Signature Theatre’s free Open House celebrates the musical this Saturday

Arlington, VA’s Shirlington Village is the place to be this Saturday, August 2nd, for Signature Theatre’s Open House, an annual celebration of theater and music.

Crowds gather at the outdoor stage for Signature's Open House

Crowds gather at the outdoor stage for Signature’s Open House

From noon to 10 p.m., the Tony-Award winning theater company opens its doors and invites the public in for “an all-day extravaganza,” including concerts, performances, classes and previews of its upcoming season, according to Artistic Director Eric Shaeffer.

Begun in 2009, the free event has become an anticipated summer party, generating festive crowds made up of theater lovers, curious fun seekers and locals.

“Signature’s Open House is a great way to find out exactly what we have planned for our upcoming season,” said James Gardiner, Signature’s publicist and community relations manager.

“Most importantly, it’s a celebration of our community and highlights our growing commitment to creating high-quality work right here in Northern Virginia,” he said.

This year’s Open House features the popular Signature Season Highlights Concert, the Signature Idol competition, the Signature Divas and Signature Leading Men concerts featuring many of the Washington D.C. area’s favorite musical theater actresses and actors, a special Family Cabaret featuring Disney show tunes, and a huge finale concert to cap the evening in Broadway style.

“The Season Highlights Concert gives audiences a taste of every show in our upcoming 25th Anniversary Season,” said Gardiner. Highlights from the new season concert will feature “Wilkommen” from Cabaret, as well as songs from Elmer Gantry, Soon, Sunday in the Park with George, Diner, and Kid Victory.

Performers scheduled to sing include Susan Derry, Natascia Diaz, Erin Driscoll, Jamie Eacker, Angela Miller, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Donna Migliaccio, Maria Rizzo, Nova Y. Payton, Evan Casey, Austin Colby, Will Gartshore, Vincent Kempski, Christopher Mueller, Paul Scanlan, Thomas Adrian Simpson, Bobby Smith, Stephen Gregory Smith and John Leslie Wolfe.

At 3:45 p.m. four finalists get narrowed down to one winner in the Signature Idol competition. The panel of celebrity judges whittling down the competition includes Schaeffer, WETA’s Robert Aubry Davis and Broadway’s Wesley Taylor. The winner will perform in the Broadway on the Plaza Concert finale at 8.30 p.m.

You can also find master classes on acting a song and hitting the right notes in an audition; a sing-along celebration of musical theater featuring Stephen Gregory Smith and Maria Egler; and a season announcement and preview performance from No Rules Theatre Company’s sixth season.

“It’s a really fun day with tons of great performances and events for the entire family,” said Gardiner. “There’s free food, balloon animals, temporary tattoos, and a moon bounce. Who doesn’t like a moon bounce! The whole day just feels like a huge celebration.”

FREE tickets for Open House performances on the MAX and ARK stages will be distributed one hour prior to show times at ticket booths near Harris Teeter. Tickets are valid for admission until 10 minutes prior to each performance, after which empty seats will go to those with wait list tickets. Max four tickets per person, per event. These performances will sell out.

Even if you miss out on the ticketed performances, you’ll still have music all around you, as the Mead Lobby is turned into a cabaret and the downtown plaza hosts a concert stage promising a variety of genres, including The Bitter Dose Combo’s gypsy swing ensemble, the pop, rock and blues of Levi Stephens, and the Junkyard Saints, a local seven-piece band with full horn section performing its own brand of New Orleans-style party music.

All those attending the Open House will also be able to take advantage of a variety of ticket specials for Signature’s upcoming season.

A schedule of the day’s events can be found here.

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