Signature Theatre to Honor Legacy Playwright Edward Albee at Annual Gala

Signature Theatre to Honor Legacy Playwright Edward Albee at Annual Gala

The Signature Theatre (Paige Evans, Artistic Director; James Houghton, Founder) Annual Gala will take place on Monday, March 12, 2018 at The Pershing Square Signature Center (located at 480 West 42nd Street between 9th & 10th Avenues). The event will celebrate the late Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee and honor the passionate and visionary leadership of former President of the Signature Board of Trustees, Michael Rauch. The Gala is taking place on what would have been Edward Albee's 90th Birthday.

This year's Gala will include cocktails, dinner and entertainment. Award-winning actors Mercedes Ruehl (Edward Albee's Occupant) and Peter Francis James (Edward Albee's The Lady from Dubuque) will host, with special appearances by Will Eno, Katie Finneran, Bill Irwin, Pam MacKinnon, Dave Malloy, Lois Smith, Sir Patrick Stewart, and more. In addition to celebrating Edward Albee and Michael Rauch, the gala will raise funds for Signature's playwright residencies, productions and Ticket Initiative.

Edward Albee was Signature's third Playwright-in-Residence during the 1993-94 Season and remained a loyal supporter of the company. Since his original season, Signature has produced several of his plays, including the current production of Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo: Homelife & The Zoo Story, directed by Lila Neugebauer. He also served on Signature's Board of Trustees for 17 years.

Michael Rauch will be the first individual to receive the Margot Adams Signature Award, in memory of Adams' husband Mason. Adams is a long-standing Signature Trustee and the award is given to those who embody her passionate and visionary championship of Signature. Signature is honored to present this award to Michael Rauch for this same spirit and dedication to Signature's mission. Nowhere is this commitment more evident than in the recently established Michael and Betty Rauch Fund for Residency Five, in honor of Signature Theatre's late Founder and Artistic Director James Houghton. Michael Rauch also served as President of the Board for eight years and played a significant role in the building of The Pershing Square Signature Center.

Co-chairs for the event include Nina B. Matis (President of the Signature Board of Trustees) & Alan Gosule; Edward Norton (Chairman of the Signature Board of Trustees) & Shauna Robertson; Edward Skyler, Citi; John J. Studzinski CBE; and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

To make a donation of any amount in support of this momentous occasion, contact or (646) 388-8156. For more information, visit

About Edward Albee

Edward Albee's 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, 2012-13 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. Albee passed away September 16, 2016.

About Michael Rauch

Michael Rauch is currently a Trustee of the Signature Theatre Board, of which he was President for eight years, and the recipient of the 2018 Margot Adams Signature Award. Michael Rauch was instrumental in the building of The Pershing Square Signature Center and exhibited passionate and visionary leadership in guiding the organization through this major project and transition. In honor of Signature Theatre's late Founder and Artistic Director, James Houghton, Michael and his wife Betty established the Michael and Betty Rauch Fund for Residency Five, which is a unique program offering three full productions of premiere plays to a group of writers, encouraging the creation of a body of work.

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

Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline of Signature Theatre.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

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