The Off-Broadway production will be directed by Michael Greif (Rent). Part One: Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika will be presented in repertory. Dates and casting will be announced. Signature's Tony Kushner season will also include two more works to be announced.
(Greif directed Kushner's new play, The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, earlier this year at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. It is aiming for Broadway.)
The new production of Angels in America is made possible by a $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as part of a $1.25 million grant to Signature Theatre Company. All tickets will be $20.
"I'm very excited about my Signature season and of course I'm very honored to have been chosen," Tony Kushner stated. "I've spent some of my best nights watching the work Jim Houghton and Signature Theatre Company has produced. It seemed to [Signature artistic director] Jim [Houghton] and me that this is a good moment to bring Angels back to New York, and I'm delighted that Michael Greif has agreed to direct it. Michael and I have worked together and known each other for most of our careers. He's a serious, generous, incredibly smart and superbly talented artist; I love his passionate commitment to actors, to plays, to the theatre. I think the Signature's the perfect space for the demands of Angels, which is both epic and intimate. I can't wait to see how it all turns out!"
Angels in America was one of the most critically acclaimed and heralded plays of the 1990s and established Tony Kushner as a major new voice in world theatre. The plays were developed in productions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and London, before opening on Broadway in 1993. Both parts won Tony Awards in 1993 and 1994 for Best Play, and Millennium Approaches won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Kushner adapted the plays for an HBO mini-series, directed by Mike Nichols, which premiered in 2003 and won Golden Globe and Emmy Awards for Best Miniseries. Angels in America, according to Signature, "is set in late 1985 and early 1986, as the first wave of the AIDS epidemic in America is escalating and Ronald Reagan has been elected to a second term in the White House. The play's two parts…bring together a young gay man with AIDS and his frightened, unfaithful lover; a closeted Mormon lawyer and his valium-addicted wife; the infamous New York lawyer Roy Cohn; an African-American male nurse; a Mormon housewife from Utah; and a steel-winged, prophecy-bearing angel; as well as the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg, an ancient rabbi, the world’s oldest living Bolshevik and a Reagan administration functionary, among many others — all played by a company of eight actors. The lives of these disparate characters intersect, intertwine, collide and are blown apart during a time of heartbreak, reaction and transformation. Ranging from earth to heaven, from the political to the intimate to the visionary and supernatural, Angels in America is an epic exploration of love, justice, identity and theology, of the difficulty, terror and necessity of change."
Kushner's plays also include A Bright Room Called Day; Slavs!; Homebody/Kabul; adaptations of Corneille's The Illusion, S.Y. Ansky's The Dybbuk and Brecht's The Good Person of Sezuan. Recent books include "Brundibar" (Hyperion Books), a book for children with illustrations by Maurice Sendak, and "Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict" (Grove Atlantic), co-edited with Alisa Solomon. Kushner's awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, two Tony Awards for Best Play, two Obie Awards for Best Play, an Arts Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Mid-Career Playwright, a Spirit of Justice Award from the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders and a Cultural Achievement Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.
Through The Signature Ticket Initiative, which seeks to make great theatre accessible to the broadest possible audience, all regularly priced single tickets ($65) during the initial announced run are underwritten and will be available for $20.
The Signature Ticket Initiative continues through Signature's 20th anniversary season (2010-2011).
The Signature Ticket Initiative is made possible by the lead sponsorship of Time Warner Inc. Generous support for The Signature Ticket Initiative is provided by Margot Adams, in memory of Mason Adams.
For more information visit www.SignatureTheatre.org.