Blickenstaff, Lewis, Murney & More Star In Signature's FIRST YOU DREAM Kander & Ebb Celebration 9/10-27

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Blickenstaff, Lewis, Murney & More Star In Signature's FIRST YOU DREAM Kander & Ebb Celebration 9/10-27

The 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award® winning-Signature Theatre presents the world premiere theater event First You Dream": The Music of Kander & Ebb, September 10 through 27, 2009. A tribute to Broadway's most celebrated songwriting partnership - from Cabaret to Chicago to Curtains - Signature pulls out the stops with Broadway's Heidi Blickenstaff, James Clow, Norm Lewis, Julia Murney, Matthew Scott, and Eleasha Gamble and a 19-piece orchestra, plus staging and set design by Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and choreography by Karma Camp. The Broadway touch continues with new orchestrations created by Tony Award winner William David Brohn and musical supervision and new vocal arrangements by David Loud. First You Dream will be performed in the company's larger yet very intimate 299-seat theater, The Max, with tickets priced at $60 and $65.

Director Schaeffer described the world premiere: "First You Dream is Broadway razzle dazzle! With six performers and a19 piece-orchestra, Kander and Ebb's canon of work is brought to exciting life with over 35 songs discovered and reinvented for this theatrical event. We're doing numbers from all 17 of their musicals and most of their movies. With new discoveries as well as the amazing songs that everyone knows - and brand-new orchestrations and vocal arrangements - this is Kander and Ebb like you've never heard before!"

With First You Dream , Signature continues its intimate relationship with the works of the great Broadway songwriting team of Fred Ebb and John Kander which received national attention during Signature's acclaimed 2008 Kander & Ebb Celebration. First You Dream spans 43 years of outstanding musicals starting from Kander and Ebb's first show, Flora, the Red Menace in 1965, through their most recent musical, The Visit, which starred Chita Rivera and George Hearn last year at Signature.

First You Dream spotlights Broadway stars Heidi Blickenstaff (The Little Mermaid, [title of show], and D.C.'s Helen Hayes Award winner for Meet John Doe), James Clow (Assassins, Company, and Peter Pan's Captain Hook opposite Cathy Rigby), Norm Lewis (The Little Mermaid, Les Misérables, and the title role in Signature's Sweeney Todd), Julia Murney (Wicked, The Wild Party, and Lucille Lortel nominee for Time and Again), Matthew Scott (Jersey Boys, A Catered Affair, and the title role in Signature's Ace), and Signature favorite Eleasha Gamble (Into the Woods, Urinetown, and the Sondheim Award Gala).

The behind-the-scenes team is led by director Eric Schaeffer who took on set design as well. Two of musical theater's leading creative talents, Tony Award-winning orchestrator William David Brohn (Wicked, Miss Saigon, Ragtime) with his new orchestrations, and David Loud (Curtains, Steel Pier, And the World Goes ‘Round) with musical supervision and new vocal arrangements, are complemented by the conducting of Signature's resident musical director Jon Kalbfleisch. Lighting design is by Mark Lanks, costume coordination by Kathleen Geldard, and choreography is by the nationally known, Washington-based choreographer Karma Camp.

First You Dream: The Kander & Ebb Concert is sponsored by the Bernard Family Foundation. Special thanks to Macy's for their support, with additional thanks to Bradshaw Smith of Broadway Beat.

The first performance of First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb on September 10 is Signature's Third Annual American Musical Concert Benefit with a special reception honoring John Kander. For more information, please contact Emily Hill at (571) 527-1828 or events@signature-theatre.org. Performances of First You Dream then continue through September 27 in Signature's MAX Theatre. Show times are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 pm, Thursday and Friday at 8:00 pm, Saturday at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sunday at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. The press performance is Saturday, September 12 at 8:00 pm.

Tickets for First You Dream are $60 and $65 and are available by calling Ticketmaster at (703) 573-SEAT (7328) or visiting www.signature-theatre.org. Group discounts are available for parties of ten or more by contacting carlj@signature-theatre.org. Discounts are also available for students, teachers, members of the military, and seniors.

Starting one hour before and extending for one hour after performances, patrons can visit Ali's Bar for outstanding wine, beer, mixed drinks, and chef-prepared light fare. The theater's much praised source of refreshment overlooking a tree-lined boulevard has been masterminded by wine expert Suzanne McGraff, the proprietor of Shirlington's acclaimed wine store, "The Curious Grape." The purchase of tickets is not required to eat or drink at Ali's Bar.

Dirty Blonde, a play with music about Mae West starring Emily Skinner, is currently playing in Signature's 110-seat ARK Theatre through October 4 to sold-out houses. Other offerings in Signature's 20th anniversary season include Show Boat, I Am My Own Wife, Sweeney Todd, [title of show], and the world premiere of Sycamore Trees. For more information visit www.signature-theatre.org.

Heidi Blickenstaff BROADWAY: The Little Mermaid (Ursula), [title of show] (Heidi), The Full Monty. OFF-BROADWAY: Vineyard Theatre: [title of show] (Heidi). DC AREA: Ford's: Meet John Doe (Ann, Helen Hayes Award, dir. Eric Schaeffer). REGIONAL: Goodspeed Opera's Norma Terris Theatre: The Girl in the Frame (Laney); Theatreworks (Palo Alto): Bat Boy: The Musical (MerEdith Parker, Bay Area premiere), New York Stage and Film: Prairie (Caroline Ingalls, dir. Francesca Zambello). TOURS: The Full Monty, Jekyll & Hyde, Steel Pier, The Who's Tommy, Dreamgirls. TV: PBS's "Word World" (voiceover cast). EDUCATION: Duke University. Heidi recently made her Carnegie Hall debut as a soloist with The Gay Men's Chorus.

James Clow BROADWAY: Assassins, Wonderful Town, Company, She Loves Me, Blood Brothers. OFF-BROADWAY: Mark Blitzstein's Juno. NEW YORK: Madison Square Garden (and across America) Peter Pan (Captain Hook, with Cathy Rigby); City Center's Encores!: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. NATIONAL TOURS: Les Misérables (Javert), Jekyll and Hyde (Utterson), Oklahoma! (Curly), Sunset Boulevard (Artie), Jesus Christ Superstar (Peter), Into The Woods. OTHER: PBS's "Great Performances" - Sondheim, a Celebration at Carnegie Hall; Emmy Award-winning "Live from Lincoln Center"'s Passion (starring Patti LuPone). EDUCATION: Syracuse University, BFA; London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts; studied with the Groundlings.

Eleasha Gamble SIGNATURE: Partial Eclipse, Stephen Sondheim Award Gala, Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award, Best Ensemble), Into the Woods, My Fair Lady, Urinetown, Follies, Grand Hotel, Gospel According to Fishman, The Christmas Carol Rag, The Rink, Company. OFF-BROADWAY: Zipper Theatre: Under the Bridge. DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Broadway: Three Generations; Arena: The Women of Brewster Place; Ford's: Civil War, Meet John Doe; Round House: Once On This Island (Helen Hayes nomination); Olney: Joseph..., Oliver, West Side Story; Toby's: Ragtime (Helen Hayes nomination). REGIONAL: ALLIANCE THEATRE (Atlanta): The Women of Brewster Place; Perseverance Theatre (Alaska): Hair. CABARET: Signature: Lost Songs Vol. II, Last Garage Hurrah; Ebony & Ivory, Ebony & Ivory: The Second Coming. RECORDINGS: Euan Morton's New Clear. EDUCATION: Catholic University.

Norm Lewis SIGNATURE: Sweeney Todd (Sweeney). BROADWAY: The Little Mermaid (King Triton), Les Misérables (Javert), Dessa Rose (Nathan), Chicago (Billy Flynn), Amour (Painter), Dreamgirls Benefit (Curtis), The Wild Party (Eddie), Side Show (Jake), Miss Saigon (John), Tommy. OFF-BROADWAY: Two Gentlemen of Verona (Valentine), Captain's Courageous (Doc), A New Brain (Roger). INTERNATIONAL: Miss Saigon (John), Metro (Marc). NATIONAL TOUR: Once on this Island, Four Score and 7 Years Ago. REGIONAL: Denver Center: The Little Mermaid (King Triton); Pittsburgh CLO: Dreamgirls (Curtis); Sacramento Music Theatre: The Fantasticks (El Gallo); North Caroline Theatre: Ragtime (Coalhouse Walker); Fox Theatre: Dreamgirls (Curtis, with Jennifer Holliday); Helen Hayes PAC: Company (Bobby); Gateway Playhouse: Once on This Island (Agwe); Cleveland Playhouse: Abyssinia (Marcus); Shawnee Playhouse: Pippin; Harrah's Marina Hotel: A Funny Thing...Forum (Protesto, with Nipsy Russell). TV: "Mystery Woman 10," "On the One," "Strong Medicine," "Confidences," "All My Children," "Cosby," "As the World Turns," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."

Julia Murney BROADWAY: Wicked (Elphaba). NATIONAL TOUR: Wicked (Elphaba, Acclaim Award). OFF-BROADWAY: Lennon, Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party (Drama Desk nomination), The Vagina Monologues, A Class Act, Saved, Crimes of the Heart, First Lady Suite, Time and Again (Lucille Lortel nomination). REGIONAL: Williamstown, Reprise! (LA), Sacramento Music Circus, NCT, Rubicon, Goodspeed, others. CONCERT: performances at Joe's Pub, Feinstein's, Kennedy Center, Caramoor, Town Hall, Birdland; performances with Peter Nero, Philly Pops. TV: "30 Rock," "Sex and the City," "Ed," "NYPD Blue," "Law and Order" (all three), many voiceovers. RECORDINGS: The Wild Party, A Class Act, Hair (Actor's Fund, Grammy nomination), solo album "I'm Not Waiting" (Sh-K-Boom Records). EDUCATION: Syracuse University.

Matthew Scott SIGNATURE: The title role in Ace; BROADWAY: Jersey Boys, A Catered Affair, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Actor's Fund). REGIONAL: Old Globe: A Catered Affair; Paper Mill Playhouse: Ragtime (Houdini), My Fair Lady, Carousel; Alliance Theater: tick, tick... BOOM! (Jonathan); The Muny: West Side Story (Tony), Side by Side by Sondheim, South Pacific, Guys and Dolls; Pittsburgh CLO: Les Misérables (Marius), Swing! (Male Diva #2), 1776 (Courier); Pittsburgh Music Theater: Bat Boy (Bat Boy); York Theater: Greenwillow. Matthew has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Erich Kunzel. TV: "All My Children," 2006 & 2008 Tony Awards. WORKSHOPS: Catch Me if You Can, The Flamingo Kid. EDUCATION: BFA, Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama.

John Kander (Music) and Fred Ebb (Lyrics) The John Kander and Fred Ebb collaboration of four decades has created what many would consider Broadway standards and contemporary classics. One of their first collaborations became a hit song for Barbra Streisand, "My Coloring Book," earning John and Fred a Grammy nomination. In 1965 the pair worked on their first Broadway show Flora, the Red Menace. Produced by Hal Prince and directed by George Abbott, Flora also introduced a rising new star - Liza Minnelli. Followed by: Cabaret (Tony Award® for music and lyrics), The Happy Time, Zorba, 70 Girls 70, Chicago, The Act, Woman of the Year (Tony Award® for music and lyrics), The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award® for music and lyrics) andSteel Pier. Their collaboration also transferred itself to movies and television as they wrote original material for the Academy Awards, "Liza with a Z" and HBO's "Liza Minnelli's Steppin' Out" (both Emmy winners), "Baryshnikov on Broadway," "Goldie and Liza Together," Funny Lady, Lucky Lady, New York, New York, Steppin' Out and Chicago, the movie. In 1985 their song "New York, New York" became the official anthem of New York City. At the time of the unfortunate death of Mr. Ebb, Kander and Ebb had several projects in different stages of completion waiting in the wings, Curtains, which played on Broadway in 2007 and 2008, The Visit which had a successful run at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and at Signature Theatre starring Chita Rivera, All About Us (a musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder's play The Skin of our Teeth) and The Minstrel Show. Currently running on Broadway: Chicago. Life goes on.

William David Brohn (Orchestrations) received the 1998 Tony Award for Best Orchestrations for Ragtime. Other credits include Broadway productions of Wicked, Mary Poppins, Miss Saigon, The Secret Garden, Show Boat, Crazy for You, Carousel, Sweet Smell of Success, and Oklahoma! as well as London productions of Mary Poppins, Oliver!, The Witches of Eastwick, My Fair Lady, and South Pacific. He has provided arrangements for Marilyn Horne, James Galway, Plácido Domingo, and Joshua Bell's recent recording on Sony Classical of Bernstein's West Side Story Suite for Violin and Orchestra.

Eric Schaeffer (Director) SIGNATURE: Co-founder and Artistic Director; Partial Eclipse, Les Misérables, Ace, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Glory Days, The Witches of Eastwick, Saving Aimee, Into the Woods, My Fair Lady, Nevermore, The Highest Yellow, One Red Flower, Allegro, Twentieth Century, 110 in the Shade, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Gospel According to Fishman, Grand Hotel, The Rhythm Club, Over & Over, The Fix, Working, The Rink, Cabaret, First Lady Suite, Wings, Poor Superman, Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, and Sondheim musicals Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George (Arena Stage coproduction), Passion, Into the Woods, Company, Assassins, Sweeney Todd, Follies, and Pacific Overtures. BROADWAY: Glory Days, Putting It Together. NATIONAL TOURS: big, BarbieTM Live in FairytopiaTM. OFF-BROADWAY: Sweet Adeline (City Center Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert), Under the Bridge. LONDON: Royal Drury Lane & Prince of Wales Theatres: The Witches of Eastwick. DC AREA: Ford's: Meet John Doe; Kennedy Center: Mame starring Christine Baranski, Sondheim Celebration (artistic director), Passion, Sunday in the Park with George. NEW YORK: Avery Fisher Hall: Sondheim Concert. REGIONAL: Goodman Theatre: Million Dollar Quartet; Apollo Theatre: Million Dollar Quartet; Mark Taper Forum: Putting It Together (w/ Carol Burnett); Chicago: Elmer Gantry; Los Angeles: Disney's Snow White. TRAINING: BFA, Kutztown University; extended studies, Crewe and Alsager College of Visual Arts, Crewe, England. AWARDS: 2002 Washingtonian of the Year, six Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Direction, six Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Musical, 25 Helen Hayes nominations for Outstanding Director; 2007 Arts Founder Award.

David Loud (Music Supervision and Vocal Arrangements) SIGNATURE: The Visit. BROADWAY: Music Director: Curtains, Ragtime, A Class Act, Steel Pier, She Loves Me, Company, The Boys From Syracuse. OFF-BROADWAY: Vocal and Dance Arrangements: Kander & Ebb's And the World Goes 'Round (Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards, Best Musical Revue). VOCAL ARRANGEMENTS: Carnegie Hall, The Hollywood Bowl, Kennedy Center, Feinstein's, Russian Tea Room. REGIONAL: Sweeney Todd, Fanny, Damn Yankees, Singin' in the Rain, Billy Bishop Goes to War. PERFORMANCE: Terrence McNally's Master Class (original Manny); Merrily We Roll Along (Hal Prince and Stephen Sondheim, original 1981 production). EDUCATION: Yale University.

Karma Camp (Choreographer) SIGNATURE: Les Misérables, Ace, The Happy Time, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, The Witches of Eastwick (Helen Hayes nomination), Into the Woods, My Fair Lady, Assassins, Urinetown (2006 Helen Hayes Award), Nijinsky's Last Dance (Helen Hayes nomination), Follies, 110 in the Shade, Cabaret (Helen Hayes nomination), and others. BROADWAY: Avery Fisher Hall: Broadway Showstoppers w/ New York Philharmonic, The Graduate w/ Kathleen Turner. OFF-BROADWAY: Never the Sinner. NATIONAL TOUR: Ring of Fire, big. REGIONAL: Kennedy Center: Phantom Tollbooth, Merrily We Roll Along (Sondheim Celebration); Arena Stage: Shakespeare in Hollywood (Helen Hayes nomination), Agamemnon; Round House: A Murder, A Mystery & A Marriage. Additional Theaters: Shakespeare Theatre, Actors' Theatre of Louisville, McCarter Theatre, Woolly Mammoth, Prince Music Theatre, Center Stage. OPERA: Goya w/ Placido Domingo; Washington Opera: Vanessa; Wolf Trap Opera Co.: Kurt Weill's Street Scene. TV: "The Sounds of WWII (PBS), "All My Children"(ABC), over 23 international commercials. ADDITIONAL CREDITS: Disney Entertainment: Snow White, Twice Charmed; 1992 Inaugural Gala for Al Gore (director/choreographer), Disney Christmas Special (ABC), Remember the Children w/ Kathie Lee Gifford, NSO Pops with Marvin Hamlisch. Ms. Camp is a Signature Theatre Artistic Associate.

Jon Kalbfleisch (Conductor) SIGNATURE (resident music director): Les Misérables, Anyone Can Whistle in Concert, The Visit, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, The Witches of Eastwick, Into the Woods, Assassins, Pacific Overtures, The Highest Yellow, One Red Flower, Elegies, Allegro, Follies, 110 in the Shade, Grand Hotel, Putting It Together, Forum, A Stephen Sondheim Evening, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, The Fix, Sunday in the Park with George, Passion, Cabaret, Wings, First Lady Suite, Company. BROADWAY: Les Misérables (associate conductor). DC AREA: Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, National Theatre, Warner Theatre, Washington Ballet, Studio, Shakespeare. REGIONAL: Mark Taper Forum: Putting it Together; Martin Guerre, James Joyce's The Dead. OTHER: Carnegie Hall, Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra, Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, The White House, National Building Museum, The Library of Congress, U.S. Supreme Court. TV: "Good Morning America." AWARDS: Four Helen Hayes Awards and 20 nominations. EDUCATION: Master of Music, SMU.

Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theater Tony Award®, Signature Theatre is a non-profit professional theater company dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature has presented 26 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces. In addition to the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been a home to such theater luminaries as John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company's signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Since its founding in 1989, Signature has been nominated for 276 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the professional theater and has been honored with 69 Helen Hayes Awards, including Outstanding Musical in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2009, and Outstanding Play in 1999.

Signature is partially supported by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and by a gift from Arlington County through the Arlington Commission for the Arts and the Cultural Affairs Division of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources.

Signature Theatre is just nine minutes from downtown Washington, DC in Arlington's Shirlington Village. The new theater complex is located at 4200 Campbell Avenue (22206) off I-395 at the Shirlington exit. After the exit, blue Signature signs mark the way to the Theatre. Free parking is available in two adjacent public garages. Please note that Campbell Avenue is a new street and some GPS online mapping systems do not yet recognize Signature Theatre's address. For directions visit http://signature-theatre.org/map.htm.

 

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