THE ILLUSION Begins Previews Tonight Off-B'way

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THE ILLUSION Begins Previews Tonight Off-B'way

Previews for Signature Theatre Company's (James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director) production of Tony Kushner's THE ILLUSION begin tonight, Tuesday, May 17 at the Peter Norton Space (555 W. 42nd Street) with opening night scheduled for June 5. This production is directed by Michael Mayer.

THE ILLUSION features Peter Bartlett (The Drowsy Chaperone, "One Life to Live"), Sean Dugan (Next Fall, "Oz"), David Margulies (Conversations With My Father, Wonderful Town), Amanda Quaid (Equus, Banished Children of Eve), Lois Smith (The Trip to Bountiful, "True Blood"), Henry Stram (Inherit the Wind, See What I Wanna See), Merritt Wever ("Nurse Jackie", Tiny Furniture) and Finn Wittrock ("All My Children", The Age of Iron.)

THE ILLUSION features scenic design by Christine Jones, costume design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design by Kevin Adams, sound design by Bray Poor, music by Nico Muhly, fight direction by Rick Sordelet and hair and wig design by Tom Watson. Production Stage Manager is Paul J. Smith.

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 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.

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.

Signature Theatre Company's 20th Anniversary season also featured 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, directed by Michael Greif, which extended four times and won the 2011 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Revival, and the New York premiere of 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 in association with The Guthrie Theater, which opened on Thursday, May 5 and is currently in performance at The Public Theater.

BIOGRAPHIES

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 Mayer (Director) won the 2010 Drama Desk Award for his direction of American Idiot and also directed last season's Everyday Rapture at Roundabout Theatre Company. He received the 2007 Tony Award, as well as Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, for his production of Spring Awakening, which also played in London, Vienna, Tokyo and Seoul. His other Broadway credits include Side Man (Tony Award/Best Play); Thoroughly Modern Millie (Tony Award/Best Musical); A View From the Bridge (Tony Award/Best Revival); Uncle Vanya; 'night, Mother; 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. Regional work includes plays at Berkeley Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, Center Stage and Yale Rep. Michael directed the films A Home at the End of the World and Flicka. This spring he shot the pilot of "Smash" for DreamWorks and NBC.

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.

In October of 2008, Signature announced the creation of Signature Center, a permanent home to open in early 2012. 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 season-long residencies exploring the body of work of one playwright (to be known as Residency One), expand the Legacy Program, and introduce Residency Five. Residency Five will encourage the creation of a body of work by guaranteeing playwrights three productions over the course of a five-year residency. These three programs combined will allow Signature to provide an artistic home for up to eleven playwrights each season. This groundbreaking facility will offer a vital presence on West 42 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.

Signature, its productions and its resident writers have been recognized with a Pulitzer Prize, thirteen 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.

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