The musical, formerly called Wheatley's Folly, is the third production presented as part of Signature's American Musical Voices Project, the largest commissioning program for new musicals in the country. The program spawned Michael John LaChiusa's Giant in 2009 and Ricky Ian Gordon's Sycamore Trees in 2010.
Performances will play March 17-April 10 at Signature's MAX Theatre in Arlington, VA. The creative team was announced Jan. 26. Casting will be announced.
The book for And the Curtain Rises is by Michael Slade (And a Child Shall Lead, ten shows by Theatreworks/USA). Lyrics are by Mark Campbell (Songs From an Unmade Bed).
Rounding out the creative team are music director/conductor Boko Suzuki, choreographer Josh Walden, set designer Beowulf Boritt, costume designer Kathleen Geldard, lighting designer Colin K. Bills and sound designer Matt Rowe.
Inspired by true events, And the Curtain Rises, according to Signature, "tells the outrageous and funny story of how the first American musical was born. Set in 1866, this musical comedy follows novice producer William Wheatley as he finds his production in shambles: a dreadful script, an uncompromising author, a cast on the verge of revolt, and scenery and costumes destroyed — further complicated, when a French ballet troupe is forced to seek refuge in their theatre after a fire erupts next door. Rather than throw in the towel and count his losses, Wheatley decides to take control and turn lemons into lemonade." Composer Joseph Thalken (Was, Harold & Maude) said in a statement, "We like to think of this show as a love letter to the crazy business of musical theater. I'm a big history buff, and have long been intrigued by the legend of how the musical was born. It fascinates me how such a major industry was formed essentially by accident. It was serendipity."
Tickets range from $59-$85 and are available by calling Ticketmaster at (703) 573-SEAT (7328) or visiting www.signature-theatre.org.