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Signature Theatre company to open Frank Gehry-Designed Signature Center in February 2012
Model of Signature Center bookstore. Courtesy Gehry Partners, LLP.
NEW YORK, N.Y.- Signature Theatre will open Signature Center, its new, permanent home designed by Frank Gehry, in February 2012. Spanning an entire city block at 42nd Street between Dyer and 10th Avenue, Signature Center will feature three intimate theatres, a studio theatre, rehearsal studio, and a public café and bookstore. The Center will be both a theatre community hub and a neighborhood destination, and has been designed to foster interaction among playwrights, collaborators, and the public. The $66 million project is being funded through a public-private partnership and will be staffed by more than 400 people annually.

Signature Center will allow the 20-year-old theatre company, critically acclaimed for its programs that celebrate the playwright’s body of work, to expand and enhance its programming, introduce new initiatives, and build audiences. Signature Center will serve as the artistic home for as many as 11 playwrights at any one time, fostering a dynamic creative community where playwrights will engage directly with audiences and one another. Each season, the Company will present up to nine plays at Signature Center, encompassing both new work and new productions of existing work mounted in close collaboration with each playwright. Signature’s expanded programming includes:

*Residency One: The continuation of Signature’s core program, Residency One provides audiences with an immersive exploration of the work of a singular playwright—from re-examinations of early writings to world premieres, with the playwright involved in every step of the process.

*Residency Five: A new artistic initiative that provides five-year residencies for multiple playwrights to support the creation and staging of new work by providing three full-scale productions to each playwright.

*Legacy Program: Honors the lifetime achievement of artists who have previously been in residence at Signature with stagings of world premieres and signature works.

Recent Tony Award winner for Lifetime Achievement Athol Fugard has been named the Residency One playwright for the inaugural Signature Center season and will be in residence to collaborate with the actors, directors, and artistic staff in bringing his work to life. A native of South Africa, Fugard is best known for his highly political plays opposing racial apartheid. The playwrights for the Legacy Program and Residency Five will be announced at a later date.

“By expanding both our physical space and our audiences, the opening of Signature Center will allow Signature to complete the transformation from a theatre company to an institution dedicated to nurturing playwrights at every stage of their careers,” noted James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director of Signature. “Signature Center has been specifically conceived to foster orchestrated collisions between playwrights, artists and audiences, which will create a dynamic new culture for theater going that goes far beyond the work on stage.”

Designed by Frank Gehry, working hand-in-hand with Signature Theatre leadership, the 70,000-squarefoot Signature Center will feature three theatres of different character and configurations, providing playwrights a number of dynamic performance areas in which to set their work. The theatres include:
*a 199-seat proscenium theatre, modeled after a traditional opera house
*a 199-seat flexible courtyard theatre
*a 299-seat end stage theatre

These intimate, state-of-the-art stages, all located on one contiguous floor, are complemented by a studio theatre and dedicated rehearsal studio, extensive back-of-house facilities, and administrative offices. Signature Center also features an expansive main lobby with a café and bookstore that are open to the public.

“There is something magical that happens when one attends a live performance, an interaction between actors and audience that is palpable,” noted architect Frank Gehry. “I wanted to create a space that celebrates and enhances the intimacy between the performer and the audience, while encouraging the innovation that Signature is known for. We have worked very hard to foster this in the three theatres, while allowing each to have its own identity.”

Since its founding in 1991, Signature has presented entire seasons tracing the trajectories of Edward Albee, Horton Foote, Arthur Miller, Paula Vogel and August Wilson, to note only a few. Signature’s recently concluded 20th Anniversary season presented the work of Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner, including the first New York revival of Angels in America.

“I started with this company in 1994 when I was 24 and we were in a 99-seat black box theater down on Bond Street. To work with Jim Houghton, who I think is one of the authentic theater visionaries of my generation, to establish a new 'legacy institution' for New York is one of the most exciting experiences I've had in 20 years living in this city,” noted Signature board member and actor Edward Norton, who serves as the Theatre’s capital campaign chair. “I look at Signature's mission as part of a broader mission to institutionalize big parts of our cultural cannon. Playwriting needs that platform as much as classical music or jazz or fine arts and there needs to be a place where we can examine what's happened in the American theatre in big chunks.”

In pursuit of its goal to build new audiences and remove the price barrier to those interested in experiencing live theatre, Signature has provided $20 tickets to all of its productions since 2005 through its groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initative. This innovative program has served as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country.

Signature Center is housed within MiMA, Related Companies’ newest high-rise mixed use development. The 63-story glass tower is also home to rentals and condo units and YOTEL, the innovative European pod hotel.

Signature Theatre | Signature Center | Frank Gehry | Residency One | Residency Five | Legacy Program | Athol Fugard |  |




Last Week News

September 29, 2011

Invention of the Picture, early Italian masters through Botticelli at Bucerius Kunstforum

Final section, completing rare ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, on view at the Brooklyn Museum

Brazil: Exhibition of Brazilian art from the late modern period at Gagosian Gallery in Paris

Chrysler Museum of Art presents exhibition by Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko: Perceptions of Being

Le Printemps de Septembre: Set of exhibitions open around the city of Toulouse

Swann Galleries' announces stellar selection of fine photographs for October sale

Museum of Modern Art announces the acquisition of Christian Marclay's The Clock

Artist Oliviero Rainaldi, creator of the much criticized Pope sculpture, gets second chance

Lost part of Beethoven masterpiece lives again thanks to Professor Barry Cooper's reconstruction

Muntadas presents his take on the 1980s art system at Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona

For the first time on the German auction market: A rare painting by Willem I van de Velde

Grounds for Sculpture to open "The Meadow" and Steve Tobin's "Aerial Roots"

Thomas Paul Fine Art exhibition showcases the work of the multi-talented artist Patssi Valdez

Akron Art Museum announces major gift of Paul Stankard glass

Asian Art Museum launches new brand to engage broader audience

INSIGHT: How to borrow $10 million

Portland Art Museum unveils new brand, visual identity reflects the Museum's past and future

MoMA's annual photography series highlights six emerging contemporary artists in new photography 2011

Rescue men puts Whyte's at the helm in autumn sale of Irish & British masters

VIP Art Fair to return February2012

September 28, 2011

Mexican archaeologists find human footprints in Chihuahua that may be 25,000 years old

Sotheby's London presents its strongest ever sale of 20th century Italian art

Fra Angelico and the Masters of the Light at the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris

Odyssey Marine Exploration announces World War II-era shipwreck find

New Mexico's national monument reopens Native American archaeological sites

Museo de Arte de Ponce appoints Pablo Pérez d'Ors as Assistant Curator of European Art

Exhibition of painting and sculpture by Robert Rauschenberg at Gagosian Gallery in Paris

Doyle New York to auction the Arthur Rothstein photograph collection in October

Major exhibition that concentrates on early works by Barry Flanagan at Tate Britain

New paintings by Philadelphia-born artist Lisa Yuskavage on view at David Zwirner

United States Holocaust Museum receives $17 million gift from estate of refugee

Eight works by the world-famous artist Damien Hirst donated to ARKEN Museum of Modern Art

White Cube Bermondsey: Gallery to open new building in South London during Frieze Week

Works on paper from five decades by Maurice Cockrill at the Royal Academy of Arts

Lanskoy: A Russian painter in Paris exhibition at Lille Métropole Museum

Vancouver Art Gallery presents the work of three notable contemporary artists

Keno Auctions holds spirited sale with new younger bidders and long term buyers in attendance

Pipilotti Rist: "Eyeball Massage" exhibtion at Hayward Gallery

September 27, 2011

Israel's national museum and the web giant Google launch digital Dead Sea scrolls

Retrospective of photographer W. Eugene Smith's work on view at Martin-Gropius-Bau

Sotheby's New York to hold its first evening sale of Contemporary prints in October

High presents exhibition showcasing the distinguished Huber Family collection of American art

Exceptional British art selection highlights Sotheby's contemporary art evening auction

New York's revered Salmagundi Club announces details of October art auction fundraisers

New media and depictions of financial turmoil big focus at Moscow's Fourth Biennale

Pennsylvania's Brandywine Museum shows N.C. Wyeth's Treasure Island paintings

Property from the Estate of "The Music Man" Meredith Willson on the auction block

Metropolitan Museum launches expanded and redesigned website with more than 340,000 works of art

Indian Highway: A 360° portrait of the sub-continent and its "miracle" at Maxxi

"Ides of March" denarius sets record at Heritage Auctions Long Beach event       

New international centre for the visual arts designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects opens in Colchester

Art Miami Buys the LA Art Show

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Rimer Cardillo exhibition at Nassau County Museum of Art

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Thirteen paintings and works on paper by Emilio Sanchez at Frederico Sève Gallery

IDC commissions Tim Forbes to design Distinct Commemorative Sculptures for new Interior Design Awards

September 26, 2011

Andy Warhol's headline works presented by the National Gallery of Art, Washington

80 outstanding 19th century French drawings from the Louvre go on view at the Morgan Library

With over one hundred loans "Picasso 1905 in Paris" exhibition at Kunsthalle Bielefeld

American artist Dan Colen's first major exhibition in Rome opens at Gagosian Gallery

Dutch and Flemish paintings on view at the Museum of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg

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High presents major exhibition of wildlife sculptures by artist Grainger McKoy

FLAG Art Foundation presents two exhibitions: Art², a group exhibition and Jane Hammond: Fallen

September 25, 2011

Lehmbruck Museum's most extensive exhibition celebrates its 100th anniversary

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Houston's Menil Collection Announces Return of Byzantine Frescoes to Cyprus in 2012

MFA Houston announces major Frank Stella acquisition: "Palmito Ranch" (1961), a landmark in American painting

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Andrew Raftery: Open House on view at the Fleming Museum of Art

National Museum of American History receives Peace Corps objects

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September 24, 2011

Copyrights and images from Marilyn Monroe's first photo shoot to be auctioned

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Works by world's preeminent contemporary artists sold at Christie's New York to benefit Artists for Haiti

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10.- 'Degenerate art' should go back to museums: German advisor Jutta Limbach



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