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Signature to Celebrate Mee, Parks, Kushner, and Negro Ensemble Company logo
James Houghton with Tony Kushner
(© Michael Portantiere)
James Houghton, founding artistic director of the Signature Theatre Company, announced today at a press conference that the theater will dedicate its next four seasons to celebrating Charles Mee, Suzan-Lori Parks, Tony Kushner, and the Negro Ensemble Company. Houghton also announced that, thanks in large part to the financial support of Time Warner, all tickets for all performances at the theater over the next four years will be priced at $20.

The 2007-2008 season will be devoted to the plays of Mee and will include the New York premiere of Iphigenia 2.0 (August 7-September 30), directed by Tina Landau; the world premiere of the musical Queens Boulevard (November 6-December 30), directed by Davis McCallum; and the world premiere of Paradise Park (February 12-April 6), directed by Daniel Fish. In May 2008, the theater will present a new production of Edward Albee's Occupant as part of its Legacy Series; the play was originally presented by Signature in 2002, with Anne Bancroft starring, but Bancroft had to miss the majority of performances during the limited run because of illness.

In 2008-2009, Signature will honor the work of the Negro Ensemble Company, which produced such plays as Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, The River Niger, and A Soldier's Play. The 2009-2010 season will be devoted to the plays of Suzan-Lori Parks, the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, for Topdog/Underdog. And in 2010-2011, the theater will celebrate Tony Kushner, author of such works as Angels in America, Homebody/Kabul, Slavs!, and the libretto for the musical Caroline, or Change. The specific plays to be presented during these three seasons will be announced at a later date.

In remarks during the press conference, actor Edward Norton -- a Signature alum and a great supporter of the theater -- hailed Houghton as having "a very rare, almost unique combination of artistic talent and vision." Albee described Signature as "one of the few theaters in the U.S. that I find really matters," while actress Daphne Rubin-Vega called it "a theater for the people." Said Kushner, "Jim has an immense talent for creating theater. Some of the most exciting evenings I've seen have been on this stage. I'm thrilled to be part of this project."

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