Signature Theatre Announces ART, SUNSET BOULEVARD, & More in '10-'11 Season

Eric Schaeffer, Artistic Director of the Tony Award®-winning Signature Theatre, today announced the company's 2010-2011 season of four musicals and three plays, with the innovative company producing three world premieres and one regional premiere.

Schaeffer stated, "Signature's new season is full of music and mayhem! With three exciting world premieres, the Washington premiere of the brilliant musical Sunset Boulevard, and the first major regional production of Chess, Signature continues to bring Washington audiences theatrical experiences that can't be found anywhere else." Managing Director Maggie Boland added, "Building on the success of Signature's 20th Anniversary season and with our audience at an all-time high, we are thrilled to offer an outstanding variety of shows and to continue to be Washington's destination for the best musicals and funniest comedies in town."

Signature's four musicals in the 2010-2011 season are headlined by Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony Award-winning musical Sunset Boulevard about the fading silent screen star Nora Desmond, performed December 7, 2010 through February 13, 2011. Eric Schaeffer directs the regional premiere featuring Florence Lacey, star of Broadway's Evita and Signature's Follies. Signature will also produce the region's first major production of Chess (Aug. 10 - Sept. 26, 2010), the cult musical of Cold War competition in love and chess by Tim Rice, the lyricist of Evita and The Lion King, and Mamma Mia! composers Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. Signature continues its innovative American Musical Voices Project with its third world premiere: Wheatley's Folly (March 15 - April 10, 2011), Joseph Thalken's manic backstage take on the 1866 creation of the first musical comedy. The season ends with Signature's "signature," Sondheim - a brand new production of the great revue Side by Side by Sondheim (April 26 - June 12, 2011). All four musicals will take place in Signature's 276-seat MAX Theatre.

On the dramatic comedy front, the company will produce two world premieres and a Tony Award-winning comedy in the 2010-2011 season. Internationally acclaimed playwright Ken Ludwig, creator of Crazy for You and Lend Me a Tenor, will premiere his latest romp A Fox on the Fairway (Oct. 12 - Nov. 14, 2010) in The MAX, about the antics of the golf-crazed denizens of two competing country clubs, directed by John Rando, the Tony-winning director of Broadway's Urinetown. In the 110-seat ARK Theatre, New York-based director, playwright, and Signature Artistic Associate Joe Calarco will introduce his new comedy of the culture wars Walter Cronkite Is Dead. (Oct. 26 - Dec. 19, 2010). The 1998 Tony Award-winning comedy Art (March 29 - May 22, 2011), the international hit play by Yasmina Reza who also wrote the 2009 Tony winner God of Carnage, will also be performed in the intimacy of The ARK.

One of the most popular cabaret venues in the Washington area, Signature also has five outstanding cabaret weeks planned, from Julia Nixon and Katie Thompson (the red-headed Vashti in last year's Giant) to the Lost Songs of Broadway, Broadway Duets, and the annual Holiday Cabaret.

Subscription packages are now on sale by calling Signature's Box Office at (703) 820-9771. Single tickets will go on sale in July, with the exception of Sunset Boulevard which will not go on sale until fall 2010.

Signature Theatre'S 2010-2011 SEASON

SUNSET BOULEVARD, The Washington Premiere of the Legendary,Tony Award-winning Hollywood Musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Book and Lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Based on the Billy Wilder film Sunset Boulevard
Directed by Eric Schaeffer
Starring Florence Lacey
December 7, 2010 - February 13, 2011

"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up" are the infamous words from a legendary character - silent film star Norma Desmond. And this December, this tragic figure will be singing the glorious songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber in Signature's production of Sunset Boulevard. Starring Florence Lacey (star of Broadway's Evita and Signature's Follies) as the faded screen star, Sunset Boulevard is a noir musical and one of the greatest Hollywood tales ever told. With such stunning songs as "With One Look," "As If We Never Said Goodbye" and "Perfect Year," Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard is a lush romantic tragedy.

WHEATLEY'S FOLLY, American Musical Voices Project: Part Three
World Premiere
Book by Michael Slade
Music by Joseph Thalken
Lyrics by Mark Campbell
Directed by Eric Schaeffer
March 15 - April 10, 2011

Ever wonder how the first musical was created? Well, if Wheatley's Folly is to be believed, the process was fraught with confusion, disorder, and a whole lot of humor. Wheatley's Folly, a valentine to musical comedy, is a classic backstage comedy about the creation of the first American musical. In 1866, producer William Wheatley finds his play a disaster, the actors in revolt, the costumes and scenery destroyed, and his production in shambles. When a fire at a theater next door leaves a French ballet troupe stranded without funds in New York City, Wheatley decides to turn sour apples into apple sauce, adds a touch of music and dance - et voila, the American musical is born.

ART, Winner of the 1998 Tony Award
By Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
March 29 - May 22, 2011

A simple white canvas. A 200,000 franc pricetag. The real cost? Decades-long friendships. Enter the world of Yasmina Reza's Art, where Serge's purchase of an expensive, abstract painting raises questions about the nature of art and friendship. Set in Paris, the story revolves around three friends who find their previously solid friendship on shaky ground when Serge invests in a new painting. The purchase reveals unsettling secret opinions and conflicting world-views. As their arguments shift from the theoretical to the personal, this Tony Award-winning comedy examines the pressures friends place on each other - and how different values can transform relationships.

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Additional Music by Leonard Bernstein, Mary Rodgers, Richard Rodgers, and Jule Styne
April 26 - June 12, 2011

Stephen Sondheim has been the leading composer of musical theater for the past fifty years. His work is timeless. From the streets of ancient Rome, through 19th century Japan and turn-of-the-century Sweden, to the high-rise apartments of 1970 Manhattan, his songs represent a definitive time and place, and yet move beyond their particular settings to speak to us all. Now, with this award-winning revue of his earlier work, Signature presents some of the most lush, unforgettable songs from this musical theater master whose work has so influenced Signature's history. Side by Side by Sondheim includes songs from Anyone Can Whistle, Company, Do I Hear A Waltz?, Evening Primrose, Follies, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Gypsy, A Little Night Music, The Mad Show, Pacific Overtures, The Seven Percent Solution, and West Side Story.

An extension of Signature's commitment to musical theater and presented in true Signature style with a mix of traditional and cabaret-table seating, plus drinks and light fare from Ali's Bar, Signature's cabaret series evokes a lively night-club atmosphere.

The Lost Songs of Broadway, 1950-1960: September 14 - 18, 2010
The 1950s were Broadway's Golden Age - Gypsy, The Music Man, Guys and Dolls, The King and I, West Side Story, The Pajama Game, and My Fair Lady. But what about the songs that got away? Signature performers know their way around a lyric, and they'll showcase some of the best songs of the 1950s that have sadly been lost from the Broadway songbook.

Signature's Annual Holiday Cabaret: December 20 - 23, 2010
A holiday tradition, Signature presents its fourth annual holiday cabaret. Signature's December Divas and the Swingin' Santas join forces on stage to ring in the holiday season. No holiday is complete without this melodic dose of holiday cheer!

Julia Nixon: January 11 - 15, 2011
Helen Hayes Award-winner Julia Nixon is back at Signature in a return engagement that again showcases her soulful vocal instrument. In the vein of Sarah Vaughan, this powerhouse performer mixes jazz standards in with her own R&B compositions in an unforgettable act.

Katie Thompson: February 22 - 26, 2011
Red-headed Katie Thompson blew audiences away with her performance of Vashti's torch songs in 2009's Giant. Now she's back at Signature with her intimate cabaret show - mixing blues, standards, and some of her own songs with her singular smoky voice.

Broadway Duets: June 7 - 11, 2011
Solos are beautiful, but what's a love song without a partner to share it with? Some of Signature's favorite singers will unite for an evening of the greatest duets ever written for the Broadway stage - including classic songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sondheim, Lloyd Webber, and Lerner and Loewe. Performers to be announced.

Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Signature Theatre is a non-profit professional theater company dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature has presented 26 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces. In addition to the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been a home to such theater luminaries as John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company's signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Since its founding in 1989, Signature has been nominated for 276 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the professional theater and has been honored with 69 Helen Hayes Awards, including Outstanding Musical in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2009, and Outstanding Play in 1999.

Signature is partially supported by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts and by a gift from Arlington County through the Arlington Commission for the Arts and the Cultural Affairs Division of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources.

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