Artistic director Eric Schaeffer announced March 16 that he would direct the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa's The Highest Yellow, long in development as a commission by the troupe, and the world premiere of Paris Barclay's musical, One Red Flower, using Vietnam soldiers' letters home as the heart of the musical drama.
Norman Allen's world premiere comedy, Fallen From Proust, will be seen in 2004-05, as will Stephen Sondheim's Pacific Overtures (Signature's 13th Sondheim presentation) and the DC premiere of Jon Robin Baitz's Ten Unknowns.
One Red Flower is adapted from "Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam," edited by Bernard Edelman. According to the season announcement, "This powerful musical from Emmy winner Paris Barclay is an intimate, searing look at wartime Vietnam through the eyes of the men who fought and died there. Set in 1969, One Red Flower is inspired by a published collection of actual letters to home written by soldiers serving in the Vietnam War. Set to a score based in the rock-n-roll rhythms of the period, the story compels, informs and entertains with a glimpse into the often hellish, sometimes light-hearted experiences of our American fighting soldiers. This timely work reminds us once again how the present and the future are often a reflection of the past." It plays Aug. 17-Oct. 3.
LaChiusa's The Highest Yellow has a book by John Strand. Playing Oct. 26-Dec. 12, "Signature presents this highly anticipated premiere, an exciting collaboration between five-time Tony-nominated composer-lyricist LaChiusa (First Lady Suite, The Wild Party, Marie Christine) and multiple Helen Hayes Award-winners Strand (Lovers & Executioners, The Diaries) and Schaeffer," according to the announcement. "In December 1888, a young French intern in Arles admitted a patient suffering from delirium and a self-inflicted knife wound. Dr. Felix Rey was convinced he could cure this unusual patient, a Dutch painter named Vincent van Gogh, of his 'nervous condition.' Set to an intensely beautiful score, this is the story of a provincial doctor's discovery of art and prostitution, and his unexpected encounter with madness versus genius, love versus obsession, and what we ultimately give up in order to hold on to what we find most precious."
Allen's Fallen From Proust is from "the author who brought us the poetic majesty of Nijinsky's Last Dance, the religious conundrums of In the Garden and the literate beauty of Melville Slept Here." In this "comic tour-de force...modern day San Francisco is the setting for [a] roundelay of sexual shenanigans as three hip thirty somethings manipulate an ever-changing triangle of friendship, love and Clumber Spaniels. All bets are off in a world where Republican affiliations are anathema, homosexuality is passé and an ancient volume of Proust holds the key to all mysteries," Jan. 11-Feb. 20, 2005. Pacific Overtures, the musical by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman about the Westernization of Japan, plays March 15-May 1, 2005, under Schaeffer's direction.
Ten Unknowns, Baitz's Off-Broadway play about a reclusive painter, plays June 7-July 17, 2005.
For information or to receive a brochure, please call (703) 820-9771 or visit www.signature-theatre.org.