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Premieres by Quiara Alegría Hudes, Sarah Ruhl & More Announced for Signature Theatre's 2022-2023 Season

The works in the 2022-2023 season will evoke the poetry in everyday relationships across varied American cultural lanscapes.

Premieres by Quiara Alegría Hudes, Sarah Ruhl & More Announced for Signature Theatre's 2022-2023 Season

Signature Theatre today announced its 2022-2023 season-from Resident playwrights Quiara Alegría Hudes, Samuel D. Hunter, Sarah Ruhl, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins-alongside the inauguration of Launchpad, a new residency supporting early-career playwrights that expands the organization's singular mission of producing a body of work by each resident writer. While the structure of Signature's seasons-producing several plays by each resident writer-fundamentally brings audiences closer to playwrights, this season particularly offers a personal and profound view into each Resident writer's voice and vision. Often adapting their own work or using the stage to explore the imprint of places and relationships, playwrights in 2022-2023 offer works that pull from various intimate realms of experience-in textured, complex impressions of contemporary American reality. All productions will take place at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 W. 42nd Street).

Artistic Director Paige Evans says, "From season to season, our audiences can see a play in the context of the playwright's body of work-alongside other resident playwrights' work. This ongoing engagement with writers is specific to Signature, and finds a new resonance in a season where so many of our playwrights are telling personal stories."

The season kicks off with Pulitzer Prize-winner Quiara Alegría Hudes's return to Signature for the second play in her Premiere Residency (following the 2016 world premiere of Daphne's Dive), the stage adaptation of her memoir My Broken Language. The world premiere production, directed by Hudes and colliding monologue, literary reading, music, and movement in its depiction of six Puerto Rican womens' lives in Philadelphia, continues a momentous moment for the playwright: in 2021, she released the acclaimed book on which the play is based, and her Tony-nominated stage musical collaboration with Lin Manuel-Miranda, In the Heights, reached audiences around the world as a beloved major motion picture. (Hudes penned the book in the Broadway production and the film's screenplay).

MacArthur Fellow Samuel D. Hunter, whose first work in his Premiere Residency-the world premiere of A Case for the Existence of God-is currently running at Signature to great critical acclaim, returns in Winter 2023 with the Off-Broadway premiere of A Bright New Boise. As in Case, Hunter here captures a region of his home state Idaho-in the negative space of a depersonalized work environment-through the people who inhabit it. This dark comedic work depicts a Boise Hobby Lobby thrown into chaos by the arrival of a new employee sorting through a tragic past. Like Hudes, audiences can experience Hunter's stage work alongside his unique dramatic vision onscreen: Darren Aronofsky's film adaptation of his play The Whale, starring Brendan Fraser, is expected to be released by A24 sometime in 2022.

In early 2023, MacArthur Fellow Sarah Ruhl begins her Spotlight Residency with the world premiere adaptation of her 2018 epistolary book, Letters from Max: A Poet, a Teacher, and a Friendship, "a resonant and profound contribution from two fully formed artists to the literature of illness" (Slate). Ruhl, whose accomplished body of work includes Eurydice and Pulitzer Prize finalists In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play) and The Clean House, here shares letters and poems passed between herself and her former student Max Ritvo, as he candidly discusses terminal illness and tests poetry's capacity to put to words what otherwise feels ineffable.

MacArthur Fellow Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's Premiere Residency culminates in 2023, with his self-directed world premiere semi-autobiographical work, Grass. With a title inspired by Walt Whitman's quintessentially American 1855 poetry collection Leaves of Grass, the play follows a mother and son on a road trip with stops in numerous Civil Rights museums, where America's perception of itself shows through whose stories are uplifted and whose are erased. Jacobs-Jenkins-whose previous Signature Productions include Appropriate and Pulitzer Prize Finalist Everybody-is currently creating a television series based on Octavia Butler's seminal classic, Kindred, for FX.

With long-term commitments to playwrights' bodies of work and amplifying the breadth of their visions, Signature Theatre's residency programs set the organization apart: the Premiere Residency (formerly Residency 5) supports the development and production of several new plays by each resident playwright, while the Spotlight Residency (formerly Residency 1) offers a deep dive into an established writer's body of work through productions of three or more plays, both new and reimagined. The newest residency program, the Launchpad Residency, offers diverse early career writers holistic and ongoing support, including two commissions, developmental opportunities, a workshop production, and a full production. The residency also supports new playwrights through mentorship opportunities, health insurance, office space, and community building, and deepens Signature's mission to produce bodies of work by exceptional playwrights at all stages of their careers. The Launchpad residency will begin with a workshop production in Spring 2023 in the Ford Foundation Studio Theatre; more details to be announced.

SigSpace-the program of eclectic work in The Pershing Square Signature Center's spacious lobby, sustaining it as a free public workspace and social hub for New York City artists-will return this season with a new sound and lighting system, with details to come.

2022-2023 Season Plays (Dates to Be Announced)

My Broken Language

Written and Directed by Quiara Alegría Hudes

World Premiere

Premiere Resident Writer

Fall

The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

Blending monologue, literary reading, live music, and movement, six women relive life en el barrio in Philadelphia during the 90s-the uplift, the grief, the spirits, the dance. Navigating the margins of many communities, they forge a language all their own. Premiere Residency Playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes adapts and directs her acclaimed memoir for the stage.

A Bright New Boise

Written by Samuel D. Hunter

Directed by Oliver Butler

Off-Broadway Premiere

Premiere Resident Writer

Winter

The Irene Diamond Stage

This 2011 Obie Award-winning dark comedy centers on Will, a lapsed Evangelical who has fled his northern Idaho hometown after a tragedy. Working at a Boise Hobby Lobby, Will forges connections with his new coworkers and struggles to reconcile his life with his faith.

Letters from Max

By Sarah Ruhl

Directed by Kate Whoriskey

World Premiere

Spotlight Resident Writer

Winter

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

Based on Letters from Max: a Poet, a Teacher, and a Friendship, MacArthur "Genius" Fellow and two-time Pulitzer Finalist Sarah Ruhl adapts her tender and inspiring correspondence with her late student, the poet Max Ritvo. A powerful intertwining of dialogue, poetry, and ritual, Letters from Max follows the journey of a poetry teacher and her talented student as they grow and learn from each other.

Grass

Written and Directed by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

World Premiere

Premiere Resident Writer

Spring

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

A nightmare eviction leaves an out-of-work actor with nowhere to go but his father's house on an island in southeast Texas. But in order to get there-and not get shot-he's going to have to let his mother drive. Hilarity ensues. Or doesn't. In either case, History narrates. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Appropriate, Everybody) culminates his Signature residency as playwright and director of this new play.

About Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre is an artistic home for storytellers. By producing several plays from each Resident Writer, Signature offers a deep dive into their bodies of work.

Signature serves its mission by hosting distinctive resident playwrights and cultural communities at its permanent home at The Pershing Square Signature Center, a three-theatre facility on West 42nd Street designed by Frank Gehry Architects. At the Center, which opened in January 2012, Signature continues its original Playwright-in-Residence model with Spotlight Residency (formerly Residency 1), an intensive exploration of a single writer's body of work. The Premiere Residency (formerly Residency 5), the only program of its kind, supports playwrights as they build a body of work by guaranteeing each writer three productions over a five-year period. The Legacy Program, launched during Signature's 10th Anniversary, invites writers from both residencies to premiere or re-produce earlier plays. In 2020, Signature launched SigSpace, to bring free artistic programming to the Center's public spaces and more fully activate Signature's lobby as a free public workspace and social hub for New York artists.

The Pershing Square Signature Center is a major contribution to New York City's cultural landscape. The Center supports and encourages collaboration among artists, cultural organizations and local communities by providing free, public access throughout the space. In addition to its three intimate theatres, the Center features a studio theatre, a rehearsal studio and a public café, bar and bookstore.

Founded in 1991 by James Houghton, Signature Theatre is now led by Artistic Director Paige Evans. Signature's Resident Playwrights include: Edward Albee, Annie Baker, Lee Blessing, Martha Clarke, Will Eno, Horton Foote, María Irene Fornés, Athol Fugard, John Guare, Stephen Adly Guirgis, A.R. Gurney, Katori Hall, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Samuel D. Hunter, David Henry Hwang, Bill Irwin, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Romulus Linney, Kenneth Lonergan, Dave Malloy, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, Dominique Morisseau, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl, Sam Shepard, Anna Deavere Smith, Regina Taylor, Paula Vogel, Naomi Wallace, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, Lauren Yee, The Mad Ones, and members of the historic Negro Ensemble Company: Charles Fuller, Leslie Lee, and Samm-Art Williams.

Signature and its artists have been recognized with Tony Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, MacArthur "Genius" grants, and Lucille Lortel, Obie, Drama Desk, AUDELCO, and Artios Awards as well as the 50/50 Award for Gender Parity in Theatre, among many other distinctions. In 2014, Signature became the first New York City theatre to receive the Regional Theatre Tony Award for its body of work and accomplishments as an institution. For more information, please visit signaturetheatre.org.

The groundbreaking Signature Access (formerly the Signature Ticket Initiative), which in 2019 celebrated its one millionth ticket sold, guarantees affordable tickets to every Signature production through 2032. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible, in part, by Lead Partner The Pershing Square Foundation.



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