Arlington's Signature to Stage Whorehouse, Company, Dreamgirls, Crimes and a Co-Pro of Dolly! in 2012-13

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07 Mar 2012

Eric Schaeffer
Eric Schaeffer
Photo by Russ Hirshon

The Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, will stage The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Company, Dreamgirls and a new in-the round production of Joe Calarco's Shakespeare's R&J in the 2012-13 season.

Artistic director Eric Schaeffer announced the slate on March 7. The company will collaborate with Washington, DC's Ford's Theatre to produce Hello, Dolly!

Signature, perhaps best-known for producing the works of composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, is staging his marriage-minded musical Company for the first time in 20 years.

Also announced are Beth Henley's Pulitzer Prize-winning dark comedy Crimes of the Heart and the DC-area premiere of Christopher Shinn's Dying City. A cabaret series will be presented in the ARK space, and a new musical, Crossing, by Matt Conner and Grace Barnes, will be heard in concert.

Additional programming for the 110-seat ARK space will be announced. Signature will offer an open-house sneak preview of its season on Aug. 4.



Here's the Signature Theatre 2012-13 season at a glance:

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Book by Larry L. King and Peter Masterson
Music & lyrics by Carol Hall
Directed by Eric Schaeffer
Aug. 14-Oct. 7, 2012
The MAX

"It was the nicest little…whorehouse you ever saw. Signature Theatre launches its 2012/2013 season with this exciting new production of the Tony Award- winning hit musical comedy. Inspired by the real-life Chicken Ranch in La Grange, TX, Miss Mona's brothel and her lovely ladies come to life on the Signature stage. When crusading television watchdog Melvin P. Thorpe ogles the whorehouse as his next moral target, Miss Mona, Her bevy of working girls, and Sherriff Ed Earl Dodd must buck the muckraker to keep the ranch open. A gritty satire about moral hypocrisy and media sensationalism, this musical makes for the perfect election-year event!" A new musical number, "A Friend to Me," written for the tour, will be part of the show.

Dying City
Written by Christopher Shinn
Directed by Matthew Gardiner
Oct. 2-Nov. 25
The ARK

"A transfixing, intimate play from the author of Four and Where Do We Live. One year after his identical twin brother Craig's suspicious death in Iraq, Peter shows up unannounced at his sister-in-law Kelly's apartment. Having not spoken since the funeral, Peter and Kelly face off in a passive-aggressive battle rooted in half-truths and betrayal. Their emotionally brutal skirmish intersperses with flashbacks of Craig's final night home before deployment. "

Dreamgirls
Book and lyrics by Tom Eyen
Music by Henry Krieger
Original Broadway production directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett
Orchestrations by Harold Wheeler
Directed by Matthew Gardiner
Nov. 13, 2012–Jan. 6, 2013
The MAX

"First a smash on Broadway, then an Oscar Award-winning motion picture, Dreamgirls captures the spirit and hope of Motown when a struggling girl group from Chicago makes it big. In a business controlled by men, the female trio fights for recognition, fellowship, and love as superstardom challenges their musical and cultural identity. A rich, glowing spectacle about the price of show-biz success, Dreamgirls sizzles with sparkling dance and R&B soul."

Shakespeare's R&J
Adapted and Directed by Joe Calarco

Feb. 5-March 3, 2013
The MAX

"Four young men. One scarf. Shakespeare's transcendent saga of forbidden love is reimagined in a brave and bold in-the-round setting. A repressive, all-male Catholic boarding school bans Romeo and Juliet in favor of Latin conjugations and the Ten Commandments. Four students unearth a secret copy and steal into the night to recite the prohibited tale of adolescent passion. While it begins as a lark, the story gradually draws the boys into a discovery of universal truth that parallels their own coming-of-age. A riveting drama within a drama, Shakespeare's R&J transcends the boundaries between play and player."

Hello, Dolly!
A co-production with Ford's Theatre
Book by Michael Stewart
Music & lyrics by Jerry Herman
Based on the Play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder
Directed by Eric Schaeffer
March 15-May 18, 2013
Ford's Theatre

"One of the greatest musicals ever written, Hello, Dolly! brings to life the tale of Dolly Levi and celebrates the search for love. Signature Theatre joins forces with Ford’s Theatre to reinterpret this glorious classic tale. Playing matchmaker for herself this time, Dolly woos the impervious Mr. Horace Vandergelder, while also finding mates for two bumbling shopkeepers and persuading Horace to approve his niece's marriage — all in a day's work!"

Crimes of the Heart
Written by Beth Henley
Directed by Aaron Posner
April 2-April 28, 2013
The MAX

"Acclaimed director Aaron Posner (Theater J's The Chosen, Folger Theatre's Arcadia and Orestes: A Tragic Romp) makes his Signature Theatre debut with a new interpretation of Beth Henley's dark comic-tragedy. The three eccentric Magrath sisters, reunite at their Old Granddaddy's home in Mississippi when Babe, the youngest, shoots her husband because she 'didn’t like his looks.' The quintessential dysfunctional family, the sisters must now deal with past relationships and past resentments, while also trying to come to terms with the consequences of their crimes from their heart."

Company
Book by George Furth
Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Eric Schaeffer
May 21-June 30, 2013
The MAX

"Fresh from directing the critically acclaimed production of Sondheim's Follies on Broadway, Eric Schaeffer brings a new production of Company to the Signature stage. On his 35th birthday, Bobby, a commitment-phobic bachelor, searches for the answers to love and life in New York City. While enjoying the company of some lovely ladies, he observes both the joys and pitfalls of marriage from his five quirky couple friends. But is he ready? Only Bobby can find the answer in this witty and piercing examination of matrimony. For how else can you treat marriage, but as a comedy?"

Crossing (in Concert)
Book by Grace Barnes
Music & lyrics by Matt Connor
October 19 & 20
The MAX

"Crossing explores the interwoven stories of eight people from different decades of the past century who come together at a train station. Some are waiting for the train, others are waiting for visitors, a few are just…waiting. All of them are searching — for hopes and dreams, for new beginnings, for answers. As their stories are brought to musical life in the train station, the characters discover that, while every life is different, the journey is always the same. With music ranging from gospel to pop to rock, Crossing unites the musical eras through the souls who live them."

In addition to Holiday Follies, Signature's annual celebration featuring holiday favorites, the 2012-13 Cabaret line-up in the intimate 110-seat ARK includes:

Music in the Movies II
Sept. 5-8

"Signature sings Hollywood! After the success of last season's Music in the Movies cabaret, we are back with Part II, singing a new collection of silver screen melodies. Expect songs from the classic Fred and Ginger dance-romps to James Bond to more contemporary films."

Euan Morton
Jan. 9-12, 2013

"Euan Morton, Tony Award nominee and star of Signature's Chess, is back with a new solo cabaret act. Featuring reinterpreted Broadway standards, songs from his most recent album and Euan’s signature humor, you won’t soon forget this evening!"

Nova Y. Payton
March 13-16, 2013

"After bringing audiences to their feet as Motormouth Maybelle in Signature's smash hit Hairspray, Ms. Payton returns to the Signature stage! Nova sings a songbook that features everything from R&B soul to Broadway."

Lost Songs of Broadway: 1970s
May 29-June 1, 2013
"The perfect companion to Signature's production of Company. Here, audiences will be treated to some songs from 1970s Broadway musicals that didn't fare quite so well. Revisit some incredible gems that we've dug out of the trunk while savoring the disco groove."

For subscription information, visit www.signature-theatre.org.