NEW YORK, NY
Signature Theater opened their 1997 season in a new theater on 42nd Street and added a new marquee and street signs in 2000. The Signature Theater Company concentrates on the work of a single author during each season. The stage is large for a small theater, reflecting Signature’s mission to concentrate on the words, imagery and ideas of the author being presented. There are currently 176 seats, with planned expansion to 200 seats.
Signature’s theater is intended to be a public space of intimate proportions, a cozy forum, a place conducive to the exchange that occurs between audiences and performers. The trellis-like marquee sign, forms an open porch just outside and begins the transition to the intimate theater within. Tall doorways, emphatic color and other large-scale elements comport with smaller-scaled textures and patterns to create an inviting civic setting for a small crowd. The theater feels like a large reading room, focusing on the human figure and the spoken word.
In the front of house, the lobby features a sales area and bookcase for plays, biographies and merchandise related to Signature’s authors. Donor signatures are engraved in the armrests, screened onto elements of construction and the interior finish. In Peter Norton’s case, his signature is carved into the concrete structure itself. Rough textures of the building structure contrast with refined finish textures. The blend of buttery wood grain, vivid woven fabrics and poured concrete form a cohesive composition that lends warmth and intimacy to the theater and lobby.