Off-Broadway's Signature Theatre has revealed its upcoming 2019–2020 season, featuring works both new and old from its current roster of resident playwrights.
The programming will feature two world-premiere plays from Dominique Morisseau and Katori Hall, the New York premiere of Lauren Yee’s play-with-music Cambodian Rock Band, a new production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Young Man from Atlanta by Horton Foote, and Anna Deavere Smith's Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992.
Kicking off the season in the fall will be Smith's landmark play Fires in the Mirror, directed by Saheem Ali (Fireflies). Following the deaths of an African-American boy and a young Orthodox Jewish scholar in Crown Heights during the summer of 1991, playwright, performer, and scholar Smith set about interviewing members of both the Black and Jewish communities to create the Drama Desk Award-winning piece of documentary theatre. Performances will run October 22–November 24.
In spring 2020, Signature will present Smith's Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, her transformative study of the 1992 L.A. riots following the police officers’ acquittal in Rodney King’s police brutality case. Taibi Magar (The Great Leap) will direct; performances will run April 28–May 31, 2020.
While Smith previously performed both Twilight and Fires in the Mirror, she will not perform in the Signature productions.
“I’m delighted to be bringing Anna Deavere Smith to Signature next season. Anna revolutionized the theatrical form with her groundbreaking documentary work, and it will be fascinating to see how these two seminal plays resonate today," says Artistic Director Paige Evans.
Beginning in February, Signature will present the world premiere of Hall's comedy The Hot Wing King, directed by Steve H. Broadnax III. Set in Memphis, Tennessee, in the lead up to the annual Hot Wang Festival, things start to heat up for Cordell and his culinary clique, The New Wing Order, in the bid to win the festival's crispy crown. Performances will run February 11–March 15.
Also in February will be the New York premiere of Yee's Cambodian Rock Band, directed by Chay Yew. The play tells the story of a Khmer Rouge survivor returning to Cambodia for the first time in 30 years as his daughter prepares to help prosecute one of Cambodia's most infamous war criminals. Backed by a live band playing contemporary Dengue Fever hits and classic Cambodian songs, Yee's play toggles back and forth in time, as father and daughter face the music of the past. Performances will run February 3–March 8.
Beginning in May will be Morisseau's Confederates, a new play which leaps through time to trace the identities of two Black American women—a savvy slave turned Union spy, and a brilliant professor in a modern-day private university. Kamilah Forbes will direct the world premiere; performances will run May 12–June 14.
Completing the season will be the fall revival of The Young Man from Atlanta, directed by Michael Wilson. The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, set in a rapidly modernizing 1950s Houston, tells the story of an aging couple still reeling from the death of their only child. Performances will run November 5–December 8.
“I’m also thrilled to welcome Lauren Yee as a Residency 5 playwright, and to welcome back Katori Hall and Dominique Morisseau for world premieres," says Evans. "The season will also include the first NYC revival of Horton Foote’s beautiful, moving play The Young Man from Atlanta. I can’t wait to share all of this exciting work with our audiences."