coca-Cola Scholar Program, the Dramatists Guild, and the Fellowship of Southern Writers. She is currently a member of the Residency Five at Signature Theatre in New York City, and is also a staff writer for the television show Legends, TNT's upcoming undercover FBI drama slated to air June 2014.

 

CHARLES MEE has written Big Love, True Love, First Love, bobrauschenbergamerica, Iphigenia 2.0, Trojan Women 2.0, Orestes 2.0, Summertime and Wintertime among other plays - all of them available on the Internet at www.charlesmee.org. His plays have been performed at Signature Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater, Lincoln Center, the Humana Festival, Steppenwolf, American Repertory Theatre,  and other places in the United States as well as in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Vienna, Istanbul and elsewhere. Among other awards, he is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

SAM SHEPARD was first produced in New York in 1963 at Theatre Genesis and many times at La MaMa and Café Cino.  Eleven of his plays have won Obie Awards including The Tooth of Crime (1972) and Curse of the Starving Class (1976). He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his play Buried Child (1979).  The critically acclaimed production of True West, starring Jon Malkovich and Gary Sinise opened in New York in 1982.  Fool For Love (1982) starring Ed Harris received the Obie for Best Play and Direction. A Lie of the Mind (1985) won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Play. Simpatico opened at The Royal Court Theatre after its premiere at The Public Theatre in 1994 and was made into a feature film by Matthew Warchus starring Nick Nolte and Sharon Stone. A revised Buried Child under the direction of Gary Sinise opened on Broadway in 1996 and was nominated for a Tony Award.  Signature Theatre devoted its season to him that same year. Several new plays opened over the next ten years in the United States and in London, most notably The Late Henry Moss and The God of Hell.  Mr. Shepard recently began a fruitful collaboration with The Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland where Kicking a Dead Horse and Ages of the Moon premiered. As an actor he is perhaps best known for his roles in Days of Heaven, The Right Stuff and Frances. His third book, Day Out of Days was published in 2011.

NAOMI WALLACE is a playwright from Kentucky. Her plays—which have been produced in the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States and the Middle East—include In the Heart of America, Slaughter City, One Flea Spare, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek, Things of Dry Hours, The Fever Chart: Three Visions of the Middle East, And I and Silence, The Hard Weather Boating Party, The Liquid Plain. Her stage adaptation of William Wharton's novel Birdy was produced on the West End in London. In 2009, One Flea Spare was incorporated into the permanent répertoire of the French National Theater, the Comédie-Française. Only two American playwrights have been added to La Comédie's repertoire in 300 years.  Films: Lawn DogsThe War BoysFlying Blind (co-written with Bruce-Mcleod).  Awards: Susan Smith Blackburn Prize (twice), Joseph Kesselring Prize, Fellowship of Southern Writers Drama Award, Obie Award, and the 2012 Horton-Foote Award for most promising new American play. She is also a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts development grant. In 2013 Wallace received the inaugural Windham Campbell prize for drama.

About SIGNATURE THEATRE

Signature Theatre exists to honor and celebrate the playwright. Founded in 1991 by James Houghton, Signature makes an extended commitment to a playwright’s body of work, and during this journey, the writer is engaged in every aspect of the creative process. By championing in-depth explorations of a playwright’s body of work, Signature delivers an intimate and immersive journey into the playwright’s singular vision. 

Signature serves its mission through its permanent home at The Pershing Square Signature Center, a three-theatre facility on West 42nd Street designed by Frank Gehry Architects to host Signature’s three distinct playwrights’ residencies and foster a cultural community. At the Center, opened in January 2012, Signature continues its founding Playwright-in-Residence model as Residency One, a first-of-its-kind, intensive exploration of a single writer’s body of work. Residency Five, the only program of its kind, was launched at the Center to support multiple playwrights as they build bodies of work by guaranteeing each writer three productions over a five-year period. The Legacy Program, launched during Signature’s 10th Anniversary, invites writers from both residencies back for productions of premiere or earlier plays.

The Pershing Square Signature Center is a major contribution to New York City’s cultural landscape and provides a venue for cultural organizations that supports and encourages collaboration among artists throughout the space. In addition to its three intimate theatres, the Center features a studio theatre, rehearsal studio, and a public café, bar and bookstore. Through the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, Signature has also made an unprecedented commitment to making its productions accessible by underwriting the cost of initial run tickets, currently priced at $25, through 2031.

Signature has presented entire seasons of the work of Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, Maria Irene Fornes, Athol Fugard, John Guare, David Henry Hwang, Bill Irwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Romulus Linney, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, and a season celebrating the historic Negro Ensemble Company. Signature, its productions and its resident writers have been recognized with the Pulitzer Prize, Lucille Lortel Awards, Obie Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and AUDELCO Awards, among many other distinctions.

For more information, please visit www.signaturetheatre.org.

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Andrew C. McGibbon

 

Andrew C. McGibbon has spent the past thirty years working in live theatre as a stage manager, general manager, producer and leader in the convergence of Broadway and online.

Mr. McGibbon worked as a stage manager and general manager for ten years. In 1994 he created a website devoted to live theatre, BroadwayWorld-Wide.com. The site was subsequently bought by, and became Playbill.com. He continued to manage the site for Playbill for four years. In 2000 he became the website manager for TonyAwards.com. With the 2008-09 season he finished his ninth year on the show. He has also worked as a webmaster for the Broadway League and Jazz at Lincoln Center. He is presently the Director of Digital Media for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

Mr. McGibbon is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Independent Theatre Bloggers Association, AEA and AFTRA.

In addition to his work in the theatrical industry, Mr. McGibbon is also a partner in Simple Solutions Distributing, a manufacturer of filtration equipment for the waste-water industry.

Photo: Elizabeth Leitzell

 

Website: www.facebook.com/andrewmcgibbon