From Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer
Welcome to Signature’s 2018/19 season! This year, we want to give you new opportunities to connect with our shows beyond what you see on the stage through a series of articles and pages on our website – think historical context, conversations with directors and designers, and other peeks behind the scenes. I hope you enjoy this new addition to our audience experience.
Almost every year since Signature’s founding, we’ve presented a Stephen Sondheim musical as part of our season. We’re nationally recognized as a leading producer of Sondheim’s work, and people often ask me if this was always part of Signature’s mission. Actually, it was a happy accident. Our first musical was Sondheim’s masterpiece Sweeney Todd back in 1991 (only our second season), and we followed it up with Assassins the next year. After these two smash hits, audiences wanted to know what our next Sondheim show would be! Well, each year I kept choosing another Sondheim, and the rest is history, as they say.
We are bringing Passion back to Signature for our 29th season, and it is one of my personal favorite Sondheim musicals. I’ve been lucky enough to direct the show twice in the past: first in 1996 in Signature’s old garage space, and then in 2002 as part of the Sondheim Celebration at the Kennedy Center.
This time, our Associate Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner will tackle the show. He did a terrific job with Sunday in the Park with George in 2014, and he’s a lifelong Sondheim fan as well. Matthew’s production will transform the MAX Theatre into a new configuration that our audiences have never seen before. We’re also featuring the original full orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick and an amazing cast, including Natascia Diaz as Fosca, Steffanie Leigh as Clara, and Claybourne Elder as Giorgio. It’s going to be an exciting kick-off to the season and we look forward to sharing it with you.