Of The Rest
Best Live Theater
Eric Schaeffer left a job in advertising and founded Signature Theatre in 1990. He was 27.
“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to do something that’s going to ruffle someone’s feathers?’ ” says the artistic director, whose early coups included one of the very first productions of Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins (Signature has since gone on to produce 22 Sondheim musicals).
Now, one Tony Award and 70 Helen Hayes Awards later, the once-fledgling operation that held rehearsals in a vacant auto garage continues to stage daring new works and reinterpretations of the classics (such as the 1927 musical Show Boat), albeit from prettier digs just up the street in Shirlington.
Though its productions are now reviewed in The New York Times, Signature is still a local theater at heart. “The audiences that we get here are fantastic,” Schaeffer says. “They’re really supportive and they love taking a risk with us.”
4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington, 703-820-9771, www.signature-theatre.org