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.
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.
2012 season of one writer’s selected plays:
“Blood Knot” (directed by Athol Fugard), “My
Children! My Africa!” and
“The Train Driver”( author directs)
Past residency one, Lifetime Achievement, writer’s return:
Albee’s “The Lady from Dubuque” with Jane Alexander.
Five year residencies with full productions of writer’s new
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.)
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.
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.
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:
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
Signature theatre gratefully acknowledges the City of New
York for its support, guidance and dedication in securing
our new home.
names follow Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s: Scot M. Stringer,
Patricia Harris, Kate D. Levi, Amanda M. Burden, Robert K.
Steel, David J. Burney and
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.