Zooman and the Sign, by Pulitzer Winner Charles Fuller, Returns to NYC March 3 | Playbill

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News Zooman and the Sign, by Pulitzer Winner Charles Fuller, Returns to NYC March 3 Signature Theatre's new Off-Broadway production of Charles Fuller's 1980 drama, Zooman and the Sign, directed by Stephen McKinley Henderson, begins performances March 3 as the final production of Signature's season-long tribute to the Negro Ensemble Company.
Zooman and the Sign actor Amari Cheatom
Zooman and the Sign actor Amari Cheatom Photo by Gregory Costanzo

Opening is March 24. Performances continue to April 26.

According to Signature, "A random act of violence devastates Reuben Tate's family and scares their once caring community into silence. While young Zooman terrorizes the neighborhood, Reuben makes a dangerous appeal which may tear their world apart. This powerful drama by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Charles Fuller (A Soldier's Play) depicts the horrifying aftermath of violence on a family and community."

The troupe includes Ron Canada ("Wedding Crashers," "Cinderella Man"), Amari Cheatom (Lower Ninth), Rosalyn Coleman (Radio Golf, Seven Guitars, The Piano Lesson), Peter Jay Fernandez (Cyrano de Bergerac, Julius Caesar, Henry IV), Lynda Gravatt (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, King Hedley II), Tre Davis (NYSF's Hamlet), Jamal Mallory-McCree (The Fabulous Miss Marie), Evan Parke (The Lion King) and Portia (The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Our Lady of 121st Street).

Performances play Signature's home at The Peter Norton Space, located at 555 West 42nd Street (between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues).

The production features set design by Shaun Motley, costume design by Katherine Roth, lighting design by Matthew Frey and sound design by Robert Kaplowitz. Production stage manager is Chandra LaViolette. *

Signature's 2008-09 season is an examination of a body of work from the historic Negro Ensemble Company's collective of writers, "whose contributions have helped shape America's theatrical heritage." Ruben Santiago-Hudson serves as associate artist for the season, which has also included Leslie Lee's The First Breeze of Summer, Samm-Art Williams' Home and a staged reading of Douglas Turner Ward's Day of Absence.

Playwright Fuller was born in Philadelphia. He achieved critical notice in 1969 with The Village: A Party. He later wrote plays for the Henry Street Settlement theatre and the Negro Ensemble Company in New York. He won an Obie Award for Zooman and the Sign in 1980. His next work, A Soldier's Play, was a critical success, winning the 1982 Pulitzer Prize. He later adapted the script into the 1984 film "A Soldier's Story." His screenplay was nominated in 1985 for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Writers Guild of America Award. It won an Edgar Award. Fuller has received grants from The State of New York, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has also written short fiction, screenplays and worked as a movie producer. He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, East.

Through The Signature Ticket Initiative, which seeks to make great theatre accessible to the broadest possible audience, all regularly priced single tickets ($65) are underwritten and are available for $20 every performance for the entire season, during a show's initial run.

The Ticket Initiative continues through Signature's 20th Anniversary Season (2010-2011).

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit signaturetheatre.org or call (212) 244-PLAY (7529).

Parke Coleman and Lynda Gravatt in <i>Zooman and the Sign</i>
Parke Coleman and Lynda Gravatt in Zooman and the Sign Photo by Gregory Costanzo

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