Signature Theatre's 2017-18 Season Will Celebrate Great American Composers

Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland announce the full lineup for Signature Theatre's 2017/18 season.

"The 28th Season at Signature is one that deals with every aspect of the American experience - celebrating great American composers such as Sondheim and the Gershwins, to stories inspired by American history and music and new works by today's most exciting voices we cover almost every decade of the past century with experiences that shaped who we are as a nation," stated Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. "We're also proud to be able to present two world premieres by DC playwrights - something Signature continues to embrace in our theatrical community."

Signature Theatre Managing Director Maggie Boland said, "This season will be a series of experiences audiences can't get anywhere else: the best musicals in town and a host of thrilling DC and world premieres, all of which put audiences right into the action with our uniquely intimate theaters. With many of our favorite artists returning to work alongside some extraordinary new members of the Signature family, the 2017/18 season brings an unparalleled range of work to the community. We are looking forward to entertaining, challenging and inspiring our audiences with this inimitably Signature season."

The 2017/18 season reaffirms Signature's passion to stage inventive new productions of classic musicals. To kick off the season, Signature presents a brand new production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's A Little Night Music (August 15 - October 8, 2017), directed for the first time by Eric Schaeffer (Signature's Titanic, Broadway's Follies). In 1900 Sweden, on a magical night that smiles three times, and aging actress, a married virgin, a sex-starved divinity student and a buffoonish count find themselves tangled in a web of love affairs. Directed by Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer, the show features DC favorite Holly Twyford (Ford's Theatre's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Signature's The Little Dog Laughed) in her Washington DC musical theater debut, along with Bobby Smith, Florence Lacey, Will Gartshore, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Maria Rizzo and many more. This Sondheim classic will mark the 27th production of a Stephen Sondheim musical in Signature Theatre history.

In the fall, Signature will present the DC premiere of An Act of God (October 3 - November 26, 2017). In this comedy, by Daily Show writer David Javerbaum, God is back and he's got a lot to say. Inhabiting the body of DC favorite Tom Story (Round House Theatre's Angels in America, Metro Stage's Fully Committed), the Supreme Being gifts his mortals with an entirely new set of Ten Commandments. Directed by Eleanor Holdridge (Olney Theatre Center's Fickle), the ARK Theatre will be transformed into comedy heaven.

For the holiday season, Signature Theatre Associate Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner (Signature's West Side Story, Jelly's Last Jam) will direct the Gershwins' and Ken Ludwig's Crazy For You (November 7, 2017 - January 14, 2018). A musical-loving banker sent to foreclose on a small-town theatre decides to revive it instead with the magic of the Follies. Featuring an iconic score by George and Ira Gershwin that includes "I've Got Rhythm," "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Nice Work If You Can Get It," Signature's production will include choreography by Denis Jones (Broadway's Holiday Inn, Honeymoon in Vegas).

In the winter, Signature will launch two world premiere productions. In the ARK Theatre, Signature kicks off the Heidi Thomas Writers' Initiative with 4,380 Nights (January 16 - February 18, 2018) by DC playwright Annalisa Dias and directed by Kathleen Akerley (Longacre Lea's Bones in Whispers). For the last 12 years, or 4,380 days, Malik Djamal Ahmad Essaid has been held without charge by the United States government at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. As he languishes in his cell, his interactions with those on the outside are juxtaposed with historical events in an exposé into the most dangerous prison of all - fear. 4,380 Nights is presented as part of the 2018 Women's Voices Theater Festival. In the MAX Theatre, Eric Schaeffer directs Light Years (February 6 - March 4, 2018), a new musical by Robbie Schaefer of the acclaimed folk/rock/indie band Eddie from Ohio. Light Years is a deeply personal tale of immigration, musical gifts and the steadfast bond between father and son.

In the spring, Signature will present three Washington DC premieres. In the MAX Theatre, Resident Director/Director of New Works Joe Calarco (Signature's The Flick) directs Annie Baker's John (April 3 - 29, 2018). Elias and Jenny, a young Brooklyn couple, escape on a much needed getaway to a cozy bed-and-breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. However, under the watchful eye of the cheery, if slightly off, innkeeper, a ghost seems to haunt their crumbling relationship. In the ARK Theatre, Matthew Gardiner directs the coming of age musical Girlfriend (April 17 - June 10, 2018) by book writer Todd Almond and featuring the music of Matthew Sweet. Set in small-town Nebraska in 1993, college-bound jock Mike and self-assured but aimless Will find themselves drawn to each other. Their rush of first-time love is captured by the power-pop precision and frayed guitar emotion of Mathew Sweet's iconic alternative rock album "Girlfriend."

To close the season, Joe Calarco will direct John Kander and Fred Ebb's final musical collaboration The Scottsboro Boys (May 22 - July 1, 2018). On March 25, 1931, nine young African-American teenagers were ripped off a train, falsely accused of a crime, hastily tried and sentenced to death in an outrageous disregard of due process. Featuring choreography from Jared Grimes (Signature's Jelly's Last Jam), The Scottsboro Boys was heralded as "an absolute marvel" by The Associated Press when it premiered on Broadway in 2010.

Signature offers flexible subscription options for the 2017/18 season. Season Subscription packages are now on sale. Custom packages can be created for 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, 7- or the full 8-show season.

Season Subscription package prices begin at $193. Benefits of subscribing include first choice of seats, savings over individual ticket prices, fee-waived ticket exchanges and discounts on extra tickets. Call Signature's Box Office at 703 820 9771 or visit www.sigtheatre.org.

Patrons can get a preview of the upcoming season at Signature Theatre's annual Open House (Sunday, August 6, 2017). This FREE event includes special ticket offers, free performances every fifteen minutes, kids' activities, a grand finale concert and more!

Signature will present several cabaret performances in the 2017/18 Season. In the summer, audiences can escape the heat in the air-conditioned ARK for Sizzlin' Summer Nights Series (July 5 - 22, 2017); A four-show Cabaret Series (Streisand Songbook, September 5 - 9, 2017; Holiday Follies, December 5 - 16, 2017; Motown: Hitsville U.S.A., March 13 - 17, 2018; and Entirely Elvis, June 26 - 30, 2018).

Subscribers may add the Cabaret Series and Sizzlin; Summer All-Access Pass to their subscription orders, call Signature's Box Office at 703 820 9771 or visit SigTheatre.org.

Single tickets for the entire season will go on sale mid-summer, 2017.

Signature Theatre'S 2017/18 SEASON

A Little Night Music

August 15 - October 8, 2017

MAX Theatre

Winner of four Tony Awards, Stephen Sondheim's glorious musical masterpiece returns to the Signature stage in a brand new production directed by Eric Schaeffer and featuring award-winning DC actors Holly Twyford and Bobby Smith.

In 1900 Sweden, on a magical night that smiles three times, an aging actress, a married virgin, a sex-starved divinity student and a buffoonish count find themselves hilariously tangled in a web of love affairs.

Delightful, charming and at times heartbreaking, with gorgeous, lush music, including "A Weekend in the Country," "Liaisons" and the seminal "Send in the Clowns," A Little Night Music is a coupling (and uncoupling) tour-de-force.

Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Book by Hugh Wheeler

Suggested by a Film by Ingmar Bergman

Originally Produced & Directed on Broadway by Harold Prince

Directed by Eric Schaeffer

DC Premiere

An Act of God

October 3 - November 26, 2017

ARK Theatre

Written by 13-time Emmy Award winner David Javerbaum (The Daily Show) this exceptionally witty comedy delivers a new meaning to the phrase divine intervention.

God is back. And he's got a lot to say. Inhabiting the body of beloved DC actor Tom Story (Round House Theatre's Angels in America, MetroStage's Fully Committed), and flanked by his ever-faithful archangels, the Supreme Being gifts his mortals with an entirely new set of Ten Commandments in a sinfully funny whirlwind of comedy heaven.

By David Javerbaum

Directed by Eleanor Holdridge

Crazy for You

The New Gershwin Musical

November 7, 2017 - January 14, 2018

MAX Theatre

Beloved songs meet sensational dance in the ultimate feel-good Tony Award-winning musical comedy for the holiday season.

A musical-loving banker sent to foreclose on a small-town theatre decides to revive it instead with the magic of the Follies, some slapstick comedy and a whole lot of charm. Flush with mistaken identities, a classic love story and 1930s glamour, Crazy for You radiates with playful humor and high-energy show-stopping numbers.

A wealth of Gershwin tunes including "I've Got Rhythm," "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Nice Work If You Can Get It" fuse with exhilarating tap numbers in this triumphant musical celebration.

Music and Lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin

Book by Ken Ludwig

Co-Conception by Ken Ludwig and Mike Ockrent

Inspired by Material by Guy Bolton and John McGowan

Originally produced on Broadway by Roger Horchow and ElizaBeth Williams

Original Broadway Choreography by Susan Stroman

Choreography by Denis Jones

Directed by Matthew Gardiner

World Premiere

4,380 Nights

January 16 - February 18, 2018

ARK Theatre

Signature Theatre kicks off the Heidi Thomas Writers' Initiative with a complex and intriguing look at an American worldview created in the wake of September 11.

For the last 12 years, or 4,380 days, Malik Djamal Ahmad Essaid has been held without charge by the United States government at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. As he languishes in his cell, his interactions with those on the outside are juxtaposed with historical events in a riveting exposé into the most dangerous prison of all-fear.

With a graceful poetry and a fluidity that spans time and place, DC playwright Annalisa Dias delivers a searing and timely critique of power, humanity and what it means to be American.

4,380 Nights is presented as part of the 2018 Women's Voices Theater Festival.

By Annalisa Dias

Directed by Kathleen Akerley


World Premiere

Light Years

February 1 - April 17, 2018

MAX Theatre

Acclaimed folk/rock/indie band Eddie From Ohio's Robbie Schaefer crafts a touching and funny world premiere musical portrait featuring Bobby Smith.

A master storyteller, Robbie journeys from his childhood in India to the joys and struggles of growing up, pursuing his passion and raising a family. Entwined throughout is his cherished relationship with his father-and his father's haunted past.

Enriched with beautiful folk-rock music, inventive lyrics and Robbie's disarming humor, Light Years is a deeply personal tale of immigration, musical gifts and the steadfast bond between father and son.

Book, Music and Lyrics by Robbie Schaefer

Directed by Eric Schaeffer

DC Premiere

John

April 3 - April 29, 2018

MAX Theatre

In the midst of the holiday bustle, young Brooklyn couple Elias and Jenny escape on a much needed getaway to a cozy bed-and-breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. However, under the watchful eye of the cheery, if slightly off, innkeeper, a ghost seems to haunt their crumbling relationship.

With her trademark rough-edged humanity, observant humor and lyrical beauty, The Flick playwright Annie Baker blends the hyperreal with flickers of the supernatural in a quietly suspenseful and transfixing work.

By Annie Baker

Directed by Joe Calarco

DC Premiere

Girlfriend

April 17 - June 10, 2018

ARK Theatre

Girlfriend is a vibrant and tender coming of age musical duet from when flannel was the height of fashion and mix tapes were the language of love.

It's 1993 in small-town Nebraska during the summer between high school and whatever comes next. College-bound jock Mike and self-assured but aimless Will find themselves drawn to each other. Their rush of first-time love, full of excitement, confusion and passion, is captured by the power-pop precision and frayed guitar emotion of Matthew Sweet's alternative rock album "Girlfriend."

Book by Todd Almond

Music & Lyrics by Matthew Sweet

Directed by Matthew Gardiner

DC Premiere

The Scottsboro Boys

May 22 - July 1, 2018

MAX Theatre

Signature's tradition of celebrating Kander & Ebb continues with their final musical collaboration. In the vein of their iconic Chicago and Cabaret, the Tony Award-winning masterminds deliver a breathtaking musical critique of a stunning true story of racism and injustice in the American South.

On March 25, 1931, nine young African-American teenagers were ripped off a train, falsely accused of a crime, hastily tried and sentenced to death in an outrageous disregard of due process. With a sound and style reflecting the period and exhilarating dance and song, The Scottsboro Boys transforms an event that gripped the nation into a compelling musical nominated for twelve Tony Awards.

Book by David Thompson

Music & Lyrics by John Kander & Fred Ebb

Original Direction & Choreography by Susan Stroman

Directed by Joe Calarco

Special Events

Signature's Open House

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Kick off the 27th Season with Signature's Annual Open House. Starting at noon, come enjoy performances every fifteen minutes, special ticket offers and a grand finale concert.

FREE

Signature Cabarets

Sizzlin' Summer Nights Series

July 5 - 22, 2017

ARK Theatre

Signature opens our air-conditioned doors once more for the annual Sizzlin' Summer Nights Series. With a different concert act each night, there's always something to keep you entertained.

Cabaret Series - 4 show series

Streisand Songbook
September 5 - 9, 2017

In a celebration of the best-selling female artist of all time, Signature salutes the original Funny Girl's six-decade long career with an evening of her famous songs including "People," "Don't Rain on My Parade," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" and "Evergreen."

Holiday Follies

December 5 - 17, 2017

Holiday Follies makes its triumphant return for the yuletide season! Come out of the cold, grab a hot toddy from Ali's Bar and slip in for a fun evening of favorite seasonal tunes blended with humor and a generous helping of holiday cheer.

Hitsville U.S.A

March 13 - 17, 2018

With Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder and The Supremes as just a few of the artists to come out of Motown, no other record company has had such an enormous impact on popular music and culture. Groove to the Motown sound with hits such as "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "My Girl," and "Stop! In the Name of Love."

Entirely Elvis

June 26 - 30, 2018

Time to get "All Shook Up" for an entire cabaret dedicated to Elvis Presley's soulful voice and sinful hips. There'll be some "Love Me, Tender," a little "Heartbreak Hotel," and, of course, plenty of "Hound Dog" as Signature salutes the King.

ABOUT SIGNATURE

Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Signature Theatre is a non-profit professional theater company in Arlington, Virginia 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 44 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces.

In addition to hosting the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been home to such luminaries as Chita Rivera, Sheryl Crow, Barry Levinson, Debra Monk, Boyd Gaines, James Lapine, George Hearn, Hunter Foster, Emily Skinner, Kathleen Marshall, Ann Reinking, Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company's signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Since its founding in 1989, Signature has won 97 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region's professional theater and has been honored with 386 nominations.

http://www.sigtheatre.org

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