NEW YORK CITY: Signature Theatre has announced its 2016–17 season, featuring two plays by playwright-in-residence Suzan-Lori Parks, with two more to come in the following season. This will be the last season programmed by outgoing artistic director James Houghton.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for supporting Signature and all of the remarkable artists who have worked with us over the past 25 years,” said Houghton in a statement. “I believe [this season] represents a thrillingly diverse mix of new and revisited work from our outstanding family of writers. I am pleased to welcome Signature’s next artistic director, the wonderful Paige Evans, who will lead our fantastic team in bringing this work to life.”
Parks’s residency will begin with The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World (beginning Oct. 25), a comedy exploring of the archetypes of Black America through the lens of the last black man in the world. Lileana Blain-Cruz will direct.
Next will be Venus (beginning April 25), by Parks, about a woman who leaves her home in southern Africa and becomes the star of a freak show in London because of the size of her posterior. Lear deBessonet will direct.
The final plays of Parks’s residency will be The Red Letter Plays: In the Blood and Fucking A, which will be presented in repertory as part of the 2017–18 season. The plays are a remix of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Jo Bonney will direct.
As part of Signature’s Legacy Program, Master Harold…and the boys (beginning Oct. 18), by the theatre’s first resident playwright Athol Fugard, will be part of the season. The play follows two black men and a white boy who dance together in a small tea shop in South Africa, defying the brutalities of the apartheid. Fugard will also direct.
Next will be the Residency Five program, featuring three world premiere plays that have been developed using Signature resources and with support from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
First will be the world premiere of Everybody (beginning Jan. 31, 2017), by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, a modern riff on one of the oldest plays in the English language. Lila Neugebauer will direct.
Following will be the world premiere of a new play by Will Eno (beginning Feb. 7, 2017).
The Residency Five series will conclude with Annie Baker’s The Antipodes (beginning April 4, 2017). Neugebauer will direct.
Signature Theatre, founded in 1991, is committed to honoring and celebrating playwrights.