The Tony Award-winning resident theatre, will give world-premiere voice to one play, by Paul Downs Colaizzo, plus four musicals — by Hunter Foster and Matt Conner; Joe Meno and Adam Gwon; John Dempsey and Dana Rowe; and Ted Shen.
Dempsey and Rowe are the authors of the musicals The Fix and The Witches of Eastwick. Hunter Foster is the Broadway known for writing a Bonnie & Clyde musical. Gwon is a Fred Ebb Award-winning songwriter. Shen, a philanthropist-composer-lyricist-librettist with a passion for new musical theatre, runs the The Shen Family Foundation, which has supported Signature's American Musical Voices Project (and many other musical theatre projects around the country). He has written an autobiographical musical two-hander called A Second Chance, to be presented as a special event in the new season, in Signature's intimate Ark.
The first two new musicals of the season — Foster and Conner's The Hollow and Gwon and Meno's The Boy Detective Fails — will be part of the first American Musical Voices Project Repertory Series (AMVP Rep). AMVP shows (by the likes of Michael John LaChiusa, Joseph Thalken and Ricky Ian Gordon) have appeared singly in the past.
The 22nd season also includes a new production of the musical Hairspray (directed by Schaeffer); a fall 2011 concert revival of Saturday Night, Stephen Sondheim's early-career musical (a special event in the Max); and the Washington, DC-area premiere of the musical Xanadu (directed and choreographed by Matthew Gardiner).
Yasmina Reza's play God of Carnage is also on the slate (in the Ark) and the DC-area premiere Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South, written and performed by E. Patrick Johnson, will appear as a special event (also in the Ark). Here are the world premieres of the 2011-12 Signature season:
AMVP In Rep
Book by Hunter Foster
Music & Lyrics by Matt Conner
Based on "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" by Washington Irving
Directed by Eric Schaeffer
"From the composer of Nevermore and Partial Eclipse, The Hollow is a chilling musical reinterpretation of the classic thriller 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.' In a devout 18th-century village, a mysterious stranger spreading radically new ideas challenges the traditional order. However, when rumors spread of a headless horseman murdering friends and neighbors, the townsfolk blame the outsider for this demonic curse."
AMVP in Rep
The Boy Detective Fails
Book by Joe Meno
Music & Lyrics by Adam Gwon
Based on novel "The Boy Detective Fails" by Joe Meno
Directed by Joe Calarco
"The Boy Detective Fails, based on Joe Meno's acclaimed novel, tells the story of Billy Argo, boy detective. In the twilight of a childhood full of wonder, a broken-hearted Billy faces a mystery he can't comprehend — the shocking death of his young sister and crime-solving partner, Caroline. Ten years later, a 30-year-old Billy returns to his quiet New Jersey town after an extended stay at St. Vitus' Hospital for the Mentally Ill. Although determined to solve the mystery of Caroline's death and right old wrongs, he instead discovers a world full of unimaginable strangeness, beauty and love."
A New Drama
By Paul Downs Colaizzo
Directed by Matthew Gardiner
"From one of the country's most promising new voices comes this contemporary drama that pushes the edges and embraces the harsh reality of today's youth. At an elite university, when the party of the year results in the regret of a lifetime, one person will stop at nothing to salvage her suddenly evaporating future. In this quick-witted and gripping comic tragedy about Generation Me, it's every man for himself."
Book & Lyrics by John Dempsey
Music by Dana Rowe
Directed by Eric Schaeffer
"A world-premiere rock musical from the award-winning creators of The Fix and The Witches of Eastwick. In a desolate potato field north of Omsk, a comically fourth-rate Russian theatre troupe sets up its tents and wows the local farmers with rock-fueled adaptations of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Tonight, however, the company will toss classic literature aside to showcase the life story of their impresario and star, the seemingly immortal Brother Russia — more commonly known as Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin. Yes, that Rasputin: the hypnotic mystic who seduced and ruled the Tsar and Tsarina in the waning days of Imperial Russia."
A Second Chance
Book, Music & Lyrics by Ted Shen
Directed by Jonathan Butterell
"From the director of Signature's Giant comes this intimate new musical about unexpectedly finding love when you are least looking for it. Two savvy New Yorkers are seated next each other at a dinner party — he is mourning the recent loss of his wife; she is newly divorced. They share a passion for art. Neither wants nor feels that they deserve to find love — and yet they are irresistibly drawn to the other. This lyrical duet showcases their journey toward happiness against all odds."
Signature Theatre will also continue its special Cabaret Series 2011-12, with performers to be announced. Part of the cabaret season will be 13 performances of Holiday Follies, Signature's annual holiday celebration of holiday favorites.
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