Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia has announced its complete 2016-17 season lineup, which includes three world-premiere musicals and two world-premiere plays.
The season opens with the D.C. premiere of Jelly's Last Jam, running from August 2-September 11 in the MAX Theatre. The musical tells the story of jazz through one of its most notorious entertainers, Jelly Roll Morton, whose music is featured in the production. The show also features a book by George C. Wolfe, lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, and additional music/musical adaptation by Luther Henderson. Matthew Gardiner directs.
The world premiere of Audrey Cefaly's new comedy The Gulf will follow in the ARK Theatre, running from September 13-November 6. The story follows Betty and Kendra, who waste away a languid summer day fishing on the Alabama Delta. Suddenly, their lazy afternoon turns to chaos when the motor breaks, stranding the two, and their tumultuous relationship, in the Gulf. Director of New Works Joe Calarco helms the production, starring Rachel Zampelli and Maria Rizzo.
The previously announced world-premiere musical adaptation of Freaky Friday will then come to the MAX Theatre for a run from October 4-November 20. The production features a book by Bridget Carpenter and a score by Tony Award winners Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal, If/Then). Based on the novel Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers and the Walt Disney Motion Pictures, the musical will be directed by Christopher Ashley.
Silver Belles will be the next world-premiere musical to come to Signature, running from November 22-December 24 in the ARK Theatre. With a book by Allyson Currin, music by Matt Conner, and lyrics by Matt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith, the production is based on an idea by Sandra Johnson & Cathy Alter. The premise of the holiday musical is as follows: "When Oralene, the longtime director of small town Sylva Ridge’s Christmas Pageant suddenly passes away, the Silver Belles must come to the rescue! With the spirit of Oralene looking on, the sterling-hued vixens band together, discover their talents and pull out all the stops to keep the beloved pageant alive." Directed by Signature Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer, the production will star Donna Migliaccio, Nova Y. Payton, Ilona Dulaski, Naomi Jacobson, and Sandy Bainum.
Schaeffer will then helm a reimagined revival of the Maury Yeston and Peter Stone musical Titanic: The Musical. Running from December 13-January 29, 2017 in the MAX Theatre, the 360-degree production will feature a cast, orchestra, and crew of more than 50 artists.
Pulitzer Prize winner James Lapine (Act One, Sunday in the Park with George) will then present the world premiere of his new musical play Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing. The production will star Emmy and Tony Award winner Debra Monk (Mozart in the Jungle) in the title role. The play is based on the real life story of Elva Miller, whose off-key singing became an unlikely pop phenomenon in the 1960s. Co-conceived by Mark Oliver Everett and James Lapine, the production will run from February 28-March 26, 2017 in the MAX Theatre. Lapine will direct.
Next up is the world-premiere musical Midwestern Gothic, running from March 14-April 30, 2017 in the ARK Theatre. Set in a frozen little town in the middle of continental nowhere, Midwestern Gothic paints a portrait of a young woman, Stina, who is desperate to escape her everyday surroundings. Stina’s wild and twisted imagination drives her to create more and more bizarre diversions that suddenly take a perverse turn toward a surprising end. The musical features a book by Royce Vavrek, music by Josh Schmidt, and lyrics by Royce Vavrek and Josh Schmidt. Matthew Gardiner directs.
Closing out the season will be Andrew Lloyd Webber's biblical rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar, running from May 9-July 2, 2017 in the MAX Theatre. Joe Calarco will direct.