GRAND HOTEL, PASSION & More Will Be Featured in Signature Theatre's 2018-19 Season!

GRAND HOTEL, PASSION & More Will Be Featured in Signature Theatre's 2018-19 Season!

Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland just announced the full lineup for Signature Theatre's 2018/19 season.

"For our 29th season, Signature Theatre continues our tradition of presenting world premiere productions along with reimagined classics by welcoming back many artists that we love and admire," stated Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer. "It promises to be another exciting, eclectic season at Signature."

Signature Theatre Managing Director Maggie Boland said, "Our 2018/19 Season continues Signature's commitment to reimagining great musicals and premiering exciting new work. And we are thrilled to expand our cabaret series which continues to grow in popularity. This season we will welcome back Signature favorites Mark G Meadows and Robbie Schaefer and introduce jazz vocalist and DC native Akua Allrich to our audiences."

To kick off the season, Signature presents a brand-new production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's musical Passion (August 14 - September 23, 2018), directed bySignature Theatre Associate Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner (Signature's Crazy for You, Jelly's Last Jam, West Side Story). Set in 1860s Italy, a fiery love triangle erupts when a handsome army captain is transferred to a remote military outpost and into the blinding infatuation of Fosca, the ailing cousin of his superior. Fosca's desperate and fervent longing draws him in as it threatens to upend his career in Stephen Sondheim's intense and intimate Tony Award®-winning musical. The production stars Signature favorite Natascia Diaz (Signature's Crazy for You, West Side Story) as Fosca. This will mark the 29th production of a Stephen Sondheim musical in Signature Theatre history.

In the fall, Resident Director/Director of New Works Joe Calarco (Signature's John, The Flick) will direct the DC premiere of Heisenberg (September 18 - November 11, 2018). A chance encounter at a London train stop changes the course of life for two people in a new play by Tony Award®-winning playwright Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time). After mistaking him for someone else, Georgie finds herself improbably drawn to the much older Alex.

For the holiday season, Matthew Gardiner will direct and choreograph Billy Elliot the Musical (October 30, 2018 - January 6, 2019) with book and lyrics by Lee Hall and music by Tony, Grammy and Oscar Award® winner Elton John. Based on the powerful and acclaimed film, all 11-year-old Billy wants to do is dance. Initially facing opposition from society and his father, Billy's passion instead unites the community and changes his life in extraordinary ways. The original production was universally lauded, sweeping the Tony, Drama Desk and Olivier Awards for Best Musical.

In the winter, Signature will present the Tony Award®-winning musical tribute Ain't Misbehavin': The Fats Waller Musical Show (January 23, 2019 - March 10, 2019) directed by Joe Calarco and choreographed by Camille A. Brown (NBC's Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, Broadway's Once on this Island). This swinging celebration of the songs of Thomas "Fats" Waller features a cast of Signature favorites, including Nova Y. Payton (Signature's Jelly's Last Jam, Dreamgirls), Kevin McAllister (Signature's A Little Night Music, Titanic) and Awa Sal Secka (Signature's Jesus Christ Superstar). Jelly's Last Jam's star Mark G. Meadows will also lead the onstage band and serve as musical director for the production.

Signature's Heidi Thomas Writers' Initiative will launch the world premiere production of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity (February 26 - April 7, 2019) by DC playwright Heather McDonald and directed by Australian filmmaker and director Nadia Tass. DC favorites Holly Twyford (Signature's A Little Night Music, Sex with Strangers) and Felicia Curry (Signature's The Scottsboro Boys) star in the world premiere of this intriguing new play. Three women?an art restorer, her nurse and their military captor?are trapped in a ravaged museum during a catastrophic hundred years war. Tasked with restoring a damaged Rembrandt painting, the women find common shreds of humanity as they try to save a small symbol of beauty in their broken world.

In the spring, Signature Theatre Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer (Broadway's Follies, Gigi, Signature's Titanic) will direct Grand Hotel, The Musical (April 2 - May 12, 2019) in the MAX Theatre. It is 1928 and Berlin is at the center of a world between two wars. Over the course of a weekend a series of eclectic guests and staff including a fading ballerina, a destitute baron, a wannabe-starlet typist, and an ill bookkeeper occupy the Grand Berlin Hotel. Signature's production will reunite the creative team behind last season's hit A Little Night Music and will feature Signature favorites Bobby Smith (Titanic, A Little Night Music), Nicki Elledge (A Little Night Music) and Natascia Diaz (Crazy for You).

In the ARK Theatre, Signature will present Spunk (April 30 - June 23, 2019), directed by Timothy Douglas (Arena Stage's Nina Simone: Four Women, Disgraced). Based on three short stories by Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God) and adapted by Jelly's Last Jam writer George C. Wolfe, Spunk is a musical fable that interweaves three tales of the early 20th century African American experience: the fierce determination of a resilient washerwoman, the zoot suit struts of 1940s Harlem, and the bittersweet innocence of young married love.

To close the season, Eric Schaeffer will direct the world premiere musical commissioned by Signature, Blackbeard (June 11 - July 7) from John Dempsey and Dana Rowe, the creators of The Witches of Eastwick, Brother Russia and The Fix. After learning he's a wanted man by the British army, Blackbeard and his merry crew of maritime marauders embark on a fantastical journey across the globe to raise an undead pirate army from the depths of the sea.

Signature will also present several cabaret performances in the 2018/19 Season. In the summer, audiences can escape the heat in the air-conditioned ARK for the Sizzlin' Summer Nights Cabaret Series (July 19 - August 4, 2018). A five-show Cabaret Series will kick off with jazz vocalist and DC native Akua Allrich as she explores the music and poetry of Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Harry Belafonte, Langston Hughes and more with Blues Revolution (August 21 - 25, 2018). In the winter, the sold-out Motown: Hitsville U.S.A. cabaret returns with Motown: The Reprise (December 4 - 22, 2018) and a cast of Signature favorites celebrate the career of one of Hollywood's brightest stars with Judy Garland: A Star is Born (January 8 - 26, 2019). In the spring, jazz pianist Mark G. Meadows (Signature's Jelly's Last Jam, Motown: Hitsville U.S.A.) presentsUnforgettable (April 2 - 6, 2019) celebrating the musical stylings of Nat King Cole and Robbie Schaefer (Signature's Light Years) returns to host Blowin' In the Wind: Folk-Rock in America (June 25 - June 30, 2019) an evening featuring the folk-rock music of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Paul Simon and more.

Signature offers flexible subscription options for the 2018/19 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 $184. 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 Sigtheatre.org/subscribe.

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 www.sigtheatre.org/subscribe.

Patrons can get a preview of the upcoming season at Signature Theatre's annual Open House (Sunday, August 5, 2018). This FREE event includes special ticket offers, free performances every fifteen minutes, kids' activities, a grand finale concert and more!

Single tickets for the entire season will go on sale July 2018.


Signature Theatre'S 2018/19 SEASON

Passion
August 14 - September 23, 2018
MAX Theatre

Set in 1860s Italy, this gorgeous musical ignites a fiery love triangle when a handsome army captain is transferred to a remote military outpost and into the blinding infatuation of Fosca, the ailing cousin of his superior. Fosca's fervent longing draws him in as it threatens to upend his career in an exhilarating tangle of obsession, desire, madness, and above all, passion.

Starring Natascia Diaz (West Side Story), Stephen Sondheim's lush and romantic Tony Award®-winning Best Musical will thrill audiences in a radiant new staging by Associate Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner (West Side Story, Sunday in the Park with George, Crazy for You).

Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Based on the film, "Passione d'Amore" Directed by Ettore Scola
Directed by Matthew Gardiner


DC Premiere
Heisenberg
September 18 - November 11, 2018
ARK Theatre

A chance encounter at a London train stop changes the course of life for two people in this hit Broadway play by Tony Award®-winning playwright Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time).

After mistaking him for someone else, Georgie finds herself improbably drawn to the much older Alex. Their instant connection ignites a tender, funny and intimate journey in this electric new play directed by Joe Calarco.

By Simon Stephens
Directed by Joe Calarco


Billy Elliot The Musical
October 30, 2018 - January 6, 2019
MAX Theatre

All 11-year-old Billy wants to do is dance. While the 1984 miner's strike squeezes his family and splits his town, Billy's passion for ballet first divides, then ultimately unites, the community?and changes his life in extraordinary ways.

Based on the powerful and acclaimed film, Billy Elliot swept the Tony, Drama Desk, and Olivier awards for Best Musical, by combining a dynamic score by the legendary Elton John with sensational dance to create a heartwarming, inspirational and triumphant experience for the entire family.

Book & Lyrics by Lee Hall
Music by Elton John
Originally directed in London by Stephen Daldry
Orchestrations by Martin Koch
Executive Producers (Original London Production) Angela Morrison & David Furnish
Producers (Original London Production) Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jon Finn & Sally Greene
Originally presented in London by Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Working Title Films, Old Vic Productions in association with Tiger Productions
Based on the Universal Pictures/Studio Canal Film
Directed by Matthew Gardiner


Ain't Misbehavin': The Fats Waller Musical Show
January 23 - March 10, 2019
MAX Theatre

Step into Harlem for a swinging, dancing celebration of big band and the songs of Thomas "Fats" Waller. This sultry Tony Award®-winning musical tribute features all of Waller's beloved tunes including "The Joint is Jumpin'," "Honeysuckle Rose," "Handful of Keys" and more.

A cast of Signature favorites including Nova Y. Payton (Jelly's Last Jam), Kevin McAllister (Titanic) and Awa Sal Secka (Jesus Christ Superstar) strut the stage while Jelly's Last Jam's Mark G. Meadows tickles the ivories.

Conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. & Murray Horwitz
Created & Originally Directed by Richard Maltby, Jr.
Original Choreography & Musical Staging by Arthur Faria
Musical Adaptations, Orchestrations & Arrangements by Luther Henderson
Vocal & Musical Concepts by Jeffrey Gutcheon
Musical Arrangements by Jeffrey Gutcheon & William Elliott
Originally produced by The Manhattan Theatre Club
Originally produced on Broadway by Emanuel Azenberg, Dasha Epstein, The Shubert Organization, Jane Gaynor & Ron Dante
Directed by Joe Calarco


World Premiere
Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
February 26 - March 31, 2019
ARK Theatre

Three women?an art restorer, her nurse and their military captor?are trapped in a ravaged museum during a catastrophic hundred years war. Tasked with restoring a damaged Rembrandt painting, the women find common shreds of humanity as they try to save a small symbol of beauty in their broken world.

Holly Twyford (A Little Night Music, Sex with Strangers) and Felicia Curry (The Scottsboro Boys) star in this season's Heidi Thomas Writers' Initiative work, a brutal and elegant exploration of the unifying virtue of art and what things are most worth saving when the world is collapsing.

By Heather McDonald
Directed by Nadia Tass


Grand Hotel, The Musical
April 2 - May 12, 2019
MAX Theatre

It is 1928 and Berlin is at the center of a razzle-dazzle world between two wars. At the bustling Grand Hotel a series of eclectic guests and staff including a fading ballerina, a destitute baron, a wannabe starlet typist, and an ailing bookkeeper collide in a non-stop musical toast to the high life.

Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer reunites the creative team behind last season's smash hit A Little Night Music to conjure a scintillating musical destination where captivating characters played by Bobby Smith (Titanic, A Little Night Music), Natascia Diaz (The Gershwins'® & Ken Ludwig's Crazy for You), Kevin McAllister (Titanic), Nicki Elledge (A Little Night Music) and more converge with a lavish and lively score to embody the joy, style and decadence of the 1920s.

Book by Luther Davis
Music & Lyrics by Robert Wright & George Forrest
Based on Vicki Baum's Grand Hotel
By Arrangement with Turner Broadcasting Co. Owner of the Motion Picture "Grand Hotel"
Additional Music & Lyrics by Maury Yeston
Directed by Eric Schaeffer


Spunk
April 30 - June 23, 2019
ARK Theatre

Based on three short stories by Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God) and adapted by Jelly's Last Jam writer George C. Wolfe, Spunk sets the human ability to endure to the strums of a guitar in a stirring musical fable.

An unearthly Guitar Man and Blues Speak Woman tantalizingly interweave three tales of the early 20th century African American experience, from the fierce determination of a resilient washerwoman, to the zoot suit struts of 1940s Harlem, to the bittersweet innocence of young married love.

Glowing with wit, humor and energy, resonating with evocative staging and soulful music, three tales of survival are told in the key of the blues.

Three Tales by Zora Neale Hurston
Adapted & Directed by George C. Wolfe
Music by Chic Street Man
Directed by Timothy Douglas


World Premiere
Blackbeard
June 11 - July 7, 2018
MAX Theatre

Set sail with the most infamous pirate of all time in a riotous, rowdy high-seas adventure from the creators of The Witches of Eastwick, Brother Russia and The Fix.

After learning he's a wanted man by the British army, Blackbeard and his merry crew of maritime marauders embark on a fantastical journey across the globe to raise an undead pirate army from the depths of the sea.

Hilarious, wildly original, and immersively staged entirely on a pirate ship, Blackbeard is a fresh musical salute to the Seven Seas.

Book & Lyrics by John Dempsey
Music by Dana P. Rowe
Directed by Eric Schaeffer


Special Events

Signature's Open House
Sunday, August 5, 2018

Kick off the 29th 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 19 - August 4, 2018
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 - 5 show series

Blues Revolution featuring Akua Allrich
August 21 - 25, 2018
ARK Theatre

Jazz vocalist and DC native Akua Allrich explores music and poetry as tools for revolution in a sizzling cabaret highlighting Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Miriam Makeba, Abbey Lincoln, Louis Armstrong, Nation, Harry Belafonte and others.


Motown: The Reprise
December 4 - 22, 2018
ARK Theatre

The sold-out Motown: Hitsville U.S.A. cabaret returns with an entirely new flavor of the Motown sound. Hear more favorite songs from artists such as Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Jackson 5 and more in a joyous celebration of the American pop heartbeat.


Judy Garland: A Star is Born
January 8 - 26, 2019
ARK Theatre

Judy Garland's career spanned nearly four decades from child celebrity to adult icon. A cast of Signature favorites sing some of her most famous songs including "Over the Rainbow," "Get Happy" and "The Man that Got Away" along with lesser known gems in a tribute to one of Hollywood's brightest stars.


Unforgettable featuring Mark G. Meadows
April 2 - 6, 2019
ARK Theatre

Jazz pianist Mark G. Meadows (Motown: Hitsville U.S.A., The Piano Men) lets loose with the smooth stylings of Nat King Cole. King's hits "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons," "Mona Lisa" and "L-O-V-E" combine with Mark's signature style for one "Unforgettable" performance.


Blowin' In the Wind: Folk-Rock in America featuring Robbie Schaefer|
June 25 - June 30, 2019
ARK Theatr
e

Robbie Schaefer (Light Years) and others host an evening of folk flavored music with an electric rock beat. Enjoy the lyrical storytelling and guitar melodies of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, Neil Young, Tom Petty, James Taylor, Carole King, Paul Simon and some of Robbie's original songs.


Founded in 1989, Signature Theatre is a Tony Award®-winning regional theater that broadens and brightens the region's cultural landscape with its bold productions of challenging new and established works and engaging education and outreach programs. Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, musical theater has become Signature's "signature," and the Theatre is renowned for its definitive Sondheim productions, inventive adaptations of overlooked or forgotten works, and investment in fresh new projects. Called a "musical theater powerhouse" by The Washington Post, Signature combines Broadway-caliber productions with intimate playing spaces and aims to be a leading force in U.S. musical theater. Since its inception, the Theatre has produced 56 world premiere works-including 19 new musical commissions-and is home to the single largest musical theater commissioning project in the United States, The American Music Voices Project. Attracting talent from the DC metropolitan region and New York, Signature has grown to reach more than 100,000 people annually from the Washington, DC region and beyond. Signature has won 103 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region's professional theater and has been honored with 431 nominations.

Photo Credit: Christopher Mueller



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