The Signature Theatre Company kicks off its All-Premiere Celebration with the New York premiere of Romulus Linney's A Lesson Before Dying, adapted from Ernest J. Gaines novel of the same name. Linney, who was the Signature's founding playwright-in-residence, adapts the best-selling novel by Ernest J. Gaines. The story centers around two young black men, each in his own way trapped in a small Louisiana town in the 1940s. Condemned to die in an electric chair for a crime he didn't commit, Jefferson gives up on everybody, including himself. His grandmother enlists the help of a disillussioned schoolteacher, and the two men teach each other about being a man, about heroism, and about living--and dying--with dignity. Kent Thompson directs.