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Signature’s Angels in America to begin performances September 14, 2010

SIGNATURE THEATRE COMPANY’S PRODUCTION OF

TONY KUSHNER’S PULITZER AND TONY AWARD-WINNING

ANGELS IN AMERICA

DIRECTED BY MICHAEL GREIF

TO BEGIN PERFORMANCES ON SEPTEMBER 14, 2010

SUBSCRIPTIONS GO ON SALE THIS SPRING

PRODUCTION MADE POSSIBLE BY MAJOR GRANT

FROM THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION

ALL SEATS FOR REGULAR RUN AVAILABLE FOR $20 THROUGH

SIGNATURE TICKET INITIATIVE


Signature Theatre Company
(James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director) announced today that ANGELS IN AMERICA: A GAY FANTASIA ON NATIONAL THEMES, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning epic work by Tony Kushner, will begin performances on Tuesday, September 14, 2010, launching the theatre’s 20th anniversary season.   The first New York revival of ANGELS IN AMERICA will be directed by Michael Greif.  The production will open in late October on a date to be announced.      
 
Subscriptions to Signature’s 2010-2011 Tony Kushner season will go on sale this spring, with individual tickets for ANGELS IN AMERICA going on sale this summer.  On sale dates will be announced in coming weeks.   The season will include two more works to be announced.   Casting process for ANGELS IN AMERICA is currently underway. 
 
Millennium Approaches and Perestroika, the two parts of ANGELS IN AMERICA, will begin alternating in repertory from the start of performances.       
 
ANGELS IN AMERICA is made possible by a generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 
 
Through The Signature Ticket Initiative, which seeks to make great theatre accessible to the broadest possible audience, all regularly-priced single tickets ($65) during the initial announced run for ANGELS IN AMERICA will be underwritten and available for $20.  The Signature Ticket Initiative is made possible by the lead sponsorship of Time Warner Inc.  Generous support for The Signature Ticket Initiative is provided by Margot Adams, in memory of Mason Adams.
 
“I’m very excited about my Signature season and of course I’m very honored to have been chosen,” Tony Kushner said.  “I’ve spent some of my best nights watching the work Jim Houghton and Signature Theatre Company has produced. It seemed to Jim and me that this is a good moment to bring ANGELS back to New York, and I’m delighted that Michael Greif has agreed to direct it.  Michael and I have worked together and known each other for most of our careers. He’s a serious, generous, incredibly smart and superbly talented artist; I love his passionate commitment to actors, to plays, to the theater.  I think the Signature’s the perfect space for the demands of ANGELS, which is both epic and intimate.  I can’t wait to see how it all turns out!”
 
Michael Greif commented, “Mounting Tony’s exquisite play in the intimate Signature Theatre will be an extraordinary challenge but will offer even more extraordinary rewards.  I know I’ll be aided by an astonishing group of actors and designers anxious to wrestle with this masterpiece.  I cherish my continued collaboration with Tony and the Signature.” 
 
“I still remember the thrill of encountering Tony Kushner’s ANGELS IN AMERICA for the first time nearly 20 years ago and being astounded by the sweep and theatricality of this brave and impassioned piece,” said James Houghton.  “We are privileged to be celebrating Tony’s work in our milestone 20th Anniversary Season and we’re exceedingly grateful to The Mellon Foundation for its unparalleled support and for making this first New York revival of ANGELS IN AMERICA possible.”
 
ANGELS IN AMERICA was one of the most critically acclaimed and heralded plays of the 1990s and established Tony Kushner as a major new voice in world theatre.   Frank Rich, The New York Times, praised it as “the most thrilling American play in years”.  The plays were developed in productions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and London, before opening on Broadway in 1993.  Part One: MILLENNIUM APPROACHES, opened May 4, 1993 at the Walter Kerr Theatre and Part Two: PERESTROIKA, opened November 23, 1993, also at the Walter Kerr, with the two parts playing in repertory.  Both parts of ANGELS IN AMERICA won Tony Awards in 1993 and 1994 for Best Play and MILLENNIUM APPROACHES won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.   Kushner adapted the plays for an HBO mini-series, directed by Mike Nichols, which premiered in 2003 and won Golden Globe and Emmy Awards for Best Miniseries. 
 
ANGELS IN AMERICA: A GAY FANTASIA ON NATIONAL THEMES is set in late 1985 and early 1986, as the first wave of the AIDS epidemic in America is escalating and Ronald Reagan has been elected to a second term in the White House. The play’s two parts, MILLENNIUM APPROACHES and PERESTROIKA, bring together a young gay man with AIDS and his frightened, unfaithful lover; a closeted Mormon lawyer and his valium-addicted wife; the infamous New York lawyer Roy Cohn; an African-American male nurse; a Mormon housewife from Utah; and a steel-winged, prophecy-bearing angel; as well as the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg, an ancient rabbi, the world’s oldest living Bolshevik and a Reagan administration functionary, among many others – all played by a company of eight actors.  The lives of these disparate characters intersect, intertwine, collide and are blown apart during a time of heartbreak, reaction and transformation.  Ranging from earth to heaven, from the political to the intimate to the visionary and supernatural, ANGELS IN AMERICA is an epic exploration of love, justice, identity and theology, of the difficulty, terror and necessity of change.
 
TONY KUSHNER (Playwright) Plays include A Bright Room Called Day; Angels in America, Parts One and Two; Slavs!; Homebody/Kabul and The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. Adaptations include Corneille’s The Illusion, S.Y. Ansky’s The Dybbuk and Brecht’s The Good Person of Sezuan. The film version of “Angels in America,” directed by Mike Nichols, premiered in 2003 on HBO. Recent books include Brundibar (Hyperion Books), a book for children with illustrations by Maurice Sendak, and Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Palestinian/Israeli Conflict (Grove Atlantic), co-edited with Alisa Solomon. Mr. Kushner’s awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, two Tony Awards for Best Play, two Obie Awards for Best Play, an Arts Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Mid-Career Playwright, a Spirit of Justice Award from the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders and a Cultural Achievement Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.
 
MICHAEL GREIF (Director) Broadway credits include Next to Normal (Tony nom.), Grey Gardens (Tony nom.), Rent (Tony nom.). Recent work includes Next to Normal (Second Stage, Arena Stage), The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures (Guthrie Theater), The Three Sisters (Williamstown) and Romeo and Juliet (NYSF at the Delacorte). Off-Broadway: Landscape of the Body, A Few Stout Individuals (Signature); Satellites, Fucking A, Dogeaters (Obie), Marisol, Pericles, Casanova, A Bright Room Called Day, Machinal (Obie) at NYSF; Boys’ Life, Spike Heels (Second Stage); A Very Common Procedure, The Distance From Here (MCC); Spatter Pattern (Playwrights Horizons); Mr. Marmalade (Roundabout); and Beauty of the Father (MTC). At New York Theatre Workshop (Artistic Associate), he directed Cavedweller; Bright Lights, Big City; and the original production of Rent (Obie). Favorite regional productions include The Cherry Orchard, The Seagull, Street Scene, Tonight at 8:30, Once in a Lifetime (Williamstown); and Our Town, Sweet Bird of Youth, Boy, Randy Newman’s Faust, Slavs and Thérèse Raquin at La Jolla, where he was artistic director (1995-99).
 
SIGNATURE THEATRE COMPANY, Signature Theatre Company, founded in 1991 by James Houghton, exists to honor and celebrate the playwright.  Signature makes an extended commitment to a playwright’s body of work, and during this journey, the writer is engaged in every aspect of the creative process.  Signature is the first theatre company to devote an entire season to the work of a single playwright, including re-examinations of past writings as well as New York and world premieres. By championing in-depth explorations of a living playwright’s body of work, the Company delivers an intimate and immersive journey into the playwright’s singular vision.  
 
Signature has presented entire seasons of the work of Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, Bill Irwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Romulus Linney, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, August Wilson, Lanford Wilson, and a season celebrating the historic Negro Ensemble Company.  Signature remains deeply committed to season-long residencies, and during the company’s tenth and fifteenth anniversaries, Signature introduced the Legacy Program.  The Legacy Program invites past Playwrights-in-Residence back to Signature through two series: the Signature Series, which presents “signature,” or more well-known works; and the Premiere Series, which presents New York and world premieres. Since 2005, Signature has been committed to presenting world-class theatre at an affordable price through The Signature Ticket Initiative, which will offer subsidized $20 tickets through the Company’s twentieth anniversary season in 2011. The twentieth season will feature the work of Tony Kushner.
 
Signature Theatre Company recently announced a new, permanent home for the company, beginning in 2012.  The Frank Gehry-designed Signature Center will be part of Related Companies’ $800 million, 59-story residential building and hotel currently under construction on 42nd Street and 10th Avenue. The City of New York has contributed $25 million toward the $60 million project. Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently joined Speaker Christine Quinn and Signature artists in a dedication ceremony celebrating the project.  
 
The Signature Center will comprise three theatres, two rehearsal studios, a café, bookstore, and offices all on one level—a configuration that allows the company not only the space to expand its programming, but also the proximity for natural interaction between artists and audiences of the different programs. The Signature Center will feature three unique programs: the continuation of the Master Playwright Residency, which explores the works of playwrights with major bodies of work; the expansion of the Legacy Program, which celebrates the lifetime achievements of the artists who have previously worked at Signature and the introduction of a new Emerging Playwrights Residency, which will feature early and mid-career playwrights, and guarantee them three full productions over the course of a four-year residency. For more information on The Signature Center, please visit signaturecenter.org.
 
Signature, its productions and its resident writers have been recognized with a Pulitzer Prize, eleven Lucille Lortel Awards, fifteen Obie Awards, five Drama Desk Awards, and twenty-two AUDELCO Awards, among many other distinctions. The National Theatre Conference recognized the company as the 2003 Outstanding National Theatre of the Year. For more information on Signature, please visit us online at signaturetheatre.org.

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