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Signature Adds Sarah Ruhl, Anna Deavere Smith and More to Residency Program

Signature Adds Sarah Ruhl, Anna Deavere Smith and More to Residency Program

Four award-winning playwrights and one acclaimed theatre collective will join the residency programs at Signature Theatre, the company announced today.

Tony Award nominee and Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl (In the Next Room, or the vibrator play) and Tony Award nominee and National Humanities Medal recipient Anna Deavere Smith (Notes from the Field) will join Signature's Residency 1 program, which is a yearlong intensive exploration of a writer's body of work.

Drama Desk Award winner Samuel D. Hunter (The Whale),Drama Desk nominees and Innovative Theatre Award winners The Mad Ones (Miles for Mary), and Horton Foote Prize-winner Lauren Yee (The Great Leap) will also join Signature's Residency 5 program, which guarantees playwrights three premieres over five years. Hunter, The Mad Ones, and Yee will join current Residency 5 playwrights Annie Baker, Martha Clarke, Katori Hall, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Dave Malloy and Dominique Morisseau.

Titles, dates and creative teams will be announced at a later date.

"Over the past 28 years, Signature has celebrated many distinguished writers and given them an artistic home through its residency programs. I'm thrilled to bring these four extraordinary writers, and one incredible devised theater collective, to Signature. Sarah, Anna, Sam, Lauren and The Mad Ones all have striking voices and unique perspectives on the human condition. I cannot wait to share their work with Signature's vibrant and diverse community." - Paige Evans, Artistic Director

Samuel D. Hunter said, "I've always been inspired by Signature's commitment to the value of a writer's body of work, rather than just a single play. This kind of long-form commitment-and faith in plays of mine that I haven't even written yet-is incredibly meaningful to me. Suddenly, I'm able to see further into the future of my writing career than I ever have before."

Sarah Ruhl said, "I am beyond honored to be included in the Signature revolution-a revolution that honors a playwright's body of work over time. I humbly follow my heroes and teachers-including Paula Vogel, María Irene Fornés, Lynn Nottage, and Chuck Mee-with immense gratitude and a healthy dose of terror. I always love seeing plays at Signature because I know that theatrical language will come first, and everything else will follow."

Anna Deavere Smith said, "I am truly honored that Signature has chosen to do my work. I think Jim Houghton's office was in a parking lot when he asked me to come by to hear about his plans for residencies and for the building itself. He pulled a hard hat out of somewhere and took me to the construction site - all cement and wires. We walked around and I imagined what would be where as he described it all. I was energized and inspired by that visit with him. To now be a part of what's been built and what Signature is still building under Paige's leadership makes me feel, well - at home."

Lauren Yee said, "Playwriting is by necessity a lonely endeavor. One that has us chasing the next reading or workshop or production every year all the time. Our reward is other people and the chance to make something with them. That's why this residency at Signature is such a gift. It's an opportunity to breathe. To consider my work not just in terms of the next year or the next play, but my career as a whole. I've had the good fortune to work at many wonderful theaters across the country and build connections in those communities. But New York City is my home and I am so thrilled to be home in so many senses of the word at Signature."

The Mad Ones said, "Collectively creating work requires extraordinary time, patience, and resources. Residency 5's commitment to supporting a body of work will equip us to take meaningful artistic risks with unprecedented courage, galvanizing the next chapter of our collaboration. We are wildly honored to be welcomed into the company of Signature's playwrights."

Tickets are currently on sale for the productions of Curse of the Starving Class, by Legacy playwright Sam Shepard, directed by Terry Kinney, and the world premiere production of Octet, a chamber choir musical written by Residency 5 playwright Dave Malloy and directed by Annie Tippe. To purchase tickets for all Signature Productions, call Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. - Sun., 11am - 6pm) or visit

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