Signature pens lineup for new stages

Gifford tuner to preem

The Signature Theater’s debut season in its $12.5 million home will include the premiere of Kathie Lee Gifford’s latest musical, a new twist on “My Fair Lady” and a new work by young British playwright Bathsheba Doran.

The anticipated move from its humble black box space nicknamed “the garage” to a spacious two-theater complex heralds a new era for Signature. It will begin, as previously announced, with a production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” to be presented in September in its 299-seat main stage, which will be named the Max, in honor of wife-and-husband contributors Maxine Isaacs and James A. Johnson. Artistic director Eric Schaeffer will direct.

The second production, “My Fair Lady,” will be followed by “Saving Aimee,” Gifford’s musical about evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. Schaeffer has collaborated in the venture, which was workshopped last fall at the White Plains Performing Arts Center with Carolee Carmello in the lead.

The season also will include a new Signature-commissioned play by Doran, a writer-in-residence at Juilliard. Called “Susanna Cox,” it is a true story about a Mennonite woman accused of infanticide in 1809. Signature also will stage “Crave,” a 1998 play by the late British playwright Sarah Kane. It will be presented in the theater’s 99-seat black box stage, which has been named the Ark in honor of donors Arlene R. and Robert P. Kogod.

Signature’s season also will include two special events — Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv’s production of “Hamlet” performed in Hebrew, and Martin Moran’s biographical one-man show, “The Tricky Part.”

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