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Signature Theatre Announces Casting for PARADISE BLUE

Signature Theatre Announces Casting for PARADISE BLUETickets are now on sale for the Signature Theatre (Paige Evans, Artistic Director; James Houghton, Founder) New York City premiere production of Paradise Blue, by Obie Award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau (Skeleton Crew, Pipeline) and directed by Tony Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson (The Piano Lesson, Jitney). Paradise Blue is the first play of Morisseau's Signature Residency, which will include three productions over the course of five years.

Paradise Blue runs April 24 - June 3, 2018 with a Monday, May 14 opening night in The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). All tickets for the initial run of the production are $30 as part of the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access. To purchase tickets for all Signature Productions, call Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. - Sun., 11am - 6pm) or visit www.SignatureTheatre.org.

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. Paradise Blue is a thrilling and timely look at the changes a community endures to find its resilience.

The cast includes Obie Award-winner Francois Battiste (Head of Passes, "Ten Days in the Valley"), Kristolyn Lloyd (Dear Evan Hansen, The Liquid Plain), J. Alphonse Nicholson ("Tales," "Luke Cage"), Keith Randolph Smith (Malcolm X, Jitney).

The creative team includes Neil Patel (Scenic Design), Clint Ramos (Costume Design), Rui Rita (Lighting Design), Darron L West (Sound Design), Thomas Schall (Fight Direction), Kenny Rampton (Original Music), Bill Sims, Jr. (Music Director). Laura Wilson is the Production Stage Manager. Casting by Caparelliotis Casting.

Paradise Blue is generously supported by the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater. Special thanks to Time Warner Foundation, Inc., The Michael and Betty Rauch Fund for Residency Five, and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting the Residency Five Program. Dominique Morisseau's Residency Five is generously supported, in part, by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

The groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access is 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 Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, Margot Adams, The SHS Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, 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

Final performance played on Sunday, October 8, 2017 in The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

The Red Letter Plays: In the Blood

By Suzan-Lori Parks

Directed by Sarah Benson

Final performance played on Sunday, October 15, 2017 in 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 leave 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

Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train

By Stephen Adly Guirgis

Directed by Mark Brokaw

Final performance played on Sunday, December 3, 2017 on 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 Obie Award-winner Mark Brokaw. 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 Phylicia Rashad

Begins May 1, 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, 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.

Our Lady of 121st Street is sponsored by the generous support of The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation.

LEGACY PROGRAM

Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo: Homelife & The Zoo Story

By Edward Albee

Directed by Lila Neugebauer

Now Playing Through March 25, 2018 | The Irene Diamond Stage

This new production of Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo, directed by Drama Desk Award-winner Lila Neugebauer (Signature Plays, The Antipodes), honors Legacy Playwright Edward Albee, who passed away in 2016. In act one, Homelife, we see Peter and his wife Ann in their Upper East Side apartment; 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.

RESIDENCY FIVE

Paradise Blue

By Dominique Morisseau

Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

Begins April 24, 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.

Paradise Blue is generously supported by the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater.

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

Dominique Morisseau's Residency Five is generously supported, in part, by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

About Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre celebrates playwrights and gives them an artistic home. 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 producing a series of plays by each resident writer, Signature delivers an intimate and immersive journey into the playwright's singular vision. In 2014 Signature became the first New York City company to receive the Regional Theater Tony Award.

Signature serves its mission through its permanent home at The Pershing Square Signature Center, a three-theatre facility on West 42nd Street 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 original Playwright-in-Residence model as Residency One, a year-long 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 the initial run tickets, currently priced at $30, through 2031.

Founded in 1991 by James Houghton, 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, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, Naomi Wallace, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson and a season celebrating the historic Negro Ensemble Company. Stephen Adly Guirgis is the current Residency One playwright. Signature's Residency Five playwrights are Annie Baker, Martha Clarke, Katori Hall, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Kenneth Lonergan, Dave Malloy, Dominique Morisseau and Regina Taylor; Will Eno completed his Residency Five in 2016. Signature's productions and its resident writers have been recognized with the Pulitzer Prize, Lucille Lortel, Obie, Drama Desk and AUDELCO awards, among many other distinctions. For more information, please visit signaturetheatre.org.

Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of Signature Theatre.


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