Photo Coverage: Signature Theatre's 'See What I Wanna See'

Signature Theatre is currently presenting the Washington area premiere of the innovative musical See What I Wanna See, a fascinating exploration of three stories of lust, greed, murder, faith, and redemption. Written by Michael John LaChiusa, considered one of today's most intelligent and innovative musical theater composers, See What I Wanna See has been hailed for its cool, jazz-infused score and smart book and called "a little powerhouse of a show whose sheer intensity will knock you flat - and make you think" (The Wall Street Journal).'s camera caught up with the talented cast after a recent performance!

The show was named one of the Best Musicals of 2005 by New York Magazine and nominated for nine Drama Desk Awards, including Best Musical. See What I Wanna See runs in Signature's intimate 110-seat ARK Theatre through May 31th. Signature is also producing the world premiere of LaChiusa's Giant in the MAX Theatre through May 31th as well.

Based on short works by the Japanese writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa, the three part See What I Wanna See unfolds like a Japanese screen painting. The central story is "R Shomon" - also the inspiration for the classic film Rashomon - in which LaChiusa investigates a 1951 New York crime of passion and the witnesses' contradicting versions of the event. In "Kesa and Morito" set in medieval Japan, two lovers sing of the ecstasy and torment of their affair and their individual determinations that it must end that night. The third section, "Gloryday," set in present day New York, introduces a priest during a crisis of faith after a terrible tragedy strikes the city. In his disillusionment and anger, he plays a practical joke which ultimately brings other people to faith. See What I Wanna See asks the question, "what is truth?" A kaleidoscope of answers keeps appearing.

Directed by Helen Hayes Award-winner Matthew Gardiner, The Cast includes Rachel Zampelli as Kesa, The Wife, and An Actress; Tom Zemon as Morito, The Husband, and A CPA; Matt Pearson as The Thief and A Reporter; Bobby Smith as The Janitor and A Priest; and Channez McQuay as The Medium and Aunt Monica. Jon Kalbfleisch is musical director. Set design is by Adam Koch, costume design is by Kathleen Geldard, and lighting design is by Mark Lanks.

Tickets for See What I Wanna See, ranging in price from $49 - $77, are available by calling Ticketmaster at (703) 573-SEAT (7328 ) or visiting The production includes mature themes and explicit sexual content and is not recommended for children. Show times are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 pm, Thursday and Friday at 8:00 pm, Saturday at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sunday at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. 

Photos by Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

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