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Arts and Theater 1
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Black Tie International:
Blood Knot

Athol Fugard on stage Signature

Athol Fugard on stage Signature


Colman Domingo and Scott Shepherd

tars of Blood Knot Colman Domingo and Scott Shepherd


James Houghton Founding Artist Director of Signature Theatre

James Houghton, Founding Artist Director of Signature Theatre


Playwright Tim Duncheon, Robert Olsen Signature

Playwright Tim Duncheon and Robert Olsen


Fiddle Viracola, Colman Domingo, Scott Shepherd,Craig Dudley Signature Theatre

Fiddle Viracola, Colman Domingo, Scott Shepherd, Craig Dudley

Fiddle Viracola, Lois Smith and David MArgulies Signature Theatre

Fiddle Viracola, Lois Smith and David Margulies



Pershing Square Signature Theatre Center,

Athol Fugard's, “Blood Knot


 Story and photos by FIDDLE VIRACOLA



It’s playwright heaven! The new Pershing Square Signature Center opened at 480 West 42nd between Dyer and 10th Avenue. The Signature Theatre Company’s complex is the largest theatre center built in NYC in 50 years.
It embraces access to everyone with the Signature Ticket Initiative of $25.00 tickets. Hooray!

With awe one takes in the stellar, homey, dynamic, light -filled use of space, world renowned architect Frank Ghery designed. He knows theatre, sound and need.

After 10 years of planning and three years of development, James Houghton, the Founding Artistic Director (21 years) and Ericka Mallin, Executive Director, are filling the Signature’s three new intimate theatres: The Alice Griffin Jewel Box; The Romulous Linney Courtyard and The End Stage.  After nine years, their unique tribute and value of writers has crossed 42nd street with added writer/director/ audience supplemental programming afoot. The dream continues.

Residency One: 2012 season of one writer’s selected plays:

Athol Fugard: “Blood Knot” (directed by Athol Fugard), “My Children! My Africa!” and
The Train Driver”( author directs)

Legacy Program: Past residency one, Lifetime Achievement, writer’s return:

Edward Albee’s “The Lady from Dubuque” with Jane Alexander.

Residency Five: Five year residencies with full productions of writer’s new works:

Kenneth Lonergan (new play), Will Eno
(“Title and Deed”), Katori Hall (“Hurt Village”)

At the Signature Alumni,(actors in past plays, etc.) Café party, James Houghton greeted seasoned pros like Lois Smith, David Margulies, Rebecca Nelson, Craig Dudley (Artistic Director, forming The Ensemble Theatre Company) and all, with respect and thanks for being part of the journey. What producer does that???

(Remember David Merrick saying “Actors must be beaten…with Lettuce leaves." Lettuce leaves hurt.)

The party followed an invitation to Athol Fugard’s “Blood Knot,” directed by Fugard, himself. Rare it is to have an author really show us what his play means.  Performances with award winning Coleman Domingo and Scott Shepherd were stellar. Their creative choices urged the play’s lapsed-time-span, to be valid today.  I felt. I cared. It awakens what I see, still taking place, behind the masks of hand me down racism.

Athol Fugard, author, director, actor, teacher, recipient of the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Tony Award, was the Inaugural Humanitas Visiting Professor at Oxford University. He was called on stage at the curtain call. A candled cake celebrated the same day of the 50th Anniversary of the first production of “Blood Knot” in Cape Town. South Africa. A very long standing ovation followed. I remember NYC and London productions directed by the late, John Berry with standing ovations.

Fugard’s zeal and commitment through writing contributed to the ending of Apartheid in 1991. His was a major, holy yes to change. Athol Fugard spoke with an eloquent pen. This, on the wall outside the Griffin Theatre with his early photo:

You got to speak up

In this bloody world.

It’s the only way

to put an end

to all the nonsense

that is going on.”

I think of Henry Miller’s advice to me: “Do something! Then, relax and allow the miraculous to happen."       


P.S. On a wall:

The Signature theatre gratefully acknowledges the City of New York for its support, guidance and dedication in securing our new home.

Familiar names follow Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s: Scot M. Stringer, Patricia Harris, Kate D. Levi, Amanda M. Burden, Robert K. Steel, David J. Burney and

City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn who always supports artists in the Big Apple by forever putting a shine on their needs to survive in this rapidly changing world.


Joyce Brooks

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