Monday, March 31, 2008

Manhattan Boulevard

Posted by Edward Freeman, Development Intern, 31 March 2008

The Island of Manhattan is so small, yet can seem so big. My journey through the streets of the City, in search of the perfect gifts for Charles Mee, proved long and arduous as I wove in and out of sleek Upper East Side pumps and cell phones, looking for an exceptional pair of red suspenders; zoomed by the strolling dog walkers and nannies of Gramercy Park, scouting out Chuck’s favorite teas; and pushed through the cascade of tired briefcases descending down the SoHo Subway steps at the end of their workdays, as I ran up them, in pursuit of Dean and Deluca, Jacques Torres and some chocolate covered cherries. All this in a torrential down-pour, mind you.

I came back to Signature’s office in Hell’s Kitchen, soaked, worried that the Thomas Pink suspenders had gotten wet, and ready to go home to Brooklyn Heights, yet completely satisfied and proud of my accomplishments. Mr. Mee may not have requested that we find these gifts for him, or that we hold a party in his honor, for that matter. But the look of sheer joy and appreciation on his face when we gave him a bagful of his favorite things; or when his favorite marching band paraded around the dining hall; or when his friends, colleagues and admirers read love letters to him; or when there was an explosion of confetti at the end of the festivities; was priceless and let me know that my journey and the effort was worth it.

Remember, it’s what you do for others and what you give of yourself that counts the most sometimes. Mr. Mee is an amazing playwright, role model and person, and the entire season of his art that he gave to Signature and its audience has been invaluable. He has left an indelible impression on us and so many others…it is only fitting that this year’s Gala was titled “A Love Letter to Charles Mee.”

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Posted by Mike Trerotola, Marketing Intern, 6 March 2008

Hey all you fine Signature fans reading this blog! Check out this cool NY Times photo slideshow, entitled "Moving a Carnival," which features Paradise Park! Our choreographer, Peter Pucci, who also choreographed Queen's Boulevard (the musical), is featured in the slideshow. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Paradise Park: Opening Night!

Posted by Sofiya Akilova, Executive Assistant, 5 March 2008

This past Sunday Paradise Park, the third show of Signature’s Charles Mee Series, enjoyed a brilliant and very special opening. The house was filled with the likes of Romulus Linney, Tina Landau, Dylan Baker and Peter Norton, to name a few. Jim Houghton kicked off the evening with a warm welcome to all our guests, and paid tribute to the courageous collagist we were all there to celebrate, Charles Mee!

This happens to be my favorite play of the Charles Mee Series, and it was my fifth time watching the show and I kind of expected to sit back and kick it rerun style, ya know? But to my glorious surprise, I never enjoyed the show more. Maybe it was the couple of glasses of champagne I had during the lobby reception before the show–I’m completely serious about that. When you watch a Charles Mee play I think your inhibition can really stand in the way of fully experiencing it. You kind of can’t come in expecting anything, even if you’ve seen other Charles Mee plays. The barrage of sensational distractions combined with sudden plunges into characters’ painfully personal journeys oscillates so feverishly in PARADISE PARK that I think the less inhibition the more you allow the beautiful chaos to just have its effect on you, without judgment. And then at the end you just sit back and feel the aftershock.

The beauty of the opening night show could’ve also been due to the theatre being filled with people who have worked on, admired, championed, understood, explored, and connected to Chuck’s work. There was just an amazing sense of communion in the audience – yes, we understand this depiction of reality and life, it makes sense to us! At the end there were two boisterous curtain calls. It was a wonderful moment of simple and genuine appreciation for Chuck and all who unfurled the wonders of Chuck’s mind on that stage.

The crowd then proceeded to the after-party over at 44 ½, replete with cosmos, bite-size spoonfuls of risotto and other delectable hour devours, servers in tight pink t-shirts labeled with things like “naughty,” “heaven,” “tasty;” in other words, Paradise.