By Kenneth Jones
27 Dec 2006
Highlighted events include concerts by Tony Award nominees Emily Skinner and Euan Morton, and a preview performance of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods (the building's inaugural production).
All events are free and open to the community. A full schedule of Open House events and times is available at www.signature-theatre.org.
Signature's new building is located in Shirlington Village at 2800 S. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA. Free parking is available in the recently opened public garage adjacent to Signature's new location.
Signature's artistic director is Eric Schaeffer.
Signature is a non-profit professional theatre dedicated to producing contemporary plays and musicals, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. To date, Signature has presented 21 world premiere productions and six world premiere commissions. The works of Stephen Sondheim, however, remain Signature's signature. Signature is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with an intimate playing space, and using live orchestras with unamplified performers. Now in its 17th season under artistic director Eric Schaeffer, Signature has been nominated for 209 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the professional theatre (18 nominations in 2006) and has been honored with 50 Helen Hayes Awards, including Outstanding Musical in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2006, and Outstanding Play in 1999.
Signature was also recognized by the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation for "its artistic vision and commitment to the support and development of musical theatre artists."
Signature was recently awarded a $1 million grant from The Shen Family Foundation for the creation of "The American Musical Voices Project," a two-pronged program consisting of Musical Theatre Composer Grants and Musical Theatre Leadership Awards. The Composer Grants support the commissioning and presentation of three emerging composers' new musicals over the course of the next four theatre seasons. Commissions were awarded to Ricky Ian Gordon, Michael John LaChiusa, and Joseph Thalken. The Leadership Awards, presented on May 1, 2006, recognized Bruce Coughlin, Adam Guettel, Audra McDonald, and Ted Sperling for their extraordinary influence on and contribution to the advancement of new musical theatre.
In November 2006, Signature moved into its new $12.5 million two-theatre complex in Shirlington Village.