The TV actor, whose series ends this month on the WB Network, has a history with Signature. For the troupe that focuses on one playwright per season, he appeared in an Edward Albee play, Finding the Sun, in 1993-94.
Joining Van Der Beek in Rain Dance are Randolph Mantooth, Harris Yulin and Michigan actress Suzanne Regan. Regan is the respected Michigan actress who created the role of Irene (which she's reprising in Manhattan) for Purple Rose Theatre Company, the Chelsea, Michigan-based troupe (founded by Jeff Daniels) that commissioned the drama.
Guy Sanville, PRTC's artistic director, will direct, making the staging the big New York break for two Michigan artists.
Signature explains the play this way: "Los Alamos, New Mexico, 1945, on the eve of the birth of the atomic bomb. Amidst the tranquil beauty of the desert, four individuals involved in the historic project count down to its inevitable conclusion. As the culmination of their work approaches, each wrestles with the weight of responsibility for an event that will change the world forever."
Opening after previews is May 20 at the Peter Norton Space on West 42nd Street. Rain Dance continues to June 29. *
Mantooth is remembered for starring in TV's 1970s paramedic drama, "Emergency!," and Yulin has many Broadway and Off-Broadway credits, including last season's Broadway Hedda Gabler.
Van Der Beek is a series regular — the teen-idol title character — on "Dawson's Creek."
Rain Dance is the final Wilson play in a season of works devoted to the American playwright who gave us Fifth of July, THE HOT L BALTIMORE, Talley's Folly and Burn This.
Tickets are $55. Signature's Peter Norton Space is at 555 W. 42nd Street. For subscription and ticket information, call (212) 244-PLAY (7529). For additional information, visit www.signaturetheatre.org.