NEW YORK CITY: Signature Theatre has announced its 2017-18 season, the first programmed by artistic director Paige Evans, which will feature plays by residency playwrights Suzan-Lori Parks, Stephen Adly Guirgis, and Dominique Morisseau.
“I’m thrilled that we’ll be producing these four outstanding writers in our 2017-18 season, the first I’ve programmed at Signature,” said Evans in a statement. “Edward, Stephen, Dominique, and Suzan-Lori have such distinct voices and styles, but they all write with wit, grit, and remarkable insight.”
The season will open with Suzan-Lori Parks’s The Red Letter Plays, a modern riff on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, which are being produced together for the first time. Fucking A (August 22-Oct. 1) follows abortionist Hester Smith as she tries to free her son from jail. Jo Bonney will direct. In the Blood (Aug. 29-Oct. 8) follows Hester La Negrita, a poor mother who is shunned by the men in her life. Sarah Benson will direct. Parks is part of Signature’s Residency One, which produces a series of work by an accomplished playwright over one year.
Next up will be Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (Oct. 3-Nov. 12) by Stephen Adly Guirgis, who is also part of Residency One. The play follows a bicycle messenger on trial for murder who meets a born-again serial killer in Rikers Island. Ruben Santiago-Hudson will direct.
Later in the season, Signature will also produce Guirgis’s Our Lady of 121st Street (May 1-June 10, 2018), about a group of students who come together to mourn their teacher, Sister Rose, only to discover her body has been stolen. Anne Kauffman will direct.
The new year will open with Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo: Homelife & The Zoo Story (Jan. 30-March 11, 2018). The play follows Peter, who lives a mildly unhappy upper middle class life, which is altered in the second act when he meets a stranger. Albee, who died in 2016, is a part of Signature’s Legacy Program, which brings back the work of past playwrights-in-residence. Lila Neugebauer will direct.
Finally, the theatre will produce Dominique Morisseau’s Paradise Blue (April 24-June 3, 2018), about a trumpeter and the owner of a jazz club in 1949 in Detroit. Ruben Santiago-Hudson will direct. Morisseau is part of the theatre’s Residency Five, which offers a typically less established writer three commissions over five years.