Signature in the Schools Presents REVOLUTION World Premiere, Beginning Today
Signature in the Schools, the education program at Signature Theatre, presents the world-premiere production of Revolution, written by acclaimed writer/director Joe Calarco and directed by Education Director David Zobell. Students from Arlington high schools join Signature actor Evan Casey (Really Really, The Boy Detective Fails) and a professional design team for this thought-provoking new drama, which explores far-reaching questions of identity and community.
Public performances of Revolution will take place tonight, February 18 and 25 at 7:30 pm in the MAX Theater. The event is FREE, but tickets are required. Contact the Box Office at 703-820-9771 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seats. The run also includes invited Student Matinees on the mornings of February 19, 20, 22 and 25.
"Our initial plan was to do a show about the French Revolution," said Zobell about his partnership with Calarco. "But the more we discussed the issues, the more parallels we saw between then and now, and the more excited we both became. What started off as a piece about the French Revolution has evolved into something much more complex: a piece covering multiple revolutions and discussing some pretty heavy issues - the Arab Spring, economic issues in the US, the Occupy movement, and how history is recorded and transmitted."
Calarco sets Revolution in 2011. The events that would come to be known as the Arab Spring are underway. The Occupy Movement is in its infancy. With the world changing at a rapid pace, a group of young students find themselves grappling to understand the surrounding revolutionary fervor. One student, Patrick, struggles in quiet desperation with secrets and changes that could prove to be more than he can handle. Using moments as varied as The French Revolution and Arab Spring, this vibrant new play explores the origins of revolutions and the consequences of upheaval.
The show features student performers and crew from Wakefield High School, Washington-Lee High School, and H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in Arlington.
"As always, Joe has treated the issues with the same maturity and responsibility he would in a piece for adults," said Zobell. "And the pay-off has been beautiful. I think people are going to be shocked by the piece and by the sophisticated performances from such young actors. We had the highest turnout for auditions we've had in the program's history, and the quality of every facet of Signature in the Schools has risen with the increased interest."
Now in its eighteenth year, Signature in the Schools uses theatre to open the minds and broaden the viewpoints of local teens while engaging them in a positive creative experience. A recipient of The Washington Post's prestigious Community Service Award, Signature in the Schools reaches over 1,000 students annually through theatre workshops, in-class discussions, an after-school program and the production of an original play.
Revolution, written by Joe Calarco and directed by David Zobell will be presented by Signature in the Schools in the MAX Theatre. Public Performances: February 18 and February 25 at 7:30 PM. Invited Student Matinees: February 19, 20, 22 and 25 at 10:15 AM.
Assistant Director/Dramaturg: Joan Cummins
Directing Assistant: Marcella Toronto
Scenic Designer: James Kronzer
Costume Designer: Collin Ranney
Lighting Designer: Ariel Benjamin
Sound Designer: Matt Rowe
Prop Designer: Aly Geisler
Stage Manager: Max Rosenberg
Assistant Stage Manager: Emily Hambridge
*members of The Apprentice at Signature program.
Karl Green (Wakefield High School): Zerah Foster
*Brandi Moore (Washington Lee High School): Basma Bouazizi
Max Carruth (Wakefield High School): Patrick Stevens
*Amanda Smith (Wakefield High School): Larissa Bryer
*Sean Balick (Wakefield High School): Marcus Bennington
*Zak Gordon (H.B. Woodlawn Secondary Program): Andy Cranston
Evan Casey (Equity Actor): Mr. Stieper
*Morgan Shotwell (H.B. Woodlawn Secondary Program): Maddy Preston
*Carla Astudillo (Wakefield High School): Caryna Ruiz
*Ariel Cadby-Spicer (Wakefield High School): Caroline Barrett
*members of The Apprentice at Signature program.
Wardrobe and Make-Up: Madeline Buchanan (Wakefield High School)
*Cassandra Kendall (H.B. Woodlawn Secondary Program)
Light Board Operators: Marwa Awad (Wakefield High School)
William Westray (Wakefield High School)
Sound Technician: Jack Dobbins (Wakefield High School)
Props: Alex Hunter (Wakefield High School)
Gabriella Stephens (Wakefield High School)
Run Crew: Mason Hemphill (Wakefield High School)
Rehearsal Photographer: Adrian Cardenas (Wakefield High School)
The centerpiece of the Signature in the Schools program is the production of an original play. Students from Wakefield High School and members of the Apprentice at Signature program audition early in the year. Acclaimed artist Joe Calarco then takes the historical subject and the personalities of the students who are cast into consideration and writes an original play that weaves history into everyday life. The students rehearse in the winter, and the production runs for seven performances, five of them to students bused in from schools throughout Arlington County and the DC Metro area.
Each student who attends the production receives an in-depth resource guide, researched and written by members of Signature's Education Department. Many also receive classroom visits from Signature staff which help students explore the historical topics highlighted in the production and encourage them to personally connect with the material of the play. The freshman class at Wakefield receives additional in-class workshops; past subjects have included media literacy, the basics of theatrical staging, and marketing tactics.
Students not only make up the cast of the production, but also work as crew members, stage managers, and occasionally even as co-designers. All students, whether onstage or off, are mentored by professionals and are expected to work at professional standards. The students are expected to be more than just promising artists. Since each production is a world premiere, the team is also expected to share and develop their thoughts on the historical period, to ask evocative questions, and to have a hand in the development of the play.
Signature in the Schools was founded in 1995. The program began with the proposition that plays about high-school students should feature actual high-school students in their casts. Using the strong ties already forged between Signature and Wakefield High School and drawing on the inspiration of Judy Klevins, then the drama instructor at Wakefield, the first Signature in the Schools production was presented on the Signature stage for just two performances, to an audience of friends and family. Today the Signature in the Schools productions run for two public performances as well as five performances specifically for high school students invited from around the DC metro area.
In 2004, the late Marcia Gardner, who had been a driving force in the program since its second year and would go on to direct the productions for several years, added a series of workshops for Wakefield freshmen, exploring issues exploring issues of plot, character, dialogue and theatrical staging. The partnership with Wakefield and its current drama instructor, Chris Gillespie, has ensured the program's lasting success. In recent years, workshops have also included principles of media literacy, theatrical design, and the historical subjects dealt with in the plays. Since 2011, students from The Apprentice at Signature program, part of the Arlington Public Schools Fine Arts Apprentice Program, have also been invited to participate in the Signature in the Schools production.
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 38 world premiere productions, is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces, and is home to the largest musical theatre commissioning program in the United States.
In addition to hosting the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been home to such theatre luminaries as Chita Rivera, George Hearn, Hunter Foster, Emily Skinner, 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 78 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region's professional theater and has been honored with 320 nominations.
More information is available by calling the Signature Box Office at (703) 820-9771 or visiting www.signature-theatre.org.
Signature Theatre is located at 4200 Campbell Avenue (22206) off I-395 at the Shirlington exit (#6). 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.