Signature Theater unveils showcase

Tickets to events will only cost $20

Off Broadway’s Signature Theater will showcase the works of Charles Mee, the Negro Ensemble Company, Suzan-Lori Parks and Tony Kushner over the next four years — and every ticket to every perf will cost $20.

Signature, founded on the idea of devoting an entire season to plays by a single scribe, coupled the announcement of its next four seasons with news that the Signature Theater Initiative, the corporate-sponsored program that has allowed the org to price tickets at $15 over the past two seasons, will continue for the next four years with ducats (normally priced at $65) going for $20.

The Mee season, set for 2007-08, was already an open secret, since casting had already happened for the season’s initial offering, “Iphigenia 2.0.” That New York preem, directed by Tina Landau and running Aug. 7-Sept. 30, is a modern-day retelling of the Euripides play.

Season’s next two offerings are world preems from Mee, whose works (“Big Love,” “Wintertime,” “bobrauschenbergamerica”) have been seen Off Broadway, regionally and internationally. “Queen Boulevard (the musical)”, helmed by Davis McCallum and running Nov. 6-Dec. 30, follows a man searching for a gift for his bride on the streets of Queens, New York, while “Paradise Park,” directed by Daniel Fish and set for Feb. 12-April 6, centers on an eccentric amusement park.

Final entry of the season, part of the Signature’s Legacy series, is “Edward Albee’s Occupant.” Albee (“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”) was the 1993-94 Signature scribe, and his play “Occupant” was due to to be produced at Signature in 2002, but the engagement was cut short due to the illness of its star, Anne Bancroft.

The 2008-09 lineup focuses on plays produced by the Negro Ensemble Company, Inc., a troupe with credits including “The River Niger” by Joseph A. Walker and Charles Fuller’s “A Soldier’s Play.” Thesp-helmer Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who directed the Signature’s production of August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars” last fall, will serve as associate artist for the season.

The 2009-10 slate showcases the work of Suzan-Lori Parks (“Venus,” “365 Days/365 Plays”), who won a Pulitzer in 2002 for “Topdog/Underdog.” The theater’s 20th anni season in 2010-11 centers on Pulitzer and Tony winner Tony Kushner (“Angels in America,” “Homebody/Kabul,” “Caroline, or Change”).

For the latter three seasons, individual productions have not yet been nailed down.

Underwriting for the $20 ticket imitative comes in large part from Time Warner, also a major player in the $15 price tag for the prior two seasons, and donor Margot Adams.

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