Signature Theatre Company

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Signature Theatre Company was founded in 1991 by James Houghton.[1]

Signature has presented entire seasons of the work of Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, David Henry Hwang, Horton Foote, María Irene Fornés, Athol Fugard, John Guare, Bill Irwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Romulus Linney, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, A. R. Gurney, Naomi Wallace and a season celebrating the historic Negro Ensemble Company.

In October 2008, Signature announced the creation of the Pershing Square Signature Center which opened in 2012 and was designed by Frank Gehry Architects.

In its new home, Signature continues its Residency One Program, celebrating a single playwright with multiple productions over the course of a year, and Legacy Program, which brings those playwrights back for additional productions. Signature also introduced Residency Five, a program that will feature early- and mid-career playwrights and guarantee them three full productions over the course of a five-year residency.

Signature, its productions and its resident writers have been recognized with a Pulitzer Prize, a 2014 Regional Theatre Tony Award, eleven Lucille Lortel Awards, fifteen Obie Awards, five Drama Desk Awards, and thirty-two AUDELCO Awards. The National Theatre Conference recognized the company as the 2003 Outstanding National Theatre of the Year.[2]

History[edit]

James Houghton founded the theatre in a Black box theater at 31 Bond Street in the NoHo neighborhood in 1991 at the Kampo Cultural Center (a venue that had focused on promoting Japanese calligraphy).[3] The theatre focused on having a resident playwright of national stature with its first playwright Romulus Linney.[4]

In 1997 the theatre moved to 555 West 42nd Street on Theatre Row.

In 1999 software developer Peter Norton donated $600,000 for renovations to the 42nd Street venue which was renamed Signature Theatre Company at the Peter Norton Space.[5]

In 2004 it was announced that the Signature had signed on to be an anchor tenant of a new $700 million performing arts center on the site of the destroyed World Trade Center site. It was to be designed by Gehry Partners LLP and Snøhetta.[6]

In 2007 as the proposed World Trade Center complex was falling through the city tried to get the theatre to commit to Fiterman Hall by the World Trade Center site.[7] The Fiterman Hall plan also fell through.

In 2008 the theatre announced plans to move to the Pershing Square space a block further east on 42nd Street of the Peter Norton space in 2012. The Pearl Theatre (New York City) moved into the old Signature space but that company declared bankruptcy in 2017.

In 2016 Houghton died.[8]

Season history[edit]

+ indicates World Premiere production

1991 - 92 Season: Romulus Linney

  • F.M.
  • The Love Suicide of Schofield Barracks
  • The Sorrows of Frederick
  • Heathen Valley
  • A Woman Without a Name
  • Ambrosio+

1992 - 93 Season: Lee Blessing

  • Fortinbras
  • Lake Street Extension
  • Two Rooms
  • Patient A+

1993 - 94 Season: Edward Albee

  • Marriage Play
  • Counting the Ways and Listening
  • Sand: Box, The Sandbox and Finding the Sun
  • Fragments+

1994 - 95 Season: Horton Foote

  • Talking Pictures
  • Night Seasons
  • The Young Man From Atlanta+
  • Laura Dennis+

1995 - 96 Season: Adrienne Kennedy

  • Funnyhouse of A Negro
  • A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White
  • June and Jean in Concert+
  • Sleep Deprivation Chamber+
  • The Alexander Plays: Suzanne In Stages
  • Dramatic Circle
  • Ohio State Murders

1996 - 97 Season: Sam Shepard

  • When the World Was Green (co-written with Joseph Chaikin)
  • Chicago
  • The Tooth of Crime
  • Action
  • Killer's Head
  • The Sad Lament of Pecos Bill on the Eve of Killing His Wife
  • Curse of the Starving Class

1997 - 98 Season: Arthur Miller

  • The American Clock
  • The Last Yankee
  • I Can't Remember Anything
  • The Pussycat & the Expert Plumber
  • Who Was a Man
  • Mr. Peter's Connections+

1998 - 99 Season: John Guare

1999 - 2000 Season: María Irene Fornés

  • Mud
  • Drowning
  • Enter the Night
  • Letters from Cuba+

2000 - 2001 Season: All-Premiere Celebration Part 1

2001 - 2002 Season: All-Premiere Celebration Part 2

  • The Late Henry Moss by Sam Shepard
  • Occupant by Edward Albee+
  • A Few Stout Individuals by John Guare+

2002 - 2003 Season: Lanford Wilson

  • Burn This
  • Book of Days
  • Fifth of July
  • Rain Dance

2003 - 2004 Season: Bill Irwin

  • The Harlequin Studies+
  • The Regard Evening+
  • Mr. Fox: A Rumination+

2004 - 2005 Season: Paula Vogel

  • The Oldest Profession
  • Baltimore Waltz
  • Hot 'N' Throbbing

2005 - 2006 Season: 15th Anniversary Part I, Inaugural "Signature Series"

  • The Trip to Bountiful by Horton Foote
  • Landscape of the Body by John Guare

2006 - 2007 Season: 15th Anniversary Part II: August Wilson

  • Seven Guitars
  • Two Trains Running
  • King Hedley II

2007 - 2008 Season: Charles Mee

  • Iphigenia 2.0+
  • Queens Boulevard (the musical)+
  • Paradise Park+
  • Legacy Production: Occupant by Edward Albee

2008 - 2009 Season: The Negro Ensemble Company

2009 - 2010 Season: Horton Foote

  • The Orphans' Home Cycle, Part 1: The Story of a Childhood+
  • The Orphans' Home Cycle, Part 2: The Story of a Marriage+
  • The Orphans' Home Cycle, Part 3: The Story of a Family+[10]

2010 - 2011 Twentieth Anniversary Season: Tony Kushner[11]

2011 - 2012 Inaugural Season at The Pershing Square Signature Center: Athol Fugard

2012 - 2013 Season at The Pershing Square Signature Center: David Henry Hwang

2013 - 2014 Season at The Pershing Square Signature Center: David Henry Hwang

2014 - 2015 Season at The Pershing Square Signature Center: Naomi Wallace and A. R. Gurney

2015 - 2016 Season at The Pershing Square Signature Center: Naomi Wallace and A. R. Gurney

+ indicates World Premiere production

Signature Ticket Initiative[edit]

November 2005 marked the institution of the Signature Ticket Initiative, during which tickets to all performances for the initial run of every production are heavily subsidized to broaden the accessibility of Off-Broadway theatre. At the program's onset, tickets cost fifteen dollars, rather than the usual sixty-five. The Signature Ticket Initiative allows seventy percent of the cost of a full-priced ticket to be subsidized.

The lead sponsor on the program is Time Warner, who has made it possible to underwrite over sixty thousand patrons' tickets as of the 2007-2008 season. Other sponsors include The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Margot Adams in Memory of Mason Adams, American Express, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Shubert Foundation, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, The Lucille Lortel Foundation, The Peter Norton Family Foundation, and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. The initiative is also supported by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Tony Awards

  • Regional Theatre Tony Award (2014)[12]

Pulitzer Prize

  • The Pulitzer Prize for Playwriting to Horton Foote for The Young Man from Atlanta (1995)[13]

Obie Awards[14]

  • Romulus Linney, Sustained Achievement in Playwriting (1992)
  • Edward Albee, Sustained Achievement in Playwriting (1994)
  • Adrienne Kennedy, Best American New Plays: June and Jean in Concert and Sleep Deprivation Chamber (1996)
  • Special Award to María Irene Fornés, Writing and Directing Letters from Cuba (2000)
  • Edward Norton, performance in Burn This (2003)
  • Lois Smith, performance in The Trip to Bountiful (2006)
  • Sherie René Scott, performance in Landscape of the Body (2006)
  • Roslyn Ruff, performance in Seven Guitars (2007)
  • Lou Bellamy, performance in Two Trains Running (2007)
  • Ron Cephas Jones, performance in Two Trains Running (2007)
  • Kate Mulgrew, performance in Iphigenia 2.0 (2008)
  • Veanne Cox, Sustained Excellence in Performance (2008)
  • Jane Greenwood, Sustained Excellence in Costume Design (2008)
  • Adrienne Kennedy, Lifetime Achievement Award (2008)
  • Sonia Tayeh, choreography for Kung Fu (2014)
  • Emmanuel Brown, fight direction for Kung Fu (2014)
  • Lileana Blain-Cruz, directing for The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World (2017)[15]

Drama Desk Awards[16]

  • Honorary Award to Signature "For its unique concept that annually serves one playwright -- and many more audiences" (1996)
  • Lifetime Achievement in Theatre Award, Arthur Miller (1997)
  • Best Actress, Hallie Foote for her roles in the Horton Foote plays at Signature Theatre Company (1994–95)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Play, Lois Smith, The Trip to Bountiful (2006)
  • Lifetime Achievement in Theatre Award, Horton Foote (2006)

Lucille Lortel Awards[17]

  • Special Award, Horton Foote for an Individual Body of Work (1995)
  • Special Award, Signature Theatre Company for an Institutional Body of Work (1995)
  • Outstanding Revival, Fifth of July (2003)
  • Outstanding Revival, The Trip to Bountiful (2006)
  • Outstanding Director, Harris Yulin, The Trip to Bountiful (2006)
  • Outstanding Lead Actress, Lois Smith, The Trip to Bountiful (2006)
  • Outstanding Featured Actress, Hallie Foote, The Trip to Bountiful (2006)
  • Outstanding Featured Actress, Sherie Rene Scott, Landscape of the Body (2007)
  • Outstanding Featured Actor, Arthur French, Two Trains Running (2007)
  • Outstanding Revival, Two Trains Running (2007)
  • Outstanding Choreographer, Peter Pucci, Queens Boulevard (The Musical) (2008)

Outer Critics Circle Award[18]

  • Special Achievement Award, Horton Foote plays
  • Outstanding Actress in a Play, Lois Smith, The Trip to Bountiful (2006)

AUDELCO Awards[19]

  • Best Supporting Actress, Beatrice Winde, A Lesson Before Dying (2000)
  • Best Dramatic Production, Seven Guitars (2006)
  • Best Direction, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Seven Guitars (2006)
  • Best Supporting Actor, Charles Weldon, Seven Guitars (2006)
  • Best Sound Design, Darron L. West, Seven Guitars (2006)
  • Best Set Design, David Gallo, King Hedley II (2007)
  • Best Lighting Design,Thom Weaver, King Hedley II (2007)
  • Best Lead Actress, Lynda Gravatt, King Hedley II (2007)
  • Best Supporting Actor, Lou Myers, King Hedley II (2007)
  • Best Dramatic Production Award, The First Breeze of Summer (2008)
  • Best Direction Award, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, The First Breeze of Summer (2008)
  • Best Playwright Award, Leslie Lee, The First Breeze of Summer (2008)
  • Best Lead Actress Award, Leslie Uggams, The First Breeze of Summer (2008)
  • Best Supporting Actress Award, Yaya DaCosta, The First Breeze of Summer (2008)
  • Best Supporting Actor Award, John Earl Jelks, The First Breeze of Summer (2008)
  • Best Lighting Design Award, Marcus Doshi, The First Breeze of Summer (2008)
  • Best Set Design Award, Michael Carnahan, The First Breeze of Summer (2008)
  • Best Costume Design Award, Karen Perry, The First Breeze of Summer (2008)
  • Best Revival Award, Zooman and the Sign (2009)
  • Best Lighting Design, Matthew Frey, Zooman and the Sign (2009)
  • Outstanding Ensemble Performance Award, Kevin Carroll, Tracey Bonner and January Lavoy, Home (2009)
  • Best Set Design, David Gallo, Hurt Village (2012)
  • Best Supporting Actress, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Hurt Village (2012)[20]
  • Best Revival Award, The Piano Lesson (2013)
  • Best Director/Dramatic Production Award, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, The Piano Lesson (2013)
  • Best Lead Actress Award, Roslyn Ruff, The Piano Lesson (2013)
  • Best Lead Actor Award, Brandon J. Dirden, The Piano Lesson (2013)
  • Best Supporting Actor Award, Chuck Cooper, The Piano Lesson (2013)
  • Best Lighting Design Award, Rui Rita, The Piano Lesson (2013)
  • Best Set Design Award, Michael Carnahan, The Piano Lesson (2013)
  • Best Costume Design Award, Karen Perry, The Piano Lesson (2013)
  • Best Lighting Design Award, Thom Weaver, August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned (2014)

Special Awards & Recognition

  • Time Magazine, Play of the Year: Two Rooms by Lee Blessing (1993)
  • NAAP Gradiva Award for Best Play: When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable) by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin (1997)[21]
  • Margo Jones Medal: James Houghton (1998)
  • PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award for Drama: John Guare (1998)
  • The National Theatre Conference Outstanding Achievement Award (2003)
  • Time Out Magazine, Top Ten Productions: Fifth of July by Lanford Wilson (2003)[22]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ About Official site
  2. ^ Outstanding theatrer award Retrieved May 24, 2017
  3. ^ http://www.kampo.com/kampo/index.html
  4. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/james-houghton-founder-of-off-broadways-signature-theatre-dies
  5. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/peter-norton-signs-his-name-on-obs-signature-fornes-season-starts-sept-14-com-83712
  6. ^ http://www.renewnyc.com/News/DisplayStory_130.asp
  7. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/08/theater/08sign.html
  8. ^ http://www.playbill.com/article/james-houghton-founder-of-off-broadways-signature-theatre-dies
  9. ^ "Production History," Signature Theatre Company Website, 2008. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  10. ^ "Season Schedule" Signature Theatre Company Website, 2009. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  11. ^ "Signature Theatre Company Announces Four Exciting Seasons," Signature Theatre Company Press Release, 13 June 2007. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  12. ^ "Regional Theatre Tony Award," Tony Awards, 2014. http://www.tonyawards.com/en_US/nominees/artists/201404261398551516327.html
  13. ^ "Drama," The Pulitzer Prize Website, 2008. http://www.pulitzer.org/bycat/Drama
  14. ^ "Obies," Village Voice, 2008. http://www.villagevoice.com/obies/
  15. ^ Obie Awards, 2017 Winners
  16. ^ "Drama Desk Awards," The Drama Desk Awards, 2008. http://dramadesk.com
  17. ^ "History," Lucille Lortel Foundation, 2008. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  18. ^ "Award Archives," Outer Critics Circle, 2008. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-23. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  19. ^ "AUDELCO," Audience Development Committee, Inc., 2008. http://www.audelco.net/home.html
  20. ^ "AUDELCO," Audience Development Committee, Inc., 2012. http://www.audelco.net/2012vivwinners.html
  21. ^ "The Best Theatre of 1993," Time Magazine, 3 November 2005.
  22. ^ "Awards and Special Recognition Highlights," Signature Theatre Company Website, 2008. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 

External links[edit]