D.C.'s Signature Will Split New Season Between Old Home and New, Offering Sondheim, Urinetown | Playbill

News D.C.'s Signature Will Split New Season Between Old Home and New, Offering Sondheim, Urinetown
Signature Theatre, the respected Helen Hayes Award-winning Arlington company, will begin its 2005-06 season with the musical Urinetown this summer, artistic director Eric Schaeffer announced.

The coming year is a time of change for the resident Equity troupe. Signature will move from its converted garage space into a new $12.5 million two-theatre complex in the Village at Shirlington.

Schaeffer said, "It'll be bittersweet to say goodbye to the little garage we've called home for the past 12 years, but the move to a bigger space is overdue. The new complex will provide Signature the muscles it needs to focus energy on the art and not the physical and technical obstacles. The great thing about the new space is that we're building two intimate, flexible black box theatres that will maintain the unique feel of our current theatre, but with state- of-the-art acoustics allowing for unamplified musicals and unobstructed ceiling height allowing unlimited set design capabilities."

In addition to the Tony Award-winning dark musical satire Urinetown, directed by Joe Calarco Aug. 16-Oct. 2, Signature's two other works in its current home will be Quiara Alegria Hudes' Yemaya's Belly, a tale of an island boy and the big city; and the world premiere of an Edgar Allen Poe-inspired musical, Nevermore.

In the new complex, expect Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods and the East Coast premiere of Julie Marie Myatt's comedy The Sex Habits of American Women .

Playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes is a 2004 recipient of both The Paula Vogel Award for Playwriting and The Kennedy Center ACTF Latina/Latino Playwriting Award. Yemaya's Belly was seen at Portland Stage in Maine earlier this year. Here's the 2005-06 Signature season:

  • Urinetown, the resident D.C. premiere of the musical by Mark Hollman (music and lyrics) and Greg Kotis (book and lyrics). Aug. 16-Oct. 2.
  • Yemaya's Belly, a Caribbean coming-of-age tale directed by Rick DesRochers, in which playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes "weaves a tragicomic journey about a boy, a bottle of Coke, and the boat that sails him toward his dreams of the Promised Land. The inclusion of poetry, songs and movement drawn from Santeria, the religion of many African Caribbean and Latin American cultures in which Yemaya is a central deity ruling over the sea, creates a landscape where the characters and audience move effortlessly between the real and the surreal." Nov. 8-Dec. 18.
  • Nevermore, music by Matt Conner, lyrics adapted from the writings of Edgar Allen Poe, book by Norman Allen, directed by Eric Schaeffer. "This world premiere musical takes a dark and mysterious journey into the life of Edgar Allen Poe, using his poetry as its base and his shifting obsession with the women in his life as its catalyst. With hauntingly (in more ways then one) beautiful melodies, Nevermore breathes new life into Poe's work and explores a twisted true-life tale that is as bizarre as his classic stories of the macabre." Jan. 10-Feb. 18, 2006.
  • Into the Woods, the Grimm's fairy tale-inspired musical by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, directed by Eric Schaeffer. Dates to be announced.
  • The Sex Habits of American Women by Julie Marie Myatt, directed by Rick DesRochers and starring Helen Carey and Rick Foucheux. "The Kinsey Report meets 'Desperate Housewives' in this voyeuristic peep into the sex lives of American women during the era of pointy bras and pompadours. Beginning in 1950, a respected male psychotherapist is writing a handbook on female sexuality. His wife of 47 years and their unmarried daughter meanwhile are conducting their own 'research.' Juxtaposed against this 1950s story is a videotaped documentary-style interview with a contemporary single mom — a feisty product of women's liberation. Bridging the 50 years between these moments in social history, the intertwined stories ask provocative questions and take a hard and hilarious look at the unexpected repercussions of the sexual revolution." Dates to be announced. A 2005-06 Cabaret Series will include:

  • August 12-13: Dan Cooney, Tamryn Hayden and Greg Stone in Mass Transits. "This trio of Broadway performers team up for the first time to make their cabaret debut at Signature Theatre."
  • November 4-5: Stephen Gregory Smith and Eleasha Gamble in Ebony & Ivory: The Second Coming. "They're back! Helen Hayes Award-winner Stephen Gregory Smith and Eleasha Gamble bring audiences part two of their cabaret on love and friendship."
  • Jan. 6-7, 2006: Sherri L. Edelen and Ty Hreben in Sherri & Ty: Together Again. "Sherri and Ty return to the Signature cabaret bringing an evening of unconventional solo and duet styling. Together they present a tender, delightful, hilarious evening…"
  • Date TBA: Graduates of Catholic University's Musical Theatre program in The Kids From Catholic. "Discover the hottest young talents being trained as the newest generation of musical theatre stars." For more information, visit signature-theatre.org.

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