Originally Posted Thursday, June 14, 2007
The Peter Norton space pulled the attention of all yesterday, with the new and very edgy Signature Theatre Company logos adorning every wall, window, and doorway. The logo, a compilation of the signatures of all past and present playwrights in residence, with Signature Theatre Company splashed across the image, is a glimpse of the direction in which Signature is heading in future programming - a fresh and innovative approach to theatre.
Yesterday, just inside of the doors of the theatre, the throngs of subscribers, trustees, press, and artists galore, filled the air with a lively and anticipatory buzzing and humming. Old friends reminisced, while new acquaintances chatted and mingled.
After snacking on divine bagels, pastries, and plates of fruit (with a small Mimosa to wash it all down and soothe the morning palate), the attendees made their way into the theatre for the long-awaited announcement.
The first guest of honor, talented actor and friend of Signature, Edward Norton, graced the excited crowd with his presence yesterday morning, taking the stage and speaking words of reverence about Signature's mission and of his longtime friend and Founding Artistic Director of Signature, Jim Houghton.
Norton was followed by a line-up of notable artists, including the next Playwright in Residence, Chuck Mee, and another Signature favorite, Edward Albee, both of whom got many surprised and elated gasps from audience members. But it was not until the 2010-2011 season Playwright in Residence was announced that the crowd went wild. When Jim invited Pulitzer Prize winning, Academy Award nominated writer, Tony Kushner, onto the stage the crowd burst into very audible and excited whispers. Kushner grabbed the audience with his sharp wit as soon as he hit the podium, opening his speech by saying, "I'll make it quick, because I've got a shrink appointment in fifteen minutes." His clarity of thought, and praise of the work that Signature does, both in the quality of art presented and the affordability of tickets due to The Ticket Initiative, captivated the audience and made the wait for the announcement well worth the suspense.