New York Theater: SIGNATURE THEATRE’S 2021-2022 SEASON (Resident Playwrights’ Productions)

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by Gregory Bernard on December 17, 2020

in Theater-New York

Signature Theatre Announces Resident Playwrights’ Productions
for 2021–2022 Season

Signature Theatre’s 2021–22 Season looks amazing, and would water any theatregoer’s mouth, especially after the COVID drought we’ve been through. The five works are from playwrights who are at the top of their game.

First, Anna Deavere Smith revisits her landmark solo play, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992. Then there are this season’s four Resident Playwrights: the rescheduled New York premiere of Confederates by Dominique Morisseau, directed by Kamilah Forbes; the world premieres of On the Uses of Pain for Life written and directed by Annie Baker; A Case for the Existence of God by Samuel D. Hunter, directed by David Cromer, and Grass written and directed by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. In addition to this season’s four Resident Playwrights, the program’s other current Resident Playwrights are Martha ClarkeQuiara Alegría HudesThe Mad OnesDave Malloy and Lauren Yee.

Dates have not been posted yet, but all 2021–22 Season performances will take place at the company’s Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). For more info, visit Signature.


On the Uses of Pain for Life
World Premiere
Written and Directed by Annie Baker
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

A play about no end in sight. After the critically acclaimed premiere of John and sold-out run of The Antipodes, Pulitzer Prize-winner Annie Baker (Uncle Vanya, Circle Mirror Transformation, Body Awareness, The Aliens) returns with the final play of her Signature Residency, directing a new work that tackles the eros of illness.

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992
Conceived, Written and Originally Performed by Anna Deavere Smith
Directed by Taibi Magar
The Irene Diamond Stage

One verdict can change the course of history. The news of the police officers’ acquittal in Rodney King’s police brutality case reverberated throughout the streets of Los Angeles. Variously called a “riot, a revolution, or a social explosion,” the events that followed the verdict drew worldwide attention. Playwright, actor and scholar Anna Deavere Smith (Notes from the Field, Let Me Down Easy) responded artistically by dissecting the anatomy of the unrest. She interviewed over 350 Los Angelinos in preparation for the performance. Declared a “rich, panoramic canvas of a national trauma” by The New York Times, Smith’s transformative study of the 1992 L.A. riots reveals the fault lines that set the city ablaze. Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 is equal parts meticulously researched reportage and stirring cry for reform.

A Case for the Existence of God
World Premiere
Written by Samuel D. Hunter
Directed by David Cromer
The Irene Diamond Stage

Inside a cubicle in a small office in southern Idaho, two men struggle to balance the confounding terms on a loan. In a departure from his recent string of acclaimed epics, Samuel D. Hunter (A Bright New Boise, Rest) launches his residency with this thoughtful meditation on human resilience, directed by David Cromer (Tony winner, The Band’s Visit).

New York Premiere
Written by Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Kamilah Forbes
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

Sarah, a savvy slave turned Union spy, and Sandra, a brilliant professor in a modern-day private university, are facing similar struggles, even though they live over a century apart. This world premiere by Dominique Morisseau (Pipeline, Skeleton Crew), directed by Kamilah Forbes (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark), leaps through time in order to trace the identities of these two black American women and explore the reins their racial and gender bias still hold on American educational systems today.

World Premiere
Written and Directed by Branden Jacobs–Jenkins
The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

A nightmare eviction leaves an out-of-work actor with nowhere to go but his father’s house on an island in southeast Texas. But in order to get there—and not get shot—he’s going to have to let his mother drive. Hilarity ensues. Or doesn’t. In either case, History narrates. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Appropriate, Neighbors, Gloria, An Octoroon) culminates his Signature residency as playwright and director of this new play.

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