VA's Signature Will Celebrate Kander & Ebb With Three Productions in 2007-08

News   VA's Signature Will Celebrate Kander & Ebb With Three Productions in 2007-08 Signature Theatre's previously announced DC-area premiere of John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally's The Visit this fall will be in good company — among three Kander & Ebb shows.

Chita Rivera in the 2001 Goodman Theatre production of The Visit, which will play the Signature in the fall.
Chita Rivera in the 2001 Goodman Theatre production of The Visit, which will play the Signature in the fall. Photo by Eric Y. Exit

A spokesperson for Signature Theatre confirmed that a Kander & Ebb festival will play the resident theatre's complex in Arlington, VA, in 2007-08.

The Visit, starring Chita Rivera, directed by Frank Galati and choreographed by Ann Reinking, will be presented at Signature's MAX venue starting Sept. 4. Also in the MAX, expect a revival of McNally, Kander and Ebb's Kiss of the Spider Woman. In the smaller ARK theatre, Kander & Ebb's 1968 musical, The Happy Time, a coming-of-age family tale about a French Canadian family, will get a revival. N. Richard Nash penned the libretto, based on the Samuel Taylor play and book by Robert Fontaine. Robert Goulet won a Best Actor Tony Award for playing a jaded photographer "walking among my yesterdays."

No dates for Kiss and Happy Time have been made public; additional events such as cabaret performances will be announced for this celebration of composer John Kander and his late collaborator Fred Ebb.

Kander and Ebb are currently represented on Broadway with the murder mystery musical comedy Curtains.

Eric Schaeffer is artistic director of Signature Theatre. Visit www.sig-online.org. *

Galati, Reinking and Rivera helped create a 2001 Goodman Theatre staging of The Visit in Chicago.

The new Signature production will be an independent venture of the not-for-profit Signature.

Given the Tony Award winning names attached, this would seem to be another reach toward a wider life for the darkly comic project about the world's wealthiest woman (played at the Goodman by Chita Rivera, who starred opposite John McMartin) promising the moon to the residents of her depressed hometown. In order to secure her riches, they must murder the lover who scorned her years ago.

The Visit will open Signature's 2007-08 season Sept. 4-Oct. 14.

Lyricist Fred Ebb died in 2004, but several of his late-career projects with composer Kander are still circulating: Curtains is on Broadway, and All About Us (their take on Thorntown Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth( will play Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut April 10-28. It premiered at DC's Signature several years ago as Over and Over. Joseph Stein is the show's librettist.

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