ANGELS IN AMERICA Opens at Signature Theatre, 10/28

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Signature Theatre Company (James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director) opens the first New York revival of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning epic work, ANGELS IN AMERICA: A GAY FANTASIA ON NATIONAL THEMES on October 28. The production will be directed by Michael Greif. ANGELS IN AMERICA is the first production of Signature's 20th Anniversary season, celebrating the works of Tony Kushner.

ANGELS IN AMERICA will feature Robin Bartlett (Prelude to a Kiss, "Mad About You") as Hannah Pitt, Christian Borle (Legally Blonde, Spamalot) as Prior Walter, Bill Heck (The Orphans' Home Cycle, The Merchant of Venice, The Winter's Tale) as Joe Pitt, Zoe Kazan (The Seagull, A Behanding in Spokane) as Harper Pitt, Billy Porter (Smokey Joe's Café, Five Guys Named Moe) as Belize, Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, "Heroes") as Louis Ironson, Robin Weigert (Noises Off, The Good German, "Deadwood") as The Angel and Frank Wood (Side Man, August: Osage County) as Roy Cohn.

ANGELS IN AMERICA features scenic design by Mark Wendland, costume design by Clint Ramos, lighting design by Ben Stanton, sound design by Ken Travis, projection design by Wendall K. Harrington, original music by Michael Friedman and fight direction by Rick Sordelet. Production Stage Manager is Monica Cuoco and Stage Manager is Joshua Pilote.

 Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, the two parts of ANGELS IN AMERICA, will begin alternating in repertory from the start of performances. Subscriptions for the Kushner season are sold out. Single tickets for ANGELS IN AMERICA will go on sale on Tuesday, August 3 at 10:00 AM.

The production of ANGELS IN AMERICA is made possible by a major grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Through The Signature Ticket Initiative, which seeks to make great theatre accessible to the broadest possible audience, all regularly-priced single tickets ($75) during the initial announced run are underwritten and will be available for $20. The Signature Ticket Initiative continues through Signature's 20th Anniversary Season (2010-2011).

The Signature Ticket Initiative is made possible by the lead sponsorship of Time Warner Inc. Generous support for The Signature Ticket Initiative is provided by Margot Adams, in memory of Mason Adams.

ANGELS IN AMERICA was one of the most critically acclaimed and heralded plays of the 1990s and established Tony Kushner as a major new voice in world theatre. Frank Rich, The New York Times, praised it as "the most thrilling American play in years". The plays were developed in productions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and London, before opening on Broadway in 1993. Part One: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES, opened May 4, 1993 at the Walter Kerr Theatre and Part Two: PERESTROIKA, opened November 23, 1993, also at the Walter Kerr, with the two parts playing in repertory. Both parts of ANGELS IN AMERICA won Tony Awards in 1993 and 1994 for Best Play and MILLENNIUM APPROACHES won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Kushner adapted the plays for an HBO mini-series, directed by Mike Nichols, which premiered in 2003 and won Golden Globe and Emmy Awards for Best Miniseries.

ANGELS IN AMERICA: A GAY FANTASIA ON NATIONAL THEMES is set in late 1985 and early 1986, as the first wave of the AIDS epidemic in America is escalating and Ronald Reagan has been elected to a second term in the White House. The play's two parts, MILLENNIUM APPROACHES and PERESTROIKA, bring together a young gay man with AIDS (Christian Borle) and his frightened, unfaithful lover (Zachary Quinto); a closeted Mormon lawyer (Bill Heck) and his valium-addicted wife (Zoe Kazan); the infamous New York lawyer Roy Cohn (Frank Wood); an African-American male nurse (Billy Porter); a Mormon housewife from Utah (Robin Bartlett); and a steel-winged, prophecy-bearing angel (Robin Weigert); as well as the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg, an ancient rabbi, the world's oldest living Bolshevik and a Reagan administration functionary, among many others - all played by a company of eight actors. The lives of these disparate characters intersect, intertwine, collide and are blown apart during a time of heartbreak, reaction and transformation. Ranging from earth to heaven, from the political to the intimate to the visionary and supernatural, ANGELS IN AMERICA is an epic exploration of love, justice, identity and theology, of the difficulty, terror and necessity of change.

Signature Theatre Company's 20th Anniversary season also features the New York premiere of iHo: THE INTELLIGENT HOMOSEXUAL'S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM WITH A KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES, also directed by Michael Greif and co-produced with The Public Theater; and THE ILLUSION, Kushner's freely adapted version of Pierre Corneille's L'Illusion Comique, directed by Tony Award-winner Michael Mayer.

The season will also include readings of selected other plays from Tony Kushner's body of work. Plays under consideration include A BRIGHT ROOM CALLED DAY, TINY KUSHNER (A NEW COLLECTION OF ONE ACTS), IT'S AN UNDOING WORLD, OR WHY SHOULD IT BE EASY WHEN IT CAN BE HARD?, THE HENRY BOX BROWN PLAY, HYDRIOTAPHIA, OR THE DEATH OF DR. BrownE and HOMEBODY/KABUL.

SIGNATURE'S 2010-2011 SEASON

ANGELS IN AMERICA: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

Directed by Michael Greif

September 14 - December 19, 2010 at The Peter Norton Space

Parts 1 and 2 to play in repertory

ANGELS IN AMERICA: A GAY FANTASIA ON NATIONAL THEMES is set in late 1985 and early 1986, as the first wave of the AIDS epidemic in America is escalating and Ronald Reagan has been elected to a second term in the White House. The play's two parts, MILLENNIUM APPROACHES and PERESTROIKA, bring together a young gay man with AIDS and his frightened, unfaithful lover; a closeted Mormon lawyer and his valium-addicted wife; the infamous New York lawyer Roy Cohn; an African-American male nurse; a Mormon housewife from Utah; and a steel-winged, prophecy-bearing angel; as well as the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg, an ancient rabbi, the world's oldest living Bolshevik and a Reagan administration functionary, among many others - all played by a company of eight actors. The lives of these disparate characters intersect, intertwine, collide and are blown apart during a time of heartbreak, reaction and transformation. Ranging from earth to heaven, from the political to the intimate to the visionary and supernatural, ANGELS IN AMERICA is an epic exploration of love, justice, identity and theology, of the difficulty, terror and necessity of change.

THE INTELLIGENT HOMOSEXUAL'S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM

WITH A KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES

Co-produced with The Public Theater in association with the Guthrie Theater

Directed by Michael Greif

March 22-June 12, 2011 at The Public Theater

In the summer of 2007, Gus Marcantonio, a retired longshoreman, summons his children to the family's Brooklyn brownstone for a series of shocking announcements. iHo: THE INTELLIGENT HOMOSEXUAL'S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM WITH A KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES explores revolution, radicalism, marriage, sex, prostitution, politics, real estate, unions of all kinds and debts both repaid and unpayable.

THE ILLUSION

Directed by Michael Mayer

April 19 - June 12, 2011 at The Peter Norton Space

A lawyer, facing mortality, desperate to find the son he drove away years before, travels in the dead of night to a mysterious cave. There he engages the services of a wizard, who conjures up visions of the romantic, adventurous, perilous life the lawyer's son has been living since his father expelled him from home. The Illusion, freely adapted from Pierre Corneille's L'Illusion Comique, is Kushner's most joyfully theatrical play, a wildly entertaining tale of passion and regret, of love, disillusionment and magic.

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Tony Kushner (Playwright) Plays include A Bright Room Called Day; Angels in America, Parts One and Two; Slavs!; Homebody/Kabul and iHo: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. Adaptations include Corneille's The Illusion, S.Y. Ansky's The Dybbuk and Brecht's The Good Person of Sezuan. The film version of "Angels in America," directed by Mike Nichols, premiered in 2003 on HBO. Recent books include Brundibar (Hyperion Books), a book for children with illustrations by Maurice Sendak, and Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict (Grove Atlantic), co-edited with Alisa Solomon. Mr. Kushner's awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, two Tony Awards for Best Play, two Obie Awards for Best Play, an Arts Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Mid-Career Playwright, a Spirit of Justice Award from the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders and a Cultural Achievement Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.

Michael Greif (Director) Broadway credits include Next to Normal (Tony nom.), Grey Gardens (Tony nom.), Rent (Tony nom.). Recent work includes Next to Normal (Second Stage, Arena Stage), iHo: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures (Guthrie Theater), The Three Sisters (Williamstown) and Romeo and Juliet (NYSF at the Delacorte). Off-Broadway: Landscape of the Body, A Few Stout Individuals (Signature); Satellites, Fucking A, Dogeaters (Obie), Marisol, Pericles, Casanova, A Bright Room Called Day, Machinal (Obie) at NYSF; Boys' Life, Spike Heels (Second Stage); A Very Common Procedure, The Distance From Here (MCC); Spatter Pattern (Playwrights Horizons); Mr. Marmalade (Roundabout); and Beauty of the Father (MTC). At New York Theatre Workshop (Artistic Associate), he directed Cavedweller; Bright Lights, Big City; and the original production of Rent (Obie). Favorite regional productions include The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, Street Scene, Tonight at 8:30, Once in a Lifetime (Williamstown); and Our Town, Sweet Bird of Youth, Boy, Randy Newman's Faust, Slavs and Thérèse Raquin at La Jolla, where he was artistic director (1995-99).

Signature Theatre Company, founded in 1991 by James Houghton, exists to honor and celebrate the playwright. 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. Signature is the first theatre company to devote an entire season to the work of a single playwright, including re-examinations of past writings as well as New York and world premieres. By championing in-depth explorations of a living playwright's body of work, the Company delivers an intimate and immersive journey into the playwright's singular vision.

Signature has presented entire seasons of the work of Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, Bill Irwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Romulus Linney, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, and a season celebrating the historic Negro Ensemble Company. Signature remains deeply committed to season-long residencies, and during the company's tenth and fifteenth anniversaries, Signature introduced the Legacy Program. The Legacy Program invites past Playwrights-in-Residence back to Signature through two series: the Signature Series, which presents "signature," or more well-known works; and the Premiere Series, which presents New York and world premieres.

Since 2005, Signature has been committed to presenting world-class theatre at an affordable price through The Signature Ticket Initiative, which will offer subsidized $20 tickets through the Company's twentieth anniversary season in 2011. Signature, its productions and its resident writers have been recognized with a Pulitzer Prize, twelve Lucille Lortel Awards, fifteen Obie Awards, six Drama Desk Awards, and twenty two AUDELCO Awards, among many other distinctions. The National Theatre Conference recognized the company as the 2003 Outstanding National Theatre of the Year. For more information on Signature please visit us on-line at signaturetheatre.org.

In October of 2008, Signature announced the creation of the SIGNATURE CENTER, a permanent home to open in late 2011. Designed by Frank Gehry Architects, the Center will comprise three theatres, two rehearsal studios, a café, bookstore, and offices all on one level - a configuration that allows the company not only the space to expand its programming, but also the proximity for natural interaction between artists and audiences of the different programs. In its new home, Signature will continue its Master Playwrights Residency and expand the Legacy Program. Signature will also introduce an Emerging Playwrights Residency that will feature early- and mid-career playwrights and guarantee them three full productions over the course of a multiple year residency. This groundbreaking facility will offer a vital presence on West 42nd Street and will make it possible for Signature to collaborate with playwrights throughout the entire trajectory of their careers. For more information please visit signaturecenter.org.

For more information visit www.SignatureTheatre.org.

 

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