Eric Schaeffer

Also Credited As: Eric D. Schaeffer

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Eric Schaeffer BIO

Eric Schaeffer is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Arlington’s Signature Theatre. Under his leadership, the Theatre was honored with the 2009 Tony Award® for Outstanding Regional Theatre in America, as well as 97 Helen Hayes Awards with an additional 411 nominations for theater excellence in Washington, DC.

At Signature, Schaeffer directed productions including: Titanic; Silver Belles; Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose; Girlstar; The Fix; Elmer Gantry; Cloak and Dagger; Beaches; Miss Saigon; Crossing; Hello, Dolly! (Ford’s Theatre co-production); The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Brother Russia; Hairspray; Sunset Boulevard; Chess; Show Boat; First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb; The Hollow; Les Misérables; ACE; Kiss of the Spider Woman; Glory Days; The Witches of Eastwick; Saving Aimee; Into the Woods; My Fair Lady; Nevermore; The Highest Yellow; One Red Flower; Allegro; Twentieth Century; 110 in the Shade; Hedwig and the Angry Inch; The Gospel According to Fishman; Grand Hotel; The Rhythm Club; Over & Over; The Fix; Working; The Rink; Cabaret; First Lady Suite; Wings; Poor Superman; Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love; and the Sondheim musicals Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George (Arena Stage co-production), Passion, Into the Woods, Company, Assassins, Sweeney Todd, Follies and Pacific Overtures, among others.

On Broadway, Schaeffer directed Gigi, the critically acclaimed Follies as well as the Tony Award®-winning Million Dollar Quartet, Glory Days and Putting It Together. His national tours include Million Dollar Quartet and Big. Off-Broadway, he has directed Sweet Adeline (City Center Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert) and Under the Bridge. His West End credits include Million Dollar Quartet and The Witches of Eastwick.

Eric’s regional credits include Drury Lane: Beaches; Ford’s Theatre: Meet John Doe; Goodman: Million Dollar Quartet; Apollo Theatre: Million Dollar Quartet; Mark Taper Forum: Putting It Together (w/ Carol Burnett); Chicago: Elmer Gantry; Los Angeles: Disney’s Snow White. For the Kennedy Center, Schaeffer served as the Artistic Director of the acclaimed Sondheim Celebration in 2002 as well as directing its productions of Sunday in the Park with George and Passion. At the Kennedy Center, he also directed Follies starring Bernadette Peters, Mame starring Christine Baranski, First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb and Gigi starring Vanessa Hudgens. Overseas, Eric directed Sweeney Todd in Seoul, South Korea with the OD Company.

In 2006, Schaeffer created Signature’s musical theater commissioning program, the American Musical Voices Project (AMVP), in partnership with the New York-based Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund, to commission and produce new musicals for the American theater canon. Since that time, AMVP has grown to become the largest musical theater commissioning program in the country, providing writers and composers a creative, fertile ground to develop original musicals. Since the program was launched, Signature has commissioned 18 new musicals from composers such as Michael John LaChiusa, Ricky Ian Gordon, Joseph Thalken, Adam Guettel, Jeanine Tesori, Josh Schmidt and Joshua Rosenblum, among others.

Schaeffer earned his BFA from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, where he received an Honorary Doctorate in 2012. He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Shenandoah University in 2014.

Eric Schaeffer Photos

Eric Schaeffer Productions

[Arlington, VA (Regional), 2020]
[Off-Broadway, 2017]
Scenic Designer
[Chicago (Regional), 2015]
[Washington, DC (Regional), 2015]
[Off-Broadway, 2014]
[Arlington, VA (Regional), 2014]
[US Tour, 2011]
[Broadway, 2011]
[Off-Broadway, 2011]
[Washington, DC (Regional), 2011]
[West End, 2011]
[Broadway, 2010]
[Arlington, VA (Regional), 2009]
Scenic Designer
[Arlington, VA (Regional), 2008]

Eric Schaeffer Movies

[1993]My Life's in Turnaround Splick

[1996]If Lucy Fell Joe MacGonaughgill

[1997]Fall Michael

[1998]Gunshy Gwynne

[1999]Wirey Spindell Wirey Spindell

[2001]One Night at McCool's Greg Spradling

[2001]Never Again producer

[2004]Marmalade Dan

[2004]Spanglish Rabid Sports Fan

[2004]Mind the Gap Sam Blue

[2009]Adventureland Foreigner Tribute Band Member

[2011]After Fall, Winter Michael

[2011]They're Out of the Business Splick

[2012]Eric Schaeffer: Life Coach writer

[2014]Boy Meets Girl director

[2021]Before I Go producer

Eric Schaeffer TV Shows

New York Daze Eric McDougal

Eric Schaeffer Awards and Nominations

Helen Hayes Awards - 2009 - Outstanding Director, Resident Musical

Eric SchaefferAce: The New Musical Adventure

Helen Hayes Awards - 2003 - Outstanding Director, Resident Musical

Eric SchaefferSunday in the Park with George

Helen Hayes Awards - 2003 - Outstanding Director, Resident Musical

Eric Schaefferhe Gospel According to Fishman

Helen Hayes Awards - 1998 - Outstanding Director, Resident Musical

Eric SchaefferSunday in the Park with George

Helen Hayes Awards - 1994 - Outstanding Director, Resident Production

Eric SchaefferUnidentified Human Remains and the 1 Nature of Love

Eric Schaeffer Videos

Eric Schaeffer News

Claybourne Elder to Perform for One Night Only at Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre will present a one-night engagement of Claybourne Elder Cabaret. Learn how to purchase tickets!


Performances of That’s What Friends Are For: Nova Y. Payton Sings Burt Bacharach begin in less than one month at Signature Theatre.


Ring in the holidays with a double feature for the whole family! Enjoy 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' and 'The Little Town of Christmas' at The Blue Moon Theatre from December 8-10, 2023. Don't miss this heartwarming and funny holiday show.

BOTH SIDES NOW: Joni Mitchell And Leonard Cohen Extended at Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre will present a one-week extension of Both Sides Now: Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, now running December 5 through December 23.

Cast Set for HOW SWEET IT IS: THE MEN OF SOUL CABARET at Signature Theatre

Get ready for an unforgettable night of soulful music as Signature Theatre announces the cast for How Sweet It Is: The Men Of Soul Cabaret. Join Isaac 'Deacon Izzy' Bell and Derrick D. Truby Jr. for a tribute to the legendary Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and more.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS to Kick Off The Holidays At Way Off Broadway

Get into the holiday spirit with Way Off Broadway's presentation of A Charlie Brown Christmas. This live stage adaptation of the beloved television classic brings Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang to life. Don't miss this festive production at Way Off Broadway.

Bill English, Nkrumah Gatling, Teal Wicks & More to Star in RAGTIME at Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre has revealed the cast and creative team for the epic musical Ragtime, with book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. See who is starring and learn how to purchase tickets!

Signature Theatre Announces Cast & Creative Team of KING OF THE YEES

Signature Theatre has announced the cast and creative team for the play King of the Yees, written by Lauren Yee (Cambodian Rock Band, The Great Leap) and directed by Jennifer Chang (Round House's The Great Leap, LA Opera's On Golden Mountain). Performances run September 12 – October 22, 2023 in Signature's ARK Theatre.

The Peanuts Gang Comes To Ford Wyoming Center In A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS LIVE ON STAGE

Just in time for the holiday season, the Peanuts gang will be coming to the Ford Wyoming Center on Sunday, November 12 in A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage.

BEACHES THE MUSICAL Will Make International Premiere at Theatre Calgary

The international premiere of Beaches the Musical as the final show of Theatre Calgary's upcoming 2023-24 season. Find out whats new about this newest version of the musical, which had previous runs in DC and Chicago.

Kaiyla Gross & Tobias A. Young to Present DISCO FEVER Concert at Signature Theatre This Summer

Signature Theatre favorites Kaiyla Gross and Tobias A. Young will perform in Disco Fever, a syncopated celebration of the music of Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Diana Ross and more. Learn how to purchase tickets!

Signature Theatre Announces Cast For SOUL DIVAS Reprise Cabaret

Signature Theatre announces that Signature favorites Awa Sal Secka (Gun and Powder, Blackbeard) and Shayla S. Simmons (After Midnight, Dreamgirls) will perform in Soul Divas Reprise, inspired by the sold-out cabaret from 2019 dedicated to the music of acclaimed musical divas from Aretha to Whitney to Tina. The cabaret will be music directed by Mark G. Meadows, Signature's Director of Cabarets. Soul Divas Reprise runs June 27 – July 9 in Signature's ARK Theatre.

PRIVATE JONES World Premiere, THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY & More Set for Signature Theatre 2023/24 Season

Signature Theatre has announced its 34th season, featuring six musicals and one play in a season lineup that includes one world premiere and three DC premieres. Learn how to purchase tickets.

Signature Theatre is Accepting Submissions For SIGWORKS: MONDAY NIGHT NEW PLAY READING SERIES

Signature Theatre will continue its commitment to new work by presenting the eighth annual SigWorks: Monday Night New Play Readings. Under the leadership of Signature's Director of Artistic Development Anika Chapin, this initiative highlights and supports the work of DMV playwrights and is an opportunity for playwrights, actors, directors, designers, and patrons to explore new plays in a fun and informal environment.

Nathaniel Stampley & Bryonha Marie to Lead SWEENEY TODD at Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre has announced the cast and creative team for the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, with music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler.

Megan Hilty & Lea Salonga to Star in BROADWAY IN THE PARK at the Filene Center

Signature Theatre and Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts announced the cast for the third annual musical theater collaboration, Broadway In The Park. See who is starring, and learn how to purchase tickets!

Cast & Creative Team Set for PASSING STRANGE at Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre has announced the cast and creative team for the musical Passing Strange, with music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald and book & lyrics by Stew.

ASSASSINS Walking Tour & More Added to SO MANY POSSIBILITIES: A SEASON OF SONDHEIM Events at Signature

Signature Theatre is continuing its season-long tribute to Signature’s signature, Stephen Sondheim, with three new events.

Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jessie Mueller & More to Honor Chita Rivera at Signature Theatre Gala

On April 3, 2023, Virginia’s Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre will honor the theatrical icon Chita Rivera with the company’s twelfth Stephen Sondheim Award. See performers and more!

Cast & Creative Team Announced for PACIFIC OVERTURES at Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre has announced the cast and creative team for the musical Pacific Overtures with music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by John Weidman.


Eric Schaeffer has been nominated for several awards throughout his career. Some of the notable nominations include Outstanding Director of a Musical at the Helen Hayes Awards for "Beaches," Outstanding Director, Resident Musical at the Helen Hayes Awards for "Hello, Dolly!," and Outstanding Director of a Musical at the Drama Desk Awards for "Follies." He has also received nominations for his work on shows like "Hairspray," "Chess," "Les Misérables," "Kiss of the Spider Woman," "Meet John Doe," "The Witches of Eastwick," "Pacific Overtures," "Allegro," "110 in the Shade," "Sunday in the Park with George," "The Gospel According to Fishman," "Putting It Together," "The Rhythm Club," "Sweeney Todd," "The Fix," "Passion," "The Rink," "Cabaret," "Into the Woods," "Wings," "Unidentified Human Remains and the Nature of Love," "Assassins," and "Sweeney Todd."

Eric Schaeffer has won several awards for his outstanding directing work in Broadway shows. He has received the Outstanding Director, Resident Musical award from the Helen Hayes Awards for various productions. These include Les Misérables, Meet John Doe, Allegro, Passion, Assassins, and Sweeney Todd. In addition, he has also been honored with the Outstanding Director, Resident Production award for Sweeney Todd. Eric Schaeffer's talent and contribution to the Broadway industry have been recognized through these prestigious accolades.

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