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Signature to Stage Works by Suzan-Lori Parks, Dominique Morisseau, Stephen Adly Guirgis and Edward Albee in 2017-18

Signature to Stage Works by Suzan-Lori Parks, Dominique Morisseau, Stephen Adly Guirgis and Edward Albee in 2017-18 The 2017-18 Signature Theatre Season will feature plays by three Pulitzer Prize-winners and the New York premiere of a play by one of its new Residency Five playwrights, the company announced today.

All performances will take place at the company's Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). Signature is proud to continue the groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, its one-of-a-kind commitment to providing subsidized, affordable tickets to every seat at every performance during a production's regular run. All tickets will be $30 for the 2017-18 Season.

As previously announced, Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Adly Guirgis will join as Residency One playwright in the 2017-18 Season. Residency One is the continuation of Signature's core one-year Playwright-in-Residence program that produces a series of plays from the body of work of one accomplished writer. Signature will present Guirgis' critically acclaimed plays Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train under the direction of Drama Desk Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Our Lady of 121st Street under the direction of Obie Award-winner Anne Kauffman. A new play by Guirgis will be presented during the 2018-19 Season and is available for purchase as part of this season's subscription package.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks, whose plays The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead and Venus were part of the 2016-17 Season, completes her Residency One this fall with The Red Letter Plays, which will be presented simultaneously in separate theatres at the Center. Fucking A will be directed by Obie Award-winner Jo Bonney and In the Blood will be helmed by Obie Award-winner Sarah Benson.

Signature's Legacy Program, a homecoming for past Signature Playwrights-in-Residence, will feature Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo: Homelife & The Zoo Story (rights pending), directed by Obie Award-winner Lila Neugebauer. With this production, Signature celebrates Legacy Playwright Edward Albee, who passed away in 2016.

As part of the Residency Five program, Signature will produce the New York premiere of Paradise Blue by Kennedy Prize for Drama Award-winner Dominique Morisseau, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Residency Five is a groundbreaking program that provides playwrights with the full range of Signature's resources for five years to create new work, and guarantees each playwright a minimum of three premiere productions at The Pershing Square Signature Center. The program enables a diverse community of playwrights to build bodies of work, and provides them with a significant cash award, health benefits and a stipend to attend theatre. In addition to Ms. Morisseau, the program's current playwrights include Annie Baker, Martha Clarke, Katori Hall, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan, Dave Malloy and ReGina Taylor.

Artistic Director Paige Evans says, "I'm thrilled that we'll be producing these four outstanding writers in our 2017-18 Season, the first I've programmed at Signature. Edward, Stephen, Dominique and Suzan-Lori have such distinct voices and styles, but they all write with wit, grit and remarkable insight. I can't wait for Signature's audiences to enter into these worlds."

Signature's current 2016-17 Season continues with The Antipodes by Annie Baker, directed by Lila Neugebauer, beginning performances on April 4, 2017, and Venus by Suzan-Lori Parks, directed by Lear deBessonet, beginning performances on April 25, 2017.

Subscriptions to the 2017-18 Season are on sale now by calling Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. - Sun., 11am - 6pm) or by visiting www.signaturetheatre.org. Tickets to the initial runs of all Signature Productions at The Pershing Square Signature Center are $30, part of the groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, a program that guarantees affordable tickets to every Signature production through 2031. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible by lead partner The Pershing Square Foundation. Additional support provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Margot Adams, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.


2017-18 SEASON OVERVIEW:

RESIDENCY ONE: Suzan-Lori Parks

The Red Letter Plays: Fucking A

By Suzan-Lori Parks

Directed by Jo Bonney

August 22 - October 1, 2017

The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

The Red Letter Plays: In the Blood

By Suzan-Lori Parks

Directed by Sarah Benson

August 29 - October 8, 2017

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

The Red Letter Plays, produced together for the first time, explode our ideas of love, society, sex, and power with wit and fearlessness. In these modern remixes of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel The Scarlet Letter, Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks conjures two distinct interpretations of Hester, Western literature's most famous adulteress.

In Fucking A, Hester Smith, the revered and reviled local abortionist, hatches a plan to buy her jailed son's freedom-and nothing will deter Hester from her quest. In this wild-eyed blend of story and song, directed by Obie Award-winner Jo Bonney (Father Comes Home From the Wars), Hester's branded letter A becomes a provocative emblem of vengeance, violence, and sacrifice.

In the Blood's Hester La Negrita is a penniless mother of five condemned by the men who love her, in this play hailed by The New York Times as "...a work of art. You will leaved thrilled, even comforted by its mastery." Hester turns to former lovers, friends, and the institutions meant to support her, only to be spurned by them all with devastating consequences, in this new production directed by Obie Award-winner Sarah Benson (An Octoroon).

These two plays form a haunting and powerful indictment of the way we live now.

RESIDENCY ONE: Stephen Adly Guirgis

Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train

By Stephen Adly Guirgis

Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

October 3 - November 12, 2017

The Irene Diamond Stage

Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Adly Guirgis (Between Riverside and Crazy) begins his Residency at Signature with a revival of his darkly comic meditation on redemption and faith, Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, directed by Drama Desk Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (The Piano Lesson). Angel Cruz is a 30-year-old bicycle messenger awaiting trial for the death of the leader of a religious cult. Inside Rikers Island, a terrified Angel is befriended by a charismatic serial killer named Lucius Jenkins. Lucius has found God and been born again, and now, Angel's life and the course of his trial will be changed forever.

Our Lady of 121st Street

By Stephen Adly Guirgis

Directed by Anne Kauffman

May 1 - June 10, 2018

The Irene Diamond Stage

After the death of the beloved Sister Rose, a group of her former students return to their Harlem neighborhood to pay respects. But at the Funeral Home, there's a problem -- her dead body has been stolen. An irreverently brash and insightful dark comedy, directed by Obie Award-winner Anne Kauffman (Detroit), Our Lady of 121st Street paints a vivid comic portrait of what happens when old friends meet old wounds and how old habits die hard.

A new play by Stephen Adly Guirgis will be presented during the 2018-19 Season, and is available for purchase with a 2017-18 Season subscription.

RESIDENCY FIVE: Dominique Morisseau

Paradise Blue

By Dominique Morisseau

Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

April 24 - June 3, 2018

The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

In 1949, Detroit's Blackbottom neighborhood is gentrifying. Blue, a troubled trumpeter and the owner of Paradise Club, is torn between remaining in Blackbottom with his loyal lover Pumpkin and leaving behind a traumatic past. But when the arrival of a mysterious woman stirs up tensions, the fate of Paradise Club hangs in the balance. The first production of Obie Award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau's Signature residency, Paradise Blue, directed by Tony Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (The Piano Lesson, Jitney) is a thrilling and timely look at the changes a community endures to find its resilience.

Special thanks to Time Warner Foundation, Inc. and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting the Residency Five Program.

LEGACY PROGRAM: Edward Albee

Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo: Homelife & The Zoo Story (rights pending)

By Edward Albee

Directed by Lila Neugebauer

January 30 - March 11, 2018

The Irene Diamond Stage

This new production of Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo, directed by Lila Neugebauer (Signature Plays, Everybody), honors Legacy Playwright Edward Albee, who passed away in 2016. In act one, Homelife, we meet Peter and his wife, who live a comfortable but vaguely unhappy bourgeois existence; in the second act, the classic The Zoo Story, Peter is forever altered by an oddly persistent stranger in Central Park. With jolts of brutality and Albee's signature dark humor, this seminal play explores both the love and the cruelty that we inflict on each other every day.


About THE RESIDENT PLAYWRIGHTS:

Edward Albee was born on March 12, 1928, and began writing plays 30 years later. His plays include The Zoo Story (1958); The Death of Bessie Smith (1959); The Sandbox (1959); The American Dream (1960); Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1961-62, Tony Award, 2012-2013 Tony Award); Tiny Alice (1964); A Delicate Balance(1966, Pulitzer Prize, 1966 Tony Award); All Over (1971); Seascape (1974, Pulitzer Prize); Listening (1975); Counting the Ways (1975); The Lady From Dubuque (1977-78); The Man Who Had Three Arms (1981); Finding the Sun (1982); Marriage Play (1986-87); Three Tall Women (1991, Pulitzer Prize); Fragments (1993); The Play About the Baby (1997); The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (2000, 2002 Tony Award); Occupant (2001); and At Home at the Zoo: (Act 1, Homelife; Act 2, The Zoo Story) (2004); Me, Myself and I (2010). He was a member of the Dramatists Guild Council and president of the Edward F. Albee Foundation. Mr. Albee was awarded the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1980. In 1996, he received the Kennedy Center Honors and the National Medal of Arts. In 2005, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award.

Stephen Adly Guirgis is a member and former co-artistic director of LAByrinth Theater Company. His plays have been produced on five continents and throughout the United States. His most recent play, Between Riverside and Crazy (dir: Austin Pendleton) premiered at Atlantic Theater Company, moved to Second Stage Theatre, and garnered numerous awards including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Other plays include: The Motherf***er with the Hat (6 Tony nominations, including Best Play, dir: Anna D Shapiro), Den of Thieves (directed by Max Daniels), Dominica The Fat Ugly Ho (dir: Adam Rapp), as well as Our Lady of 121st Street, Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Public Theater) and The Little Flower of East Orange (Public Theater) - all five originally directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and world premiered at LAByrinth Theater Company. In London, his plays have premiered at The Donmar Warehouse, The Almeida (dir: Rupert Goold), The Hampstead (Robert Delamere), and at The Arts Theater in the West End (Dir: Philip Seymour Hoffman). As an actor, he has appeared in theatre, film and television, including roles in Alejandro Inarritu's Oscar-winning Birdman, Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret, Todd Solondz's Palindromes, and Brett C. Leonard's Jailbaitopposite Michael Pitt. He co-created and executive produced Netflix's "The Get Down" with Baz Luhrmann. Other awards include: the Yale Wyndham-Campbell Prize, The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Award, PEN/Laura Pels Award, Whiting Award, TCG fellowship, Fringe First Award, NY Drama Critics Circle, L.A. Drama Critics Prize, and a Lucille Lortel Award. A former violence prevention specialist and H.I.V. educator, he lives in New York City.

Dominique Morisseau is the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle) which includes the following plays: Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Williamstown Theatre Festival), and Detroit '67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theater); Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre) and Follow Me To Nellie's (Premiere Stages). She is an alumna of The Public Theater Emerging Writer's Group, Women's Project Lab, and Lark Playwrights Workshop and has developed work at Sundance Lab and Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. Her work has been commissioned by the Hip Hop Theater Festival, Steppenwolf Theater Company, LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, Women's Project, South Coast Rep, People's Light and Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Penumbra Theatre. She currently serves as Executive Story Editor on the Showtime series "Shameless." Awards: Stavis Playwriting Award, NAACP Image Award, Spirit of Detroit Award, Weissberger Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper New American Play Prize, TEER Spirit Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama (Detroit '67), and Obie Award (Skeleton Crew).

Suzan-Lori Parks For The Public Theater: Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Watch Me Work, The Book of Grace, 365 Days/365 Plays (in conjunction with over 700 theatres worldwide), Topdog/Underdog, Fucking A, In the Blood (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Venus, The America Play. On Broadway: The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess, Topdog/Underdog. Other Off-Broadway includes Unchain My Heart, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom. Film includes Girl 6 (directed by Spike Lee), Their Eyes Were Watching God (produced by Oprah Winfrey),Anemone Me (produced by Christine Vachon & Todd Haynes). Suzan-Lori is the first African-American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and is a MacArthur "Genius" Award recipient. Other awards include Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical (Porgy and Bess); The Gish Prize for Excellence in the Arts; Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama; Horton Foote Prize; Obie Award for Playwriting: Best New American Play. Suzan-Lori teaches at New York University and serves at The Public Theater as its Master Writer Chair. She also currently performs Watch Me Work, a free, live streamed, weekly writing workshop, open to artists of all disciplines. Her first novel, Getting Mother's Body (Random House, 2003), includes songs and is set in the West Texas of her youth. She is currently developing a series for Amazon and a musical adaptation of the film The Harder They Come. For more info visit SuzanLoriParks.com.

Signature Theatre celebrates playwrights and gives them an artistic home. By producing multiple plays by each resident writer, Signature offers an in-depth look at their bodies of work.

Founded in 1991 by James Houghton, Signature makes an extended commitment to a playwright's body of work, and during this journey, the writer is engaged in every aspect of the creative process. By championing in-depth explorations of a playwright's body of work, Signature delivers an intimate and immersive journey into a playwright's singular vision. In 2014 Signature became the first New York City theatre to receive the Regional Theatre Tony Award.

Signature serves its mission through its permanent home at The Pershing Square Signature Center, a three-theatre facility on West 42ndStreet designed by Frank Gehry Architects to host Signature's three distinct playwrights' residencies and foster a cultural community. At the Center, opened in January 2012, Signature continues its founding Playwright-in-Residence model as Residency One, a first-of-its-kind, intensive exploration of a single writer's body of work. Residency Five, the only program of its kind, was launched at the Center to support multiple playwrights as they build bodies 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 back for productions of premiere or earlier plays.

The Pershing Square Signature Center is a major contribution to New York City's cultural landscape and provides a venue for cultural organizations that supports and encourages collaboration among artists 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. Through the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access, Signature has also made an unprecedented commitment to making its productions accessible by underwriting the cost of initial run tickets, currently priced at $30, through 2031.

Signature has presented entire seasons of the work of Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, María Irene Fornés, Athol Fugard, John Guare, A.R. Gurney, David Henry Hwang, Bill Irwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Romulus Linney, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, Naomi Wallace, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, and a season celebrating the historic Negro Ensemble Company. Stephen Adly Guirgis and Suzan-Lori Parks are the current Residency One playwrights. Signature's current Residency Five playwrights are Annie Baker, Martha Clarke, Katori Hall, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan, Dominique Morisseau and ReGina Taylor. Will Eno became the first Residency Five playwright to graduate from the program this spring. In addition to the Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Signature's productions and its resident writers have been recognized with the Pulitzer Prize, Lucille Lortel Awards, Obie Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and AUDELCO Awards, among many other distinctions.


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