Speaking of the Tony Awards: Off Broadway’s Signature Theater will receive the Tonys’ 2014 regional theater award, in the wake of a new rule initiated last year that made Gotham companies eligible for the trophy.
The annual kudo — which can be a boon for a theater’s marketing and fundraising efforts — was previously open only to troupes based outside of New York.
The Signature, founded in 1991 by current a.d. James Houghton, scores the award for ongoing programming that is organized around one writer’s body of work, with each season devoted to the plays of a single scribe. That programming mandate, now called Residency One, survives today, while the theater’s offerings have since expanded to include works spawned by another residency program for newer or midcareer playwrights, as well as titles from writers who have participated in either residency program in the past.
In 2005, the company turned heads with a subsidized ticket pricing initiative that sells every ticket of a show’s initial run for $25 a pop. More recently, the theater opened a new multistage midtown venue in early 2012.
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Signature’s current Residency One playwright is David Henry Hwang, whose Bruce Lee bio-play “Kung Fu” bowed at the theater earlier in the spring. Other resident writers have included Edward Albee, John Guare, Tony Kushner, Paula Vogel and Adrienne Kennedy.
Signature leadership will pick up the award during the 2014 Tony ceremony June 8. Tony nominations, for which only Broadway productions are eligible, will be announced April 29.