Signature Theatre Company (Founding Artistic Director James Houghton; Executive Director Erika Mallin), announced a change to the theatre's Legacy Program for the inaugural season at the Company's new home, Signature Center: the theatre will produce Albee's 1977 play, The Lady from Dubuque, in a new production featuring Tony Award winner Jane Alexander and directed by David Esbjornson. The world premiere of Edward Albee's Laying an Egg will be produced in a future season.
Signature's Artistic Director James Houghton said, "We couldn't be more thrilled than to launch our new End Stage Theatre at Signature Center with the incomparable Jane Alexander in Edward Albee's biting and deeply moving The Lady from Dubuque." Regarding the rescheduling of the previously announced Edward Albee's Laying an Egg, Houghton added, "All good things are well worth the wait and most certainly a new play from one of our most treasured playwrights is no exception. Stay tuned."
Jane Alexander's distinguished stage career has taken her from Broadway to London's West End and in regional theatres from Atlanta to Los Angeles. She has performed in more than 100 plays, among them her Tony winning role in The Great White Hope and Tony nominated roles in The Sisters Rosensweig, Find Your Way Home and 6 Rms Riv Vu. Jane has been honored with numerous awards: the Obie, Drama League, Drama Desk and Theatre World Awards to mention a few and she was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1994. She was most recently seen on stage in Chasing Manet, The Breath of Life and A Moon to Dance By. A four-time Oscar nominee for the films Testament, Kramer vs. Kramer, All the President's Men and The Great White Hope, Jane Alexander has appeared in over 55 screen roles, including Brubaker, The Cider House Rules, Sunshine State, Feast of Love and Terminator Salvation. On television, Jane won Emmy Awards for "Playing for Time" and "Warm Springs" and a Television Critics Circle Award for her portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt in "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years". Other nominations and awards include those for her roles in "Calamity Jane," "Malice in Wonderland" and "A Marriage: O'Keefe and Stieglitz," which she also produced for PBS. Jane co-starred in the HBO series "Tell Me You Love Me". Ms. Alexander was recently seen in Jim Sheridan's movie "Dreamhouse", as well as in The Hallmark Film "William and Catherine: A Royal Romance" as The Queen, and will be seen in the upcoming TNT film "Deck The Halls". Ms. Alexander is about to film "Mr. Morgan's Last Love" with Michael Caine in Europe. Jane has narrated dozens of books and voice over's and is a screenwriter and producer as well as an actress. In 1994 President Clinton appointed Ms. Alexander Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Senate unanimously confirmed her. She held the position for 4 years successfully battling to save the agency from elimination. Her book "Command Performance: An Actress in the Theatre of Politics" documents her tenure. Jane continues her public service as a Commissioner of Parks for the Taconic Region of New York.
Signature will stage seven productions for its inaugural 2012 season at Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street near 10th Avenue), the company's new Frank Gehry-designed permanent home opening in February 2012. Signature Center will allow the Company to expand its programming, introduce new initiatives, and build audiences. Featuring three intimate theatres, a Studio Theatre, rehearsal studio and a shared lobby with café and bookstore, Signature Center will be both a theatre community hub and a neighborhood destination.
Signature will launch Signature Center with Athol Fugard as its inaugural Residency One playwright. Residency One is the continuation of Signature's core one-year Playwright-in-Residence program that produces a series of plays from the body of work of one accomplished writer. Signature will explore the works of Fugard, the South African playwright, director and actor, who was honored with a special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2011 Tony Awards. The Residency One Athol Fugard Series will feature Blood Knot, My Children! My Africa! and the New York premiere of The Train Driver. Mr. Fugard will direct Blood Knot and The Train Driver. Ruben Santiago-Hudson will direct My Children! My Africa!
Signature's Legacy Program, a homecoming for past Signature Playwrights-in-Residence, will feature a new production of Edward Albee's The Lady from Dubuque, directed by David Esbjornson. Signature devoted its 1993-1994 Season to Edward Albee, with the world premiere of Fragments, New York premieres of Marriage Play, Counting the Ways and Listening, Sand: Box, The Sandbox, and Finding the Sun.. Albee returned to Signature in the 2001-2002 10th Anniversary Season for the presentation of Edward Albee's Occupant, later also staged in the 2007-2008 Season.
Residency Five is Signature's newest initiative, a groundbreaking program that provides a group of playwrights with the full range of Signature's resources for a period of five years to create and produce new work, and guarantees each playwright a minimum of three world premieres at Signature Center. This is the first program of its kind in the American theatre, going far beyond the traditional commissioning or workshop models. Residency Five will enable a diverse community of playwrights to build bodies of work, and will provide them with a significant cash award, full health benefits and a stipend to attend theatre. Annie Baker, Will Eno, Katori Hall, Kenneth Lonergan and ReGina Taylor are the program's inaugural playwrights. The 2012 season will feature the World Premiere of Katori Hall's Hurt Village, directed by Patricia McGregor, the U.S. premiere of Will Eno's Title and Deed, directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett in association with Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland and the World Premiere of a new play by Kenneth Lonergan.
In addition, Signature announced its pledge to A Decade of Access, the next phase of the Signature Ticket Initiative, an unprecedented program which makes great theatre accessible to the broadest possible audience which Signature initiated in 2005. For the next ten years, Signature is committed to making all regularly-priced subscription and single tickets ($75) during the initial announced run available for $25. Signature is committed to raising the $20 Million in funds needed for A Decade of Access and is pursuing lead sponsorship. Seed funding has been provided by Margot Adams, Time Warner Inc., the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the New York City Council. Signature is also pleased to welcome the Ford Foundation as a new supporter of the Signature Ticket Initiative.
Subscriptions are on sale now by calling the Box Office at 212-244-PLAY (7529) or visiting the newly redesigned www.signaturetheatre.org.