Signature Theatre to Conclude '10-'11 Season with Kushner's THE ILLUSION

Signature Theatre to Conclude '10-'11 Season with Kushner's THE ILLUSION

Signature Theatre Company has announced the final production for their 20th Anniversary 2010-2011 Season, celebrating the work of Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner. Joining the previously announced first New York Revival of Parts 1 and 2 of ANGELS IN AMERICA: A GAY FANTASIA ON NATIONAL THEMES and the New York premiere of THE INTELLIGENT HOMOSEXUAL'S GUIDE TO CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM WITH A KEY TO THE SCRIPTURES will be THE ILLUSION, Kushner's freely adapted version of Pierre Corneille's L'Illusion Comique, directed by Tony Award-winner Michael Mayer. The production will be presented in Spring, 2011 at the Peter Norton Space, (555 West 42nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues). Dates and casting will be announced at a later date.

The season will also include the Tony Kushner Reading Series, which will feature 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.

Subscription renewals will be available beginning Tuesday at the Signature Theatre box office and online at www.signaturetheatre.org. New subscriptions will go on sale on May 18.

Subscribers may see all shows in Signature's 20th Anniversary Tony Kushner season for $20 through The Signature Ticket Initiative, which seeks to make great theatre accessible to the broadest possible audience. All regularly-priced single tickets ($75) are underwritten and will be available for $20 for every performance at The Peter Norton Space for the entire season, during a show's initial run.

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. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit signaturetheatre.org or call (212) 244-PLAY (7529).

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.

Tony Kushner said, "I feel that there's no better way to conclude my season at the Signature than with THE ILLUSION. And I feel that there's something appropriate and magical in this play being the final play performed on the Norton stage, on which I've seen, over the years, so much unforgettable, soul-stirring and soul-transforming theater."

Michael Mayer commented, "Tony is not only one of my dearest friends, but he is also probably the most significant artistic influence in my life and work, so I'm honored to be included in his Signature season. Having long admired the high quality of the work at the Signature Theatre, I'm tremendously excited to direct The Illusion, which is a deeply funny and moving celebration of love in all its complexity. It is also a gorgeous valentine to the theatre."

James Houghton said, "Tony's adaptation of THE ILLUSION is a raucous and playfully theatrical piece - an evening of enchantment. It fits in beautifully with the rest of our Kushner season, showing the full spectrum of what Tony believes the theatre can do, with everyday lives coexisting alongside fantastical and cosmic elements. We're delighted to have Tony's long-time collaborator, the inventive and innovative Michael Mayer, directing THE ILLUSION. With the additional readings from Tony's body of work also joining the season's line-up, we are thrilled to take our audiences from Tony's earliest work through his very latest."

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 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.

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 four-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.

SIGNATURE'S 2010-2011 SEASON

ANGELS IN AMERICA: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

Directed by Michael Grief

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. 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

Spring, 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). His plays include A Bright Room Called Day; Angels In America, Parts One and Two; Slavs!; Homebody/Kabul; Caroline, or Change, a musical with composer Jeanine Tesori (Public Theater/Broadway); and The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. His adaptations include Corneille's The Illusion, S.Y. Ansky's The Dybbuk, and Brecht's The Good Person of Sezuan and Mother Courage and Her Children (Public Theater). Kushner's films include "Angels In America," and Munich. His books include Brundibar, illustrations by Maurice Sendak; The Art of Maurice Sendak, 1980 to the Present; and Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict (co-edited with Alisa Solomon). Kushner has received the Pulitzer Prize, an Emmy Award, an Oscar nomination, two Tony Awards, three Obie Awards, an Olivier Award, two Evening Standard Awards, and is the first recipient of the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award.

Michael Greif (Director) directed the world premiere of The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures at The Guthrie Theater last April. He will be directing The Winter's Tale for The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park this summer as well as Angels in America for Signature Theatre. His other Public Theater credits include the 2007 Shakespeare in the Park revival of Romeo and Juliet, Diana Son's Satellites, the launch performance of Suzan-Lori Parks's 365 Days / 365 Plays, Fucking A, Dogeaters (Obie), Marisol, Pericles, Casanova, A Bright Room Called Day, and Machinal (Obie). For Signature Theatre Company, he directed John Guare's A Few Stout Individuals and Landscape of the Body. Greif's Broadway credits include Jonathan Larson's Rent (Obie Award, Tony nom.), Grey Gardens (Tony nomination) and Next to Normal (Tony nomination). He is an Artistic Associate at New York Theatre Workshop, where his credits include Cavedweller, Bright Lights, Big City, and Rent. His other Off-Broadway credits include Boy's Life (Second Stage), Neil LaBute's The Distance from Here and A Very Common Procedure (MCC), Neal Bell's Spatter Pattern (Playwrights Horizons), Beauty of the Father (MTC), Mr. Marmalade (Roundabout), Betty Rules (Zipper), and Bell's Monster (CSC). Greif has a longstanding association with the Williamstown Theatre Festival where his credits include Cherry Orchard, Three Sisters, The Seagull, Street Scene, Tonight At 8:30 and Once in a Lifetime. He was Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse from 1995-1999 where he directed Our Town, Sweet Bird of Youth, Diana Son's Boy, Randy Newman's Faust (also Goodman), Kushner's Slavs (also Taper), and Thérèse Raquin.

Michael Mayer (Director) is currently represented on Broadway with Green Day's American Idiot. He received the 2007 Tony Award®, as well as the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, for the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Spring Awakening, which he also directed in London, Vienna, Tokyo, and Seoul. His other Broadway credits include Side Man, Tony winner for Best Play; Thoroughly Modern Millie, Tony winner for Best Musical; A View From The Bridge, Tony winner for Best Revival; After the Fall; You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown; and Triumph of Love. In addition to Spring Awakening at Atlantic Theater Company, his off-Broadway credits include Everyday Rapture, Our House, 10 Million Miles, Antigone in New York, Baby Anger, The Credeaux Canvas, and Stupid Kids. Michael also directed the national tours of Spring Awakening, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Angels in America, winner of Jefferson and Carbonell Awards. His other regional work includes plays at La Jolla Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, Center Stage, and Yale Rep. Michael has received Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Ovation, Touring Broadway, and Drama League Awards. He directed the films A Home at the End of the World and Flicka.

Signature Theatre COMPANY (James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director) was founded in 1991 by James Houghton and is the first theatre company to devote a season to the work of a single playwright. Signature has presented entire seasons 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 the historic Negro Ensemble Company. The twentieth season features the work of Tony Kushner. Since 2005, Signature has presented world-class theatre at an affordable price through The Signature Ticket Initiative, offering subsidized $20 tickets through 2011. This program is made possible by the lead sponsorship of Time Warner Inc. Signature, its productions, and its resident writers have been recognized with a Pulitzer Prize, Lucille Lortel Awards, Obie Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and AUDELCO Awards, among many other distinctions. Signature Theatre Company recently announced a new, permanent home beginning in 2012. The Frank Gehry-designed Signature Center on W. 42nd Street will feature three programs: the Master Playwright s Residency, which explores major bodies of work; the Legacy Program, which celebrates previous Signature artists, and the Emerging Playwrights Residency, which features early and mid-career playwrights. www.signaturetheatre.org.

 

 

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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