- CHARITY BENEFIT
In an age where good theater, especially Broadway, has become an expensive night out and a treat instead of the natural place to commune with art, the new Pershing Square Signature Center has opened its new complex with perks to the community. The $66-million facility at 480 West 42nd Street takes its name from its benefactor, Pershing Square Capital Management, whose contribution will primarily subsidize low ticket prices to encourage attendance by new and diverse audiences. They are committed to making $25 tickets available for every seat at every performance. This extraordinary commitment makes affordable tickets available over the next twenty years to audiences of all ages, backgrounds and incomes. The Signature Ticket Initiative started in 2005 encouraging corporate, foundation, and individual supporters to underwrite every seat at Signature’s theatre. With the lead sponsorship of Time Warner, the Initiative over the past six seasons has increased new audiences by 37%.
The central lobby connects all three unique performance venues 199, 244 and 294, a café, bookstore and interactive digital displays (think I-phone.) The Center is also compromised of two studios, a spacious lobby, bathrooms that can accommodate the patronage, concierge desk to answer all your questions and administrative offices that span 70,000 contiguous square feet. It is very likely that you can meet the playwrights and artists when you come early and meet your friends for dinner or a drink at the café. I tried the Greek Salad $7, the Empanadas $9 and coffee $3. All were delicious and worth the price points. The café is opened Tuesday – Friday: 10AM – Midnight and Saturday, Sunday: Noon – Midnight with free Wi-Fi, electrical outlets and seating to unwind before settling in for a night of theatre or after for discussions over what you’ve just seen. The bookstore offers numerous titles by and related to past and present Playwrights-in-Residence, as well as the works that inspired them. Learn more about The Pershing Square Signature Center architect Frank Gehry, or attend a book club meeting or other event.
Creating a support system allows more playwrights than ever before to be heard, nurtured and seen. Blood Knot, Hurt Village, and The Lady from Dubuque are the first three shows by these voices. Blood Knot, written and directed by Athol Fugard, ends March 11th. It took on the theme of two bi-racial South African brother’s grappling with crippling poverty and lonely isolation. If you missed Blood Knot, May 1st is the Fugard revival of My Children! My Africa. From The Mountaintop to Hurt Village rising playwright Katori Hall’s newest venture plays until March 25th. Hurt Village, was a housing project in Memphis, Tennessee, and a government Hope Grant meant relocation and possibly a better life. Hurt Village earned Katori Hall the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and received a 2011 Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award from TCG. Edward Albee’s The Lady From Dubuque plays until April 1st (See Review below). Pulitzer Prize finalist and Horton Foote Prize winner Will Eno’s Title and Deed opens May 8th while Kenneth Lonergan’s Medieval Play opens on the 15th. 14th century ecclesiastical politics, friendship, love, noble feats of arms, indiscriminate brutality, the progressive refinement of medieval table manners and the general decline of the chivalric ideal at the onset of the Great Papal Schism of 1378, will be explored. Come late summer Fugard is back again with The Train Driver.