The upcoming season at the Arlington. VA, venue will also feature the world premiere of two musicals, Cake Off and Girlstar; the DC premieres of Annie Baker’s 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner The Flick and Bathsheba Doran’s The Mystery of Love & Sex; the return of John Dempsey and Dana Rowe’s The Fix, the politically themed musical first seen at the Signature in 1998; and new stagings of West Side Story and La Cage aux Folles.
“Signature’s 26th season continues our commitment to presenting new works and reinventing great American musicals. We’re proud that this season also highlights daring new plays by female playwrights,” stated Signature Theatre artistic director Schaeffer. “I’m excited to work with so many talented artists in the coming year.”
Managing director Maggie Boland added, "This lineup showcases artists new to the Signature family alongside those who have been essential to the Theatre's success throughout our history, and offers Washington’s audiences the opportunity to experience an extraordinary range of experiences and voices. With our trademark mix of new and classic, invention and re-invention — it’s a thrill to announce a season with so much variety.”
Season details, according to the Signature, follow:
Aug. 11 – Sept. 20, 2015
When a popular presidential candidate dies in his mistress’s arms, his ambitious wife, Violet, immediately declares that if she can’t be the wife of the president, then she’ll be the mother of the president – and thrusts their lackluster son Cal into the spotlight in Dempsey and Rowe’s outrageous musical comedy The Fix. With the help of her strategic brother-in-law, Violet transforms her son into the perfect citizen and ideal politician. Together, they create one of the most dysfunctional, yet brutally entertaining, almost-first families.
With a rock-laced, eclectic score and scandalous lyrics, the team behind The Witches of Eastwick and Brother Russia skewers the American bureaucratic machine. It’s The Manchurian Candidate meets Caligula, with a voice uniquely its own; The Fix is a darkly brilliant, over-the-top, audaciously fun ride through the shenanigans of political elections.
Book & Lyrics by John Dempsey
Music by Dana P. Rowe
Directed by Eric Schaeffer
Sept. 29 – Nov. 22, 2015
A hilarious world premiere musical adaptation of Sheri Wilner’s riotous battle-of-the-baking-sexes play starring Sherri L. Edelen.
It’s the 48th Annual Twillsbury Bake-Off. The legendary jackpot: one million dollars for the best homemade sugary delight. After a chilly pre-heating, hardy contestants Paul and Rita don their aprons, strap on their oven mitts and square off. Armed with whisks, bowls, knives and eggs, the two engage in an increasingly ludicrous all-out brawl – and only one can remain standing when the timer dings.
Ferociously funny, there’s nothing sweet about this wild musical satire, presented as part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival.
Based on the original play by Sheri Wilner
Book by Sheri Wilner & Julia Jordan
Lyrics by Julia Jordan & Adam Gwon
Music by Adam Gwon
Directed by Joe Calarco
Oct. 13 – Nov. 15, 2015
Signature favorite Donna Migliaccio stars in this fantastical world premiere musical fairytale, brimming with magic, darkness and blinding ambition.
Legendary record producer Daniella Espere is searching for her next international sensation. She discovers it in her long-lost niece, Tina, who dreams of being a world-famous pop star. Despite warning signs that all may not be as it seems, the two eagerly forge a mother/daughter bond and Daniella transforms Tina’s image, voice and talent into star quality – but not by the usual means.
With an electrifying pop-laden score, Girlstar invites audiences of all ages to follow one girl’s breathtaking journey and asks, how far is too far to go to become a star?
Book & Lyrics by Anton Dudley
Music by Brian Feinstein
Directed by Eric Schaeffer
West Side Story
Dec. 8, 2015 – Jan. 24, 2016
Considered one of the greatest musicals of all time, West Side Story makes its triumphant Signature debut.
In the late 1950s two rival gangs struggle for control of their West Side New York City neighborhood. Amidst the chaos, star-crossed lovers find themselves wrenched between their worlds. Beautiful, passionate, with shades of violence and heartache, this innovative adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet still dazzles after more than fifty years.
Written by the dream creative team of Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story’s legendary jazz, Latin and classical-inspired score features the treasured songs “Something’s Coming,” “Tonight,” “I Feel Pretty” and “America.”
Book by Arthur Laurents
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Based on a conception of Jerome Robbins
Based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
Directed by Matthew Gardiner
The DC Premiere:
Feb. 9 – March 13, 2016
The third collaboration between Weidman and Sondheim (Assassins, Pacific Overtures), Road Show is a freewheeling musical travelogue of the optimism and opportunism of the early twentieth century through the eyes of two ambitious, eccentric, yet playfully charming brothers.
Based on the real-life Mizner siblings, Road Show follows the dreamer and the schemer’s quest for the ever elusive, shape-shifting American dream. From the Klondike gold rush to India, Hawaii, Guatemala, New York and finally the real-estate boon of Florida’s Boca Raton, the dazzling pace scours not only the map, but also forty years of boom-and-bust and brotherly love (or hate).
For Signature’s 26th Sondheim production, we welcome back director Gary Griffin (A Funny Thing…Forum) with his acclaimed Chicago Shakespeare Theater staging of Road Show.
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by John Weidman
Directed by Gary Griffin
The DC Premiere:
March 1 – April 17, 2016
Set in the popcorn-strewn, empty aisles of a crumbling Massachusetts movie theater, this 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner exposes the surprising tenderness and comedy in the everyday.
Spilled soda on the floor. Leftover food wrappers stashed in the seats. Three minimum wage employees perform the humdrum labor necessary to keep one of the last 35 millimeter projectors running. Through seemingly small conversations about movie actors, broom techniques and weekend plans, the characters divulge heartbreak, hopes and a compelling story all their own.
With her finely-tuned comic eye, Annie Baker (Circle Mirror Transformation, The Aliens) brings a rich humanity to three people who desperately strive to connect, help each other move on and accept their place in the world.
By Annie Baker
Directed by Joe Calarco
The DC Premiere:
The Mystery of Love & Sex
April 5 – May 8, 2016
From the writer of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Showtime’s Masters of Sex comes an unexpected story of evolving friendship, finding your own path and the value of family.
Complete opposites, Charlotte and Jonny have been best friends since they were children. Now, as college students on the eve of graduation, they toy around with taking their friendship romantic. Or not. Why decide? After all, neither is sure they are even attracted to the other (or to anyone of the opposite sex). Meanwhile, Charlotte’s parents, an unlikely couple themselves, push the kids for a definition even while their own relationship founders. Gradually, secrets and truths emerge as playing grown-up turns into actually growing up.
Funny, insightful, with an intense and complex core, Bathsheba Doran’s (Nest) newest play brilliantly examines intimacy, identity and, of course, the many mysteries of love and sex.
By Bathsheba Doran
La Cage aux Folles
May 31 – July 10, 2016
The beloved gender-bending musical comedy and winner of six Tony Awards® including Best Musical closes out the Signature season with Bobby Smith.
The twenty year relationship between Georges, a club-owner, and Albin, the head drag performer, faces a test when their son announces his engagement to the daughter of ultra-conservative political parents. To please their son, Georges and Albin agree to hide their lifestyle and play it straight for a dinner with the potential in-laws. However, Albin’s different definition of “normal” threatens to upend the entire supper with hilarious results.
With an iconic score by Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly; Mame) featuring “I Am What I Am” and “The Best of Times” and hilarious book by Harvey Fierstein (Newsies, Kinky Boots), La Cage Aux Folles is a fabulously fun musical about family, identity and loving who you are.
Music & Lyrics by Jerry Herman
Book by Harvey Fierstein
Based on the play La Cage aux Folles by Jean Poiret
Directed by Matthew Gardiner Season subscriptions are now on sale by calling Signature’s Box Office at (703) 820-9771 or by visiting www.signature-theatre.org. Single tickets for the entire season will go on sale early in July 2014.